Jed Rubenfeld

Satisfying a savage instinct is incomparably more more pleasurable than satisfying a civilized one. -- Sigmund Freud

Novelist and Professor of Law at Yale Law School, Jed Rubenfeld is best known for his debut novel The Interpretation of Murder, a fictional account of a visit Sigmund Freud made to New York in 1909.

Jed Rubenfeld is the Robert R Slaughter Professor of Law at Yale Law School. His subjects are constitutional law, privacy, First Amendment, and criminal law. His recent law books include Freedom and Time: A Theory of Constitutional Self-Government (2001) and Revolution by Judiciary: The Structure of American Constitutional Law (2005). Professor Rubenfeld received his AB from Princeton and his JD from Harvard. He joined the Yale Law School faculty in 1990 and was appointed to a full professorship in 1994. Jed Rubenfeld has also taught as a visiting professor at both the Stanford University Law School and the Duke University School of Law.

In 1909, accompanied by Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud visited New York. This was to be his one and only visit to the US. He was there to deliver a series of lectures on psychoanalysis at Clark University. The honoury degree awarded by Clark University was the first public recognition of Freud and his work. Despite its apparent success, Sigmund Freud always referred to his New York trip as a traumatic period in his life.

Weaving fact and fiction, Jed Rubenfeld in The Interpretation of Murder, gives a fictional account of the time Freud spent in New York.

On the morning Freud arrives in New New York, a stunning debutante is found bound and strangled in her penthouse apartment. The following night, heiress Nora Acton is found tied to a chandelier in her parents' home. She has been wounded and appears to have lost the power of speech and is unable to recall what happened.

Freud is called in to probe her mind to see if he can uncover what has happened and at the same time, solve the previous murder.

The fictional Nora Acton is based on Freud's case study of "Dora" (Ida Bauer).

New York of 1909, is covered in meticulous detail. There are shades of Jane Austen in the descriptions of the social setting, and shades of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson in the investigation.

The Interpretation of Murder is a work of fiction from beginning to end, but much is based on actual fact. Sigmund Freud did of course visit in 1909 ... The Manhattan of 1909 described in this book was painstakingly researched. The architecture, the city streets, high society almost every detail, down to the color of the paneling on taxis, is based on fact.

The Interpretation of Murder gives an insight into the work of Sigmund Freud, and the relationship with Carl Jung which eventually led to an acrimonious split.

Comparisons with The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón are inevitable. Both are set in the not too distance past, in a great city. Even the book covers are of similar design.

Sigmund Freud was the subject Jed Rubenfeld chose for his undergraduate thesis at Princeton.

Jed Rubenfeld is married to Yale Law School professor Amy Chua, author of World on Fire. It was his wife Amy Chua who encouraged Rubenfeld to write The Interpretation of Murder and whose idea it was.

The Interpretation of Murder was one of the late night book readings on BBC Radio 4, summer 2007. It was the winner of the British Book Awards for Best Read 2007.

Three copies of The Interpretation of Murder have been registered as BookCrossing books. [see BCID 5507388, BCID 5562961 and BCID 5571526]

BookCrossing books are released into the wild their progress checked through the Internet via a unique BookCrossing ID (BCID).

(c) Keith Parkins 2007 -- October 2007 rev 0