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Lehmann, H. (1983). Reflections on Freud's Reaction to the Death of his Mother. Psychoanal Q., 52:237-249.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 52:237-249

Reflections on Freud's Reaction to the Death of his Mother

Herbert Lehmann, M.D.


Freud's reaction to the death of his mother as he reported it in letters to Ernest Jones and Sandor Ferenczi is discussed. The sense of liberation and the absence of grief which he emphasized is given some analytic consideration. An attempt is then made to gain an understanding of Freud's somewhat cryptic remark that a change in the "values of life" in the "deeper layers" will have occurred following his mother's death. His discussion of these concepts in Civilization and Its Discontents, which was published just before her death, is utilized. The question is raised of whether the death of his mother may have been related to the change in Freud's view of the significance of the preoedipal mother which he presented in "Female Sexuality," the first paper he wrote after her death.

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