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Silverstein, B. (1990). My Three Mothers and other Passions by Sophie Freud New York: New York University Press, 1988, xix + 351 pp., $27.95. Psa. Books, 1(1):18-23.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Books, 1(1):18-23

My Three Mothers and other Passions by Sophie Freud New York: New York University Press, 1988, xix + 351 pp., $27.95

Review by:
Barry Silverstein

In 1977 I read a thoughtful paper on the concept of narcissism by Sophie Loewenstein (1977). Over the next few years I read book reviews and articles written by a Sophie Freud Loewenstein (e.g. 1980). I soon realized that Sophie Loewenstein and Sophie Freud Loewenstein were the same person. I also learned that she was a Professor of Social Work in Boston and that she was a granddaughter of Sigmund Freud. In 1988, after ending a 40-year marriage, Sophie dropped her married name and blossomed forth as Sophie Freud, the author of My Three Mothers and Other Passions. Because I found her writing interesting, and because she was related to Freud, I wanted to know more about her and her life: after reading her book, I do know more.

During her metamorphosis of the last decade, Sophie Freud has achieved renown as a writer and lecturer in the area of clinical social work, and as a critic of Freudian theory. This academic and professional recognition did not come to her until she was past age 50. She was born in Vienna in 1924, the second child of Freud's oldest son, Jean Martin, and his wife, Esti. Her mother recalled that as a little girl Sophie had looked like a Chinese doll, and Freud wrote in her scrapbook, “To the youngest but most precious piece of my Chinese collection” (Freud, 1981, p. 14). When Freud was first introduced to Sophie's mother, she recalled that he turned to his son and whispered between his teeth, but loud enough that she could hear it, “Much too pretty for our family” (p. 13). Sophie's mother's recollections foreshadowed her daughter's autobiographical account of her own major life conflicts and resolutions, issues that are laid bare in the pages of My Three Mothers and Other Passions.

If her collector grandfather was a fantasy “collector” of women, a Don Juan of the imagination (Freud, 1895, in Masson, 1985, p.

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