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Freud, S. (1929). Letter from Sigmund Freud to Lou Andreas-Salome, July 28, 1929. Letters of Sigmund Freud 1873-1939, 389-391.

Freud, S. (1929). Letter from Sigmund Freud to Lou Andreas-Salome, July 28, 1929. Letters of Sigmund Freud 1873-1939, 389-391

Letter from Sigmund Freud to Lou Andreas-Salome, July 28, 1929 Book Information Previous Up Next

Sigmund Freud

July 28, 1929

Dearest Lou

You will have guessed with your usual perspicacity why I have taken so long to answer you. Anna has already told you that I am working on something, and today I wrote the last sentence, which-as far as is possible without a library-finishes the work.1 It deals with civilization, sense of guilt, happiness, and similar exalted subjects, and strikes me, no doubt rightly, as quite superfluous in contrast to earlier works which always sprang from some inner necessity. But what else can I do? One cannot smoke and play cards all day; I am no longer much good at walking, and most of what I read doesn't interest me any more. I wrote, and in doing so the time passed quite pleasantly. While engaged in this work I have discovered the most banal truths.

Thomas Mann's essay2 is no doubt quite an honor. He gives me the impression of having just completed an essay on romanticism when he was asked to write about me, and so he applied a veneer, as the cabinetmaker says, of psychoanalysis to the front and back of this essay: the bulk of it is of a different wood. Nevertheless, whenever Mann says something it is pretty sound.

I am very interested in your analysis of my production, but I find myself without an opinion. All I know is that I worked terribly hard; the rest followed as a matter of course. It could also have been very much better. I was aware only of the objective, not of myself. My worst qualities, among them a certain indifference to the world, probably had the same share in the final result as the good ones-i.

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