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Bernfeld, S.C. (1955). The Origins of Psychoanalysis. Letters to Wilhelm Fliess, Drafts and Notes: 1887-1902: By Sigmund Freud. Edited by Marie Bonaparte, Anna Freud, and Ernst Kris. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1954. 486 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 24:284-291.

(1955). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 24:284-291

The Origins of Psychoanalysis. Letters to Wilhelm Fliess, Drafts and Notes: 1887-1902: By Sigmund Freud. Edited by Marie Bonaparte, Anna Freud, and Ernst Kris. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1954. 486 pp.

Review by:
Suzanne Cassirer Bernfeld

The English translation of Freud's letters to Wilhelm Fliess is an important document that supplements the biography of Freud by Ernest Jones. It is a document for scientists and not a roman à clef. The instructive introduction by Ernst Kris orients the reader to the historic context in which the correspondence evolved and integrates the material with the subsequent work of Freud. The correspondence reports the beginning and development of Freud's self-analysis and contains important material for the development of psychoanalytic psychology.

To a generation that knew Freud only as a scientist and teacher, calm, judicious, Olympian, this volume shows the hard work and the obstinate, stubborn struggle with which he mastered his personality and created the foundation on which psychoanalytic theory rests. Here is revealed the violent current that cut the deep, calm stream of the Freud we knew.

If one tries to reconstruct these letters as a case history, one fails to glean sufficient valid information. Even if one may have isolated pertinent ideas and surmises, a comprehensive view cannot be gained. This highly selected material has not been derived according to the basic rule of psychoanalytic therapy and inferences based upon it are therefore of questionable validity. For example, as Dr. Bernfeld demonstrated, the screen memories which Freud sent to Fliess were never mentioned as being his own. He was willing to discuss his death anxiety, his hope to outlive Fliess, but even in this intimate correspondence he did not discuss erotic material that he was working through at the time.

The

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