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Simenauer, E. (1967). The Freud-Salomé Correspondence: Sigmund Freud— Lou Andreas-Salomé Briefwechsel. Herausgegeben von Ernst Pfeiffer, S. Fischer Verlag, 1966, 294 pp.. Am. Imago, 24(4):374-377.

(1967). American Imago, 24(4):374-377

Reviews of Current Books

The Freud-Salomé Correspondence: Sigmund Freud— Lou Andreas-Salomé Briefwechsel. Herausgegeben von Ernst Pfeiffer, S. Fischer Verlag, 1966, 294 pp.

Review by:
Erich Simenauer, M.D.

This correspondence consists mainly of a running commentary by Lou Andreas-Salomé on Freud's publications between 1912 and 1936. Freud's patient responses provide us with glimpses into the workshop of his mind. There is one original contribution by Andreas-Salomé concerning a female patient's fantasy about her father, which left even Freud bewildered.

The correspondence affords us the opportunity to discern something of the real nature of their relationship as distinguished from cloudy literary rumors and not so literary tittle-tattle. It clearly reveals her attitude towards Freud as being that of a devoted pupil to the master. She is aware of this to a certain extent: “I believe that I am one with you in all your propositions intellectually, but not emotionally.” On at least one occasion her preconscious thoughts seem to break through: “… I am a cold old animal, attached to only a few. That's why I am so grateful to feel warmth in me through psychoanalysis.”

The most exhaustive study to date of this woman and her influence on so many men of eminence is H. F. Peters' My Sister, My Spouse (N. Y.: Norton, 1962). When D. Davis, in the New Statesman of 21 June, 1963 subscribes to the opinion that she had “conned Nietzsche and Freud and Rilke,” he is making an understatement and an audacious proposition at one and the same time. We have circumstantial evidence that, in some cases, she steered the lives and fortunes of many men, more often than not in the rôle of femme fatale. But the idea that Freud was one of them strikes some as preposterous.

Jones makes it clear that the correspondence was at his disposal when he wrote his biography of Freud, and we may well agree with his statement that Freud greatly admired her lofty and serene character as something far above his own (vol. 3, p. 168). She was one of the only three women who received the much discussed insignia of the ring, given originally to a secret inner council (vol. 2, p. 173).

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