Freud: Darkness in the Midst of Vision

Freud: Darkness in the Midst of Vision

Freud: Darkness in the Midst of Vision

Freud: Darkness in the Midst of Vision


Advance Praise for Louis Breger's FREUD
"Louis Breger's rich and readable study of Freud offers a thoughtfully complex account of a great but flawed man. Everyone with an interest in psychoanalysis and the psychoanalytic movement will enjoy exploring, grappling with, arguing about, and learning from this absolutely fascinating book."-JUDITH VIORST, AUTHOR,
Necessary Losses and Imperfect Control "Written with brilliance and insight, Freud: Darkness in the Midst of Vision takes us on a daring, at times chilling, journey to the early years of psychoanalysis, revealing both the human weaknesses and the professional triumphs of its founder.... Cutting away the accretions of fabrication and romance cloaking Sigmund Freud, Breger has reinstated historical honesty to its rightful, high place, but the figure who emerges at the end of this breathlessly honest biography is quite as extraordinary as the legend concocted by Freud and perpetuated by his followers. Fresh, vigorous, and lucid."-PHILIP M. BROMBERG, Ph. D., CLINICAL PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
"Louis Breger's fine new biography of Freud is a welcome contribution to the existing literature and a corrective to much of it. It is also one of the best intellectual histories of the origin and development of psychoanalysis I have read in recent years. Breger is to be commended for his original research, the objectivity of his views, and the elegance and grace of his writing."-DEIRDRE BAIR, NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER FOR Samuel Beckett AND AUTHOR OF A FORTHCOMING BIOGRAPHY OF CARL JUNG
"Finally, the Freud biography we have long been waiting for. With the history of Europe in the background, we follow with fascination Freud's journey from an impoverished childhood filled with losses to worldly fame, ending in exile in England. We come to understand the impact of Freud's difficult personality on the development of his brilliant as well as questionable theoretical ideas. Breger writes with compassion and fairness toward Freud as well as toward the many interesting personalities who cross his life, with their complicated relationships to the great man."-SOPHIE FREUD, FREUD'S GRANDDAUGHTER AND PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF SOCIAL WORK, SIMMONS COLLEGE
"Louis Breger's magnificent book is the definitive work on the personal psychology of Sigmund Freud. it brilliantly illuminates how the darkness in Freud's vision has affected psychoanalytic history. This book will be central for psychoanalytic scholarship for decades to come."-GEORGE E. ATWOOD, Ph. D., PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY


The General always insisted that, if you bring off adequate preservation of
your personal myth, nothing much else in life matters. It is not what happens
to people that is significant, but what they think happens to them.

—Anthony Powell, A Dance to the Music of Time

FREUD'S FACE is instantly recognizable: the wise, gray-haired genius with his cigar, neatly trimmed beard, and finely tailored suit; the psychoanalyst whose gaze seems to penetrate the depths of the human soul. The picture on the next page shows Freud in his sixties, the icon the world has come to know. What the world does not know is that Freud worked hard to create this image; it is an integral part of a personal myth that he embellished over the years, a vision of his life that is part truth and part pseudohistory, a mix of fact and fantasy. Even the penetrating gaze is something he appropriated from two of the heroes of his university days: his mentors Ernst Brücke and Jean-Martin Charcot.

As early as 1885, when Freud was twenty-eight years old, just completing his medical training, and before he had done any work of real significance, he was already concerned with obscuring the details of his life. He wrote to his fiancée, Martha Bernays: “I have destroyed all my notes of the past fourteen years, as well as letters, scientific excerpts, and the manuscripts of my papers. …; As for the biographers, let them worry, we have no desire to make it too easy for them. Each one of them will be right in his opinion of 'The Development of the Hero,' and I am already looking forward to seeing them go astray.” He conducted several later purges of his papers—one in 1907—and, toward the end of his life, attempted to destroy important letters written in the years of his self-analysis.

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