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Boehlich, W. (1990). Introduction to The Letters of Sigmund Freud to Eduard Silberstein 1871-1881. The Letters of Sigmund Freud to Eduard Silberstein 1871-1881, xiii-xxvii.

Boehlich, W. (1990). Introduction to The Letters of Sigmund Freud to Eduard Silberstein 1871-1881. The Letters of Sigmund Freud to Eduard Silberstein 1871-1881, xiii-xxvii

Introduction to The Letters of Sigmund Freud to Eduard Silberstein 1871-1881 Book Information Previous Up Next

Walter Boehlich

Thou shalt, thou must abstain.

Goethe, Faust

Sigmund Freud and Eduard Silberstein are a disparate pair; about the first we know comparatively much, about the second disproportionately little, indeed one may say scarcely anything at all. Not a single line he wrote seems to have come down to us; his traces have been lost. That he played a role in Freud's life we have long since known from a letter to Martha Bernays, but as that letter refers more to their gradual drifting apart than to their close ties, it fails to reveal that no other friend played a more important role in Freud's youth. The letter is misleading in many respects, for no matter how greatly the subsequent paths of the two friends may have diverged, Freud remembered Silberstein all his life with friendship and affection and never forgot what they once shared.

What they shared was what they did together: the learning of Spanish, the founding of the Academía Castellana (or Española), the inventing of a private mythology, the writing of humorous texts. And there was their correspondence, one half of which has in large part come down to us thanks to Silberstein, who preserved it carefully, thus granting us unexpected glimpses into Freud's youthful development.

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