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Freud, S. (1931). Letter from Sigmund Freud to Stefan Zweig, February 7, 1931. Letters of Sigmund Freud 1873-1939, 402-403.

Freud, S. (1931). Letter from Sigmund Freud to Stefan Zweig, February 7, 1931. Letters of Sigmund Freud 1873-1939, 402-403

Letter from Sigmund Freud to Stefan Zweig, February 7, 1931 Book Information Previous Up Next

Sigmund Freud

Vienna IX, Berggasse 19
February 7, 1931

Dear Stefan Zweig

I have received your latest work1 and read it again, taking a more personal interest this time, of course, than I did in your former captivating books. If I may couch my impressions in a critical form, I would say that it is your essay on Mesmer2 that strikes me as the most harmonious, just, and distinguished. Like you, I believe that the real nature of his discovery, that of suggestion, has so far not been recognized, and that there still remains room for something new here.

What disturbs me about the essay on Mary Baker Eddy3 is that you lay such stress on her intensity. People like us who cannot free themselves from the pathological point of view are not very impressed by this quality. We know that in a fit of frenzy the raving lunatic releases energies which normally are not at his disposal. The mad and wicked side of the Mary Baker Eddy phenomenon is not sufficiently brought out, nor is the unspeakable grimness of the American background.

That one doesn't like one's own portrait, or that one doesn't recognize oneself in it, is a general and well-known fact. I therefore hasten to express my satisfaction at your having recognized correctly the most important feature in my case. Namely, that in so far as achievement is concerned it was less the result of intellect than of character. This seems to be the core of your opinion, and one in which I myself believe. On the other hand I feel inclined to object to the emphasis you put on the element of petit-bourgeois correctness in my person.


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