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Freud, Sigmund (1856–1939)

DAVID MACEY


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


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The founder of psychoanalysis was born in Freiberg (Moravia) into a rather poor Jewish family. In 1860 the family moved to Vienna, which was to be Freud's home until 1938, when the Nazi invasion of Austria forced him into exile in London. Ambitious and successful at school, Freud entered medical school in 1873 but did not graduate as a doctor of medicine until 1881. Freud's initial research and publications were on anatomy and physiology, and the significant turning point came in 1885–6 when a travel bursary allowed him to study under Charcot at the Salpêtrière in Paris. He was particularly struck by the evidence for the existence of hysteria in men as well as in women, and by the manner in which Charcot could reproduce his patients’ hysterical symptoms by posthypnotic suggestion. On his return to Vienna, Freud set up in private practice as a specialist in nervous diseases. From this point onwards, his biography is synomy-mous with the history of P sychoanalysis . Between 1887 and 1904 Freud corresponded at length with Wilhelm Fliess, a German ear, nose, and throat specialist who was preoccupied with establishing the existence of a male sexual periodicity analogous to the menstrual cycle and with a hypothetical nasal reflex neurosis predicated upon a link between the nose and the genitals. Despite the bizarre nature of his theories, Fliess served as a sounding board for Freud, who ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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