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Brunswick, R.M. (1928). A Supplement to Freud's 'History of an Infantile Neurosis'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 9:439-476.

(1928). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 9:439-476

A Supplement to Freud's 'History of an Infantile Neurosis'

Ruth Mack Brunswick, M.D.


In October, 1926, the patient whom we have learnt to know as the Wolf-Man of Freud's 'History of an Infantile Neurosis' consulted Professor Freud, whom he had seen from time to time since the completion of his analysis in 1920. Circumstances which I shall relate shortly had wrought great changes in the Wolf-Man's way of living. The former millionaire was now earning barely enough to feed his ailing wife and himself. Nevertheless, things went smoothly with him until the summer of 1926, when certain symptoms appeared which caused him to consult Freud. At this time it was suggested that if he felt in need of analysis he should come to me. He presented himself in my office at the beginning of October, 1926.

He was suffering from a hypochondriacal idée fixe. He complained that he was the victim of a nasal injury caused by electrolysis, which had been used in the treatment of obstructed sebaceous glands of the nose. According to him, the injury consisted varyingly of a scar, a hole, or a groove in the scar tissue. The contour of the nose was ruined. Let me state at once that nothing whatsoever was visible on the small, snub, typically Russian nose of the patient. And the patient himself, while insisting that the injury was all too noticeable, nevertheless realized that his reaction to it was abnormal. For this reason, having exhausted all dermatological resources, he consulted Freud. If nothing could be done for his nose, then something must be done for his state of mind, whether the cause was real or imagined. At first sight, this sensible and logical point of view seemed due to the insight won from the earlier analysis. But only in part did this prove to be the motive for the present analysis. On the other hand, the insight was undoubtedly responsible for the one atypical characteristic of the case: its ultimate accessibility to analysis, which otherwise would certainly not have been present.

He was in a state of despair.

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