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Sterba, R. (1961). On Sigmund Freud's Personality. Am. Imago, 18(3):289-304.

(1961). American Imago, 18(3):289-304

On Sigmund Freud's Personality

Richard Sterba

I felt greatly honored when I was invited to talk to you on the occasion of your Freud Centenary and I gladly accepted the invitation, though not without some apprehension. I decided to talk to you not about Freud's works. Their overwhelming significance for the understanding and further development of the human mind can easily be recognized by anybody who observes the penetration of psychoanalytic thinking into practically every field of modern human endeavour as in education, medicine, sociology, anthropology, biology, ethnology, folkloristics, the world of literary creation and even into economics and industry. So I chose as my topic Freud's personality. But I certainly feel neither equipped nor does my time permit me to make a presentation of Freud's total personality. Therefore I would like to talk to you about some particular features in Freud's character which do not express themselves so clearly in his scientific writings. But even with such limitation I have to realize the heavy responsibility this subject puts on the person who undertakes such a task with serious intentions.

Does not Freud's work speak for itself, is not this itself. Does not Freud's work speak for itself, is not this the important and essential part of his existence? Why talk about the rest? Freud himself certainly considered his work the essence of his personality. When he was asked to write his autobiography he wrote the little book: “An Autobiographical Study”. I do not think there exists another autobiography which reveals so little about the personal life of the author.

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