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Jucovy, M.E. (1965). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 34:144-147.

(1965). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 34:144-147

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

Milton E. Jucovy

May 19, 1964. THE PROBLEM OF DEATH IN FREUD'S WRITINGS AND LIFE (Fourteenth Freud Anniversary Lecture). Max Schur, M.D.

The author, who was Freud's personal physician during the last ten and a half years of his life, uses Freud's writings, some unpublished correspondence, and personal observations to develop his thoughts about Freud's attitude toward death, including his own, as a biological, psychological, and clinical problem.

In The Interpretation of Dreams and the Fliess letters, Freud reveals his early encounters with death and the reconstruction in his self-analysis of the death of his younger brother, so crucially important for his later relationships. During this period he suffered from neurotic fears of dying, travel phobias, and cardiac symptoms accompanied by dread of death. He was obsessively preoccupied with the superstition that he might die at certain ages: forty-two, sixty-two, and in his eighty-second year. Self-analysis enabled him to subject the problems of death to psychoanalytic inquiry and many of his neurotic symptoms yielded to this supreme feat. In later years his correspondence reveals a dislike of aging rather than fear of dying, especially a repugnance for decline of creative activity.

Freud first discusses death as an analytic problem in The Interpretation of Dreams, and later as a theme dealt with by writers and poets. In the Gradiva paper he expressed his fascination with the artist's ability to fathom the working and language of the unconscious and to deal with death and immortality.

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