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Gedo, J.E. (1974). Sigmund Freud and Lou Andreas-Salomé Letters: Edited by Ernst Pfeiffer. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972, 244 pp., $7.95.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 22:211-218.

(1974). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 22:211-218

Sigmund Freud and Lou Andreas-Salomé Letters: Edited by Ernst Pfeiffer. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972, 244 pp., $7.95.

Review by:
John E. Gedo, M.D.

With the publication of more and more of Sigmund Freud's prodigious correspondence, students of his life are being given opportunities to glimpse varied facets of his protean personality. The samples in Jones' biography and the selection of letters to almost a hundred different correspondents included in Ernst Freud's 1960 volume forcefully brought to our attention Freud's greatness as a stylist in this difficult medium. The substantial collections addressed to a single person, such as the letters to Fliess or the exchange with Karl Abraham, have illuminated aspects of Freud's growth as a scientist and as the leader of the psychoanalytic community—a picture that may be significantly rounded out in the near future by the publication of his correspondence with Jung. The past decade has also seen the appearance of a number of smaller volumes of letters—exchanges with collaborators such as Pfister or Weiss, with adherents like Arnold Zweig, and now with Lou Andreas-Salomé (L. A.-S.), the first of a series of distinguished women who assumed special significance for Freud in his old age.

It is probably difficult for us today to grasp the significance of L. A.-S.'s adherence to psychoanalysis. We do not remember her for her scientific contributions. Indeed, in her letters, her attempts to grapple with Freud's ideas are often cloudy and never elicited more than polite refusals to go into specifics on the part of her wise tutor. In recent years, her name has been used in a tasteless effort to defame Freud in connection with the sad fate of their mutual problem child, Victor Tausk. Even rebuttals of these fantastic misconstructions have had to deal with her life in a manner that cannot convey her stature. K. R. Eissler, in his Talent and Genius (1971), has called her "the most distinguished woman in Central Europe" at the time she joined Freud, and he has acutely pointed out that in 1912 she was much the better known of the two.

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