The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud: The Formative Years and the Great Discoveries, 1856-1900 - Vol. 1

The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud: The Formative Years and the Great Discoveries, 1856-1900 - Vol. 1

The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud: The Formative Years and the Great Discoveries, 1856-1900 - Vol. 1

The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud: The Formative Years and the Great Discoveries, 1856-1900 - Vol. 1

Excerpt

This is not intended to be a popular biography of Freud: Several have been written already, containing serious distortions and untruths. Its aims are simply to record the main facts of Freud's life while they are still accessible, and--a more ambitious one--to try to relate his personality and the experiences of his life to the development of his ideas.

It is not a book that would have met with Freud's own approval. He felt he had already in many passages of his writings divulged enough of his personal life--which, indeed, he later regretted having done--and that he had a right to keep private what remained; the world should get on with making use of his contributions to knowledge and forget about his personality. But his repentance of the self-revelations came too late. Ill-natured people were already at work distorting isolated passages with the object of disparaging his character, and this could be rectified only by a still fuller exposition of his inner and outer life. Freud's family understandingly respected his wish for privacy, and indeed shared it. They often sheltered him from a merely inquisitive public. What changed their attitude later was the news of the many false stories invented by people who had never known him, stories which were gradually accumulating into a mendacious legend. They then decided to give me their wholehearted support in my endeavor to present as truthful an account of his life as is in my power.

It is generally agreed that great men by their very eminence forfeit the privilege granted to lesser mortals of having two lives, a public and a private one; often what they have withheld from the world proves to be of equal value to what they have proffered. Freud him-

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