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Freud, S. (1897). Letter from Freud to Fliess, September 21, 1897. The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess, 1887-1904, 264-267.

Freud, S. (1897). Letter from Freud to Fliess, September 21, 1897. The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess, 1887-1904, 264-267

Letter from Freud to Fliess, September 21, 1897 Book Information Previous Up Next

Sigmund Freud

September 21, 1897

Dear Wilhelm,

Here I am again, since yesterday morning, refreshed, cheerful, impoverished, at present without work, and having settled in again, I am writing to you first.

And now I want to confide in you immediately the great secret that has been slowly dawning on me in the last few months. I no longer believe in my neurotica [theory of the neuroses]. This is probably not intelligible without an explanation; after all, you yourself found credible what I was able to tell you. So I will begin historically [and tell you] where the reasons for disbelief came from. The continual disappointment in my efforts to bring a single analysis1 to a real conclusion; the running away of people who for a period of time had been most gripped [by analysis]; the absence of the complete successes on which I had counted; the possibility of explaining to myself the partial successes in other ways, in the usual fashion — this was the first group. Then the surprise that in all cases, the father, not excluding my own,2 had to be accused of being perverse — the realization of the unexpected frequency of hysteria, with precisely the same conditions prevailing in each, whereas surely such widespread perversions against children are not very probable. The [incidence] of perversion would have to be immeasurably more frequent than the [resulting] hysteria because the illness, after all, occurs only where there has been an accumulation of events and there is a contributory factor that weakens the defense. Then, third, the certain insight that there are no indications of reality in the unconscious, so that one cannot distinguish between truth and fiction that has been cathected with affect.

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