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Knoepfmacher, H. (1979). Sigmund Freud in High School. Am. Imago, 36(3):287-300.

(1979). American Imago, 36(3):287-300

Sigmund Freud in High School

Hugo Knoepfmacher, J.D.

Sigmund Freud entered the Leopoldstädter Communal Real- und Obergymnasium (Municipal Secondary School for Arts and Sciences of the Leopoldstadt Borough) of 8 Taborstrasse, Vienna, in September 1865, and passed the graduation examination (Matura) in July 1873. My father, Wilhelm Knöpfmacher, was his classmate from September 1871 to July 1873. I was a student of the school from September 1901 to July 1909.

The School

Vienna had four Gymnasiums in 1865, two run by the ecclesiastic orders of the Scots and the Piarists, and two secular ones, the Academic in the First Borough, and the Leopoldstadt Gymnasium in the Second Borough. Later, all were taken over by the government. The Austrian Gymnasiums had been organized under the “Organization Draft for Gymnasiums” of 1849, according to which their educational objective was to impart higher general education “with essential consideration of the classical languages” and to prepare for university studies. Instruction was given on two levels, a basic one in the “Lower Gymnasium,” the first four years, and a more scholarly level in the “Upper Gymnasium,” during the remaining four years. During the last two years, “Philosophical Propedeutics,” logic and psychology, was taught for two hours weekly. In the Realgymnasium, apart from the required Latin and Greek, French (but not English) was taught as a non-required subject. The Realgymnasium gave more weight to sciences than other classic secondary schools did (Mischler, 1905-1909, 2: 610-614). Sterba (1971) gives a detailed description of the curriculum at the time of Freud. The Leopoldstadt Gymnasium was founded in 1864 and built up to eight grades by 1872. Thus, Freud's class was the second in the school's existence. The school fee was low, fl. 9.75 in Freud's time; scholarships were liberally granted to good scholars, but Freud never applied for one.

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