Freud's quest for fame
Duane P. Schultz (1990) begins his book about the relationship between Freud and Jung, Intimate Friends, Dangerous Rivals, by recounting an event in Freud's life which very well highlights his passionate quest for fame:
On Sunday evening, May 6, 1906, a strange and unsettling event occurred in the consultation room of Dr. Sigmund Freud of Vienna. A small band of loyal followers gathered to celebrate the momentous occasion of Freud's fiftieth birthday. Freud himself did not like ceremonies, but he indulged his adherents this once, letting them have their way.
Freud was dressed, as usual, in an unfashionable dark suit, dark tie, and stiff white collar. His beard and mustache were neatly trimmed, and his hair was combed back from his forehead.
The consultation room was not large. It connected the waiting room in the front of the house with Freud's office in the rear, which overlooked the garden in the courtyard of the apartment building. An Oriental rug covered most of the floor, and reproductions of Italian paintings and portraits of ancient pharaohs lined the walls. The guests were seated around an oval table. One of them made a short speech, offering congratulations and best wishes, and presented Freud with a gift from the group.
Freud was stunned. His face drained of color. He tried to speak but his voice choked.
The gift was a medallion. Freud picked it up and held it lightly in his fingers, turning it over and over. One side bore a profile of Freud, and the other showed a carving of Oedipus, King of Thebes, whose name had come to denote one of Freud's great discoveries. Around the face was an inscription from Sophocles' play Oedipus Tyrannus: "Who divined the famed riddle and was a man most mighty."
Freud glanced around the table and asked who had thought of the inscription. Paul Federn, who had joined Freud's circle three years before, said that it was his idea. Quietly, Freud explained why the words so unnerved him, why the choice of this quotation was uncanny. Thirty years before, when Freud was a student at the University of Vienna, dreaming of recognition and fame, he liked to stroll around the university courtyard and contemplate the busts and statues erected to honor famous professors. He imagined that one day he would see his own likeness among them. It would bear a line from Sophocles, the same words Federn had inscribed on the birthday medallion (1-2).
Amazon.com: buying info: Freud: Darkness in the Midst of Vision--An Analytical Biography
Booklist: Few figures of the past century are more intriguing than Sigmund Freud. His theories have been both proven and disproven, been considered both fashionable and out of favor, and been used in everything from psychoanalysis to literary theory to architectural philosophy. Breger, founder of the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, presents a well-researched, new biography of Freud. In it, he deconstructs the myth Freud fabricated of himself, comparing Freud's self-analysis with the actual events of his life. His famous theories, his pioneering role in the field of psychoanalysis, and the obscurity of his childhood are all results of Freud's quest for fame. His greatest work was often revealed through self-analysis: if it was true of Freud, it must be true of everyone. Thus, the universal theories set forth by Freud were "created to explain his own childhood" and became the "prototype for his understanding everyone, a foundation that he relied on throughout his life." This groundbreaking work is more than just plain biography; it is Freudian analysis (literally) at its best. Michael Spinella
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Amazon.com: buying info: Why Freud Was Wrong: Sin, Science, and Psychoanalysis
Booklist: This powerful, incisive rendering of Freud as a pseudo-scientist with a compulsive need for fame is supported by extensive research. Evidence indicates that Freud began his career by publishing a paper on cocaine therapy that presented conclusions he knew to be false and dangerously misleading; that his almost invariable diagnoses of hysteria for an endless assortment of complaints, readily diagnosed today as symptoms of organic disease or trauma, had no scientific validity; and that he could concoct sexual signification, no matter how whimsical, for any symptom or dream. Patients who rejected such sexual fabrications were "in denial," thus anticipating contemporary allegations. Webster notes the resemblances of psychoanalytic doctrine to religious beliefs in original sin and confession, and he likens Freud and his disciples to a messianic cult wherein heterodoxy was not tolerated; heretics, such as Adler and Jung, were expelled and ruthlessly attacked. Absorbing, readable, and highly recommended. Brenda Grazis
Schultz, Duane P. (1990). Intimate friends, dangerous rivals : the turbulent relationship between Freud and Jung. Los Angeles : J.P. Tarcher.
Copyright © 1998-2003 Dave Kelly