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Freud's Patients: A Book of Lives
by Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen
Reaktion Books, 2021
Cloth: 978-1-78914-455-0 | eISBN: 978-1-78914-454-3

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | REVIEWS | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Portraits of the thirty-eight known patients Sigmund Freud treated clinically—some well-known, many obscure—reveal a darker, more complex picture of the famed psychoanalyst.
 
Everyone knows the characters described by Freud in his case histories: “Dora,” the “Rat Man,” the “Wolf Man.” But what do we know of the people, the lives behind these famous pseudonyms: Ida Bauer, Ernst Lanzer, Sergius Pankejeff? Do we know the circumstances that led them to Freud’s consulting room, or how they fared—how they really fared—following their treatments? And what of those patients about whom Freud wrote nothing, or very little: Pauline Silberstein, who threw herself from the fourth floor of her analyst’s building; Elfriede Hirschfeld, Freud’s “grand-patient” and “chief tormentor;” the fashionable architect Karl Mayreder; the psychotic millionaire Carl Liebmann; and so many others? In an absorbing sequence of portraits, Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen offers the stories of these men and women—some comic, many tragic, all of them deeply moving. In total, thirty-eight lives tell us as much about Freud’s clinical practice as his celebrated case studies, revealing a darker and more complex Freud than is usually portrayed: the doctor as his patients, their friends, and their families saw him.

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