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Zilboorg, G. (1954). A Monument and an Epitaph. Psychoanal Q., 23:250-259.

(1954). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 23:250-259

A Monument and an Epitaph

Gregory Zilboorg

I begin with a few random quotations.

In Jones's words: 'However unpalatable the idea may be to hero-worshipers, the truth has to be stated that Freud did not always possess the serenity and inner sureness so characteristic of him in the years when he was well known. The point has to be put more forcibly. There is ample evidence that for ten years or so—roughly comprising the nineties—he suffered from a very considerable psychoneurosis. An admirer might be tempted to paint this in the darkest colors so as to emphasize by way of relief Freud's achievement of self-mastery by the help of the unique instrument he himself forged. But there is no need to exaggerate; the greatness of the achievement stands by itself. After all, in the worst times Freud never ceased to function' (p. 304).

'He paid very heavily for the gifts he bestowed on the world, and the world was not very generous in its rewards' (p. 305).

Words of Freud: 'What oppresses me can hardly be helped. It is my cross and I must bear it, but God knows my back has become distinctly bent from the effort' (p. 303).

Jones's words: 'The picture we get here is very different from the common one of Freud as that of a clever man who sat down comfortably and calmly and made one discovery after another. They cost him much suffering. And what courage to cast aside the only staff he had to cling to, with only a dim hope of reaching the inner resources of self-confidence that could replace it! Fortunately for himself and for us, that hope was realized within the next couple of years' (p. 303).

A communication by Jones: 'Freud asked five of us to meet him in Munich, on November 24, 1912. He wished to consult us about his editorial difficulties with Stekel and to secure our support for a proposal he had in mind.

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