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Lothane, Z. (2007). Sigmund Freud and Minna Bernays: Primal Curiosity, Primal Scenes, Primal Fantasies—and Prevarication. Psychoanal. Psychol., 24(3):487-495.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 24(3):487-495

Brief Reports

Sigmund Freud and Minna Bernays: Primal Curiosity, Primal Scenes, Primal Fantasies—and Prevarication

Zvi Lothane, M.D.

Attacks on Freud's theories on sexuality began when Freud launched his studies on hysteria in the last decade of the 19th century and are still ongoing. The latest cavil is embedded in a sensation exploded in the summer of 2006 by Franz Maciejewski of Heidelberg, Germany. It was publicized in front-page reportage by New York Times columnist Ralph Blumenthal (2006): “A Century-Old Swiss Hotel Log Hints at an Illicit Desire That Dr. Freud Didn't Repress,” additionally editorialized as adequate “to impugn [Freud's] reputation” (p. A4). In this article, arguments ad hominem, bordering on Freud-bashing, concerning Freud as a person and his relationship with his sister-in-law Minna Bernays, are separated from arguments ad rem, regarding the merits of Freud's theory of the Oedipus complex. The evidence presented by Maciejewski is found to be flawed and to not rise above the level of conjecture. Similarly, his construction that the alleged sexual affair between Freud and his sister-in-law was tantamount to incest, and thus source of theory of the Oedipus complex, has no standing either.

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