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Fountain, G. (1992). The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XLIV, 1989: Looking for Anna Freud's Mother. Elisabeth Young-Bruehl. Pp. 391-407.. Psychoanal Q., 61:316.

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Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XLIV, 1989: Looking for Anna Freud's Mother. Elisabeth Young-Bruehl. Pp. 391-407.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:316

The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XLIV, 1989: Looking for Anna Freud's Mother. Elisabeth Young-Bruehl. Pp. 391-407.

Gerard Fountain

This paper has an importance far beyond a merely biographical interest concerning the Freud family. Young-Bruehl hoped to supplement her biography of Anna Freud by seeing more clearly Martha Bernays, "who," she writes, "remained a shadowy figure in my family album." Lacking accounts of Martha, having little data to employ, she searched for clues in some of Sigmund Freud's writings on female sexuality and other subjects. What evidence would these offer about Anna and her relation with her mother? We can be sure Freud's works made use of data from his analysis of Anna and other observations of his daughter. Not much emerged clearly. Anna had in effect three mothers: Martha; Minna Bernays, her aunt who lived in the household; and as an infant, her nurse Josefine. Young-Bruehl conjectures that this multiple mothering is one of the reasons why Anna's relation with her mother is so unclear. It does seem that the nurse became Anna's "good mother" and Martha her "bad mother," though the situation was far more complex and inscrutable than that simplification suggests. Another difficulty facing Young-Bruehl in her task is the strength of Anna's attachment to her father and the special qualities implied by—among other things—his having been twice her analyst. Although Young-Bruehl never did "find" Martha Freud, her quest has produced an important and interesting paper that tells us a good deal both about Anna and about some aspects of female development.


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Article Citation

Fountain, G. (1992). The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XLIV, 1989. Psychoanal. Q., 61:316

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WARNING! This text is printed for the personal use of the subscriber to PEP Web and is copyright to the Journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to copy, distribute or circulate it in any form whatsoever.