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Freud, S. (1928). Letter from Sigmund Freud to Sándor Ferenczi, August 17, 1928. The Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Sándor Ferenczi Volume 3, 1920-1933, 346-348.

Freud, S. (1928). Letter from Sigmund Freud to Sándor Ferenczi, August 17, 1928. The Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Sándor Ferenczi Volume 3, 1920-1933, 346-348

Letter from Sigmund Freud to Sándor Ferenczi, August 17, 1928 Book Information Previous Up Next

Sigmund Freud

Semmering, August 17, 1928

Dear friend,

I will entertain you anew about the Burlingham affair. It is not easy to say how you come into this. In addition, it means a disturbance in your analysis with Amsden. But I can't do otherwise, in all sympathy with the damage for which you are blameless. I have no direct access to Dr. Amsden. Amsden is certainly a nice man, and the fact that he is acceptable for analysis at such an advanced age says a great deal in his favor. But he is an American, i.e., somewhere very simplistically constructed in areas where we expect complications, and for that reason incomprehensible to us.

Last week Amsden had the intention, in a conversation in Vienna, to operate on Dr. Burlingham to remove his illusions with regard to the future with Dorothy and then to send him back to the Semmering as a harmless man of honor. I prevented this with my urgent letters to Amsden; I forced Amsden to accompany him here and, after the enlightenment, to take him with him to Budapest. In our conversation, Amsden seemed to agree with my conception, just as he also followed it up in his actions. But it only seemed that way, for on his departure from here, he told Dorothy he had never had such a difficult task to solve, and he didn't know whether he had done the right thing.

These statements are quite strange in and of themselves, but they also show that he gave in to me without believing me. So, why did he give in to me? Perhaps because he didn't want to take the responsibility for possible disaster. Actually, he considered the patient harmless and my caution exaggerated. But one should be amazed at that, for he has participated in his [Burlingham's] case history and must know what kind of violence he is capable of.

Now Dr. Burlingham doesn't let a day go by without talking to his wife on the telephone, so that he has actually not been disposed of. He says the strangest things on the telephone, constantly contradicting himself, sometimes accusations, sometimes tendernesses—the poor woman gets no rest, and is afraid of his turning up again here with us. But there is an advantage in all this. One learns what is actually going on in him, and how Amsden treats him.

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