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Johnson, N.M. (1974). Sigmund Freud And Lou Andreas-Salome: Letters. Ernst Pfeiffer (Ed.). New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972. 244. pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 61(3):481-482.

(1974). Psychoanalytic Review, 61(3):481-482

Sigmund Freud And Lou Andreas-Salome: Letters. Ernst Pfeiffer (Ed.). New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972. 244. pp.

Review by:
Niel M. Johnson

Psychoanalysis grew up in a man's world. This fact, rather than any inherent “sexism” in Freudian psychology, appears to account for the relative scarcity of female names among its early students and practitioners. Because of today's climate of opinion, it is especially appropriate and timely that the latest published collection of Freud's correspondence includes his communications with a woman of considerable talent, Lou Andreas-Salomé. Although not without its weaknesses, the book is a worthwhile addition to the four collections of letters pertaining to Freud that have been published since 1954.

Their correspondence began in September 1912, when Lou Andreas-Salomé was a mature woman of fifty, and continued until May 1936. She died in February 1937. The book's editor, Ernst Pfeiffer, is to be commended for giving the reader an interpretative sketch of her life, and more important, for preparing over two hundred explanatory backnotes to the letters. The notes are distinctly helpful in identifying persons and works, as well as clarifying obscure allusions within the letters. The letters were translated by Elaine and William Robson-Scott.

In her letters, Lou Andreas (This was the name she ordinarily used until 1922, when she became simply “Lou” in her correspondence with Freud) periodically commented at some length on new ideas and issues stemming from the discussion evenings in 1912 and the later writings of Freud. As early as November 1912, she offered opinions upon the relationship of sexuality and ego-instinct, obsessional neurosis, and other current concerns.

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