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Bergmann, M.S. (1994). Freud's Moses-Studie Als Tagtraum: By Ilse Grubrich-Simitis. Frankfurt: Verlag Internationale Psychoanalyse, 1991, 350 pp., $50.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 42:898-901.

(1994). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 42:898-901

Freud's Moses-Studie Als Tagtraum: By Ilse Grubrich-Simitis. Frankfurt: Verlag Internationale Psychoanalyse, 1991, 350 pp., $50.00.

Review by:
Martin S. Bergmann

The unconscious connection between the inner life of the creator and the literary product is the special domain of psychoanalysis as it is applied to creative individuals. Why Freud chose to devote the energy of his last years (1936–1939) to a historical and psychoanalytic study of Moses has intrigued Freud's biographers and many others. Freud's historical digression is particularly puzzling since his reformulation of the structural viewpoint in 1926 demanded a reevaluation of psychoanalytic theory, dream interpretation, and especially psychoanalytic technique. All these issues were put aside by Freud in favor of the Moses study. Only recently two other books devoted to this subject appeared (Rice, 1990); (Yerushalmi, 1991), and now the work under review which represents an enlarged version of the author's Freud anniversary lecture.

All biographers on the subject have agreed that the Nazi victory over Germany and the renewal of its deadly anti-Semitism was the impetus for Freud's last book. However, Ilse Grubrich-Simitis's account in this fine book is both more sensitive and, strictly speaking, more psychoanalytic than any other account. This is a powerful book, written in a haunting, poetic style, with such deep empathy for the aging and besieged Freud that her analysis ultimately becomes a work of homage.

Like many authors before her, Grubrich-Simitis finds that the identification with Moses belongs to the kernel of Freud's self-feelings. When Freud became disillusioned with his father, the exalted image of Moses compensated him for this loss.

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