Obituary: PROFESSOR PAUL ROAZEN ; Historian of Psychoanalysis Whose 'Subversive' Research Upset Freud's Family and Followers
Schatzman, Morton, The Independent (London, England)
Paul Roazen is a significant figure as a historian of psychoanalysis " a prolific and sometimes controversial author. A key to his career was information he got from interviewing between 1964 and 1967 more than 70 people who had known Sigmund Freud personally. He also interviewed some 40 more who were professionally interested in the history of psychoanalysis or had been part of the early psychoanalytic movement. Among his interviewees were 25 former patients of Freud.
At the time Roazen was doing his political science PhD dissertation on the political thought of Freud. He was the first non- psychoanalyst ever granted access to the library at the British Psychoanalytical Institute. There, in a large cabinet in the basement, he came upon the papers of Ernest Jones, author of the three-volume, 1953-57 official biography of Freud. Roazen went through the papers, which had all the information that Jones had used to write the biography.
Anna, Freud's daughter, came to regret bitterly having granted Roazen access to the library. That was because he met psychoanalysts there, many of whom he went on to interview, and those interviews led to revelations that she disliked. Gossip is the first draft of history: the 'gossip' that Roazen elicited became crucial for understanding Freud and his followers. Roazen was a diligent interviewer and Jones, the authorised historian of psychoanalysis, Jones, had left a lot out.
Roazen came to learn about something remarkable and well known to psychoanalytic insiders, but not to the public: Freud's psychoanalysis of Anna. Roazen reported its occurrence, and commented tartly:
In the light of Freud's taking his own daughter into analysis, all the squabbles about what con-
stitutes proper psychoanalytic technique " whether the patient should be seen three or four or five days a week, whether patients are permitted to read analytic literature or not, whether analysis requires the use of a couch, how much activity on the part of the analyst is proper " are reduced to trivia . . .
In view of the elaborate and esoteric rules of proper technique that have been developed by Freud's followers, the disclosure of Freud's analysis of his daughter renders their position rather difficult.
Paul Roazen's first book, Freud: political and social thought (1968) was an adaptation of his PhD thesis, but his second book, Brother Animal: the story of Freud and Tausk (1969), told a tale, elicited from his interviewees, that had not previously been published. Victor Tausk was a talented early supporter of Freud. In an official obituary of Tausk, Freud wrote, 'No one could escape the impression that here was a man of importance', and, 'Tausk was sure of an honourable memory in the history of psychoanalysis and its earliest struggles.'
Tausk, first a lawyer, then a medical doctor and psychiatrist, was one of the first members of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society to study psychoses. He asked to undergo psychoanalysis with Freud, but Freud refused. Instead Freud recommended that Tausk have an analysis with a psychiatrist more than five years his junior, Helene Deutsch, whom Freud had recently taken into analysis. The referral was 'flattering to Helene Deutsch but a terrible insult to Tausk', Roazen commented. 'As an analyst she was a nobody.' Tausk swallowed his pride and entered analysis with Deutsch six days a week.
In his sessions, Tausk talked almost entirely about Freud, and Deutsch's sessions with Freud became filled with talk of Tausk. Roazen reported:
Freud explained to Deutsch that Tausk had become an interference in her own analysis and that Tausk must have accepted her as his analyst with the intention of communicating with Freud through her. Freud forced her to choose between terminating Tausk's analysis with her and dis-
continuing her own analysis with Freud. To Deutsch it did not constititute a realistic choice, but an order. …