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Neumarkt, P. (1975). Victor Tausk and the Roazen-Eissler Controversy. Am. Imago, 32(4):417-419.

(1975). American Imago, 32(4):417-419

Recent Books in Review

Victor Tausk and the Roazen-Eissler Controversy

Review by:
Paul Neumarkt, Ph.D.

In Brother Animal: The Story of Freud and Tausk Paul Roazen sets himself the task to restore the memory of Victor Tausk, the brilliant psychoanalyst who committed suicide in 1919 by simultaneously shooting and hanging himself. Even as this is the professed aim, the central thesis of Brother Animal is Freud's responsibility in the death of Victor Tausk. In Talent and Genius, K. R. Eissler rallies to the support of Sigmund Freud.1

Victor Tausk made important contributions to psychoanalysis. This was recognized by Freud himself when he eulogized Tausk in his obituary where he wrote of the sharp observation with which Tausk approached the psychoanalytic consideration of philosophical problems. Freud further noted Tausk's clinical work to which we owe valuable researches into the psychosis of melancholia and schizophrenia. Freud concludes that Tausk is assured of an honorable memory in the history of psychoanalysis and its earliest struggles (St. Ed., “Victor Tausk,” vol. 17, pp. 273/275, passim).

These words spoken over the grave of the deceased were strictly on a professional level and did not reflect Freud's personal feelings towards the man he was eulogizing. This can be gleaned from his letter to Lou Andreas-Salomé a short while later in which he candidly admits that he had come to understand the substructure of Tausk's proud sublimations but also his significant gift and apparent inability to translate it into correspondingly valuable achievements (quoted in Brother Animal, p. 149, passim).

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