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Hoffer, A. (2004). The Complete Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Karl Abraham 1907-1925. Transcribed and edited by Ernst Falzeder. Trans. Caroline Schwarzacher with the collaboration of Christine Trollope and Klara Majthenyi King. Introduction by André Haynal and Ernst Falzeder London. Karnac, 2002. xxxv + 626 pp. $66.00.. Am. Imago, 61(1):108-119.
(2004). American Imago, 61(1):108-119
The Complete Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Karl Abraham 1907-1925. Transcribed and edited by Ernst Falzeder. Trans. Caroline Schwarzacher with the collaboration of Christine Trollope and Klara Majthenyi King. Introduction by André Haynal and Ernst Falzeder London. Karnac, 2002. xxxv + 626 pp. $66.00.
Review by: Axel Hoffer
Karl Abraham was born in Bremen, Germany, on May 3, 1877, and died on Christmas Day, 1925, at the age of forty-eight of a lung infection and possibly lung cancer. He was twenty-one years younger than Freud, while Sàndor Ferenczi, Carl Gustav Jung, and Ernest Jones were seventeen, nineteen, and twenty-three years younger respectively. I mention these men and their ages because Freud's extensive contemporaneous correspondence with all four invites interesting comparisons.
In their excellent introduction to this complete edition of the Freud-Abraham correspondence, André Haynal and Ernst Falzeder wonder, in the light of Abraham's central role in the development of psychoanalysis, why his life has aroused so little interest (xix). There is no full-scale account of his life, though an “unfinished biography” by his widow Hilda appeared in 1974, and an expanded German translation followed two years later. They continue:
Abraham may not have the appeal of the enigmatic Max Eitingon, the charming, original, generous character of Sàndor Ferenczi, Otto Rank's deep humanistic culture and immense dedication to the chores of “the Cause” [die Sache], or the masterful proficiency in institutional matters of Ernest Jones. But he impressed his colleagues with his rigor, his earnestness, his precision in scientific matters, his unrelenting work, and his deep conviction of the truth and the importance of the Freudian theory and Cause.
The further note that the correspondence shows him to be “a precise and rather dry writer … striving for exactitude and precision” (xxviii).
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