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Deutsch, F. (1957). A Footnote to Freud's 'Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria'. Psychoanal Q., 26:159-167.

(1957). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 26:159-167

A Footnote to Freud's 'Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria'

Felix Deutsch, M.D.

In his biography of Freud, Ernest Jones refers to the well-known case of Dora and to her various hysterical somatic and mental symptoms. After stating that she never resumed her analysis of only eleven weeks' duration, he mentions that she 'died a few years ago in New York'.

For several reasons this fact aroused my interest. What did she die from? Could Freud's intuition and penetrating interpretation of only two dreams really bring to light the personality structure of this unfortunate girl? If he was right, should not the course of her later life bear out Freud's views of the various motives for retaining her conversion symptoms? And last but not least, how much further advanced are we today in understanding the 'leap from the mental into the physiological'?

My particular curiosity about Dora's later life would have met an insurmountable obstacle from the beginning during Freud's life because of his discretion. He wrote: 'I have waited for four whole years since the end of the treatment, and have postponed publication till hearing that a change has taken place in the patient's life and of such a character as allows me to suppose that her own interest in the occurrences and psychological events which are to be related here may now have grown faint. Needless to say, I have allowed no name to stand which could put a nonmedical reader upon the scent; and the publication of the case in a purely scientific and technical periodical should, further, afford a guarantee against unauthorized readers of this sort. Naturally I cannot prevent the patient herself from being pained if her own case history should accidentally fall into her hands.

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