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Wolf, E.S. Trosman, H. (1974). Freud and Popper-Lynkeus. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 22:123-141.

(1974). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 22:123-141

Freud and Popper-Lynkeus

Ernest S. Wolf, M.D. and Harry Trosman, M.D.

SUMMARY

Freud's relationship with Josef Popper-Lynkeus, a man whom he highly esteemed but never met, is examined in the light of the

link between narcissistic transformations and psychological creativity. Although Freud idealized Popper's psychological insights and the saintliness of his personality, he took no steps to have his convictions about Popper challenged by reality. Indeed, he feared that if he actually met Popper he would be disappointed as he had been on numerous other occasions, when confronted by the lack of comprehension of men whom he admired. In addition, Popper, like Schnitzler, was an "alter ego" or "double" for Freud, an aspect of his own self which had to be kept at a judicious distance. Freud could acknowledge the greatness of Popper and their similarity from afar, but he avoided a confrontation which might disturb the idealization or bring about a sense of the uncanny.

The nature of the Freud-Popper relationship suggests that narcissistic trends toward idealization and the formation of an alter ego may have wider applicability in the investigation of creative individuals. In Freud's case there are indications of an intense need to idealize and to establish a relationship with a man whom he saw as a double. The double counteracts the sense of isolation and estrangement which accompanies revolutionary discovery. On the other hand, the presence of the double threatens the creative individual with sudden regressive pulls toward fragmentation and loss of the cohesive self.

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