Medium 9780946439768

The Wolf-Man and Sigmund Freud

Views: 962
Ratings: (0)

It is a well known that the Wolf-Man was the subject of what James Strachey described as 'the most elaborate and no doubt the most important of all Freud's case histories'. It is less well known that he was still living in Vienna more than half a century since his analysis with Freud.In this remarkable biographical account, the Wolf-Man comes alive not only through Freud's case history, which is reprinted in full, and Ruth Mack Brunswick's account of the follow-up analysis which she conducted, but also through his own autobiographical memoirs covering his childhood in Russia, his recollections of Freud, his marriage, and the circumstances of his life in Vienna after the First World War. The story of the Wolf-Man's later years is told by the editor of this volume, Dr Muriel Gardiner, who kept in close touch with him following the shattering suicide of his wife in 1938.The Wolf-Man needed immense resources of vitality to live through the emotional and material losses that he sustained. There can be no doubt that it was Freud's analysis that saved him from a crippled existence, and he himself was convinced that without psychoanalysis he would have been condemned to lifelong misery.

List price: $48.99

Your Price: $39.19

You Save: 20%

Remix
Remove
 

14 Chapters

Format Buy Remix

Recollections of My Childhood

ePub

Introduction

To psychoanalysts this first chapter of the Wolf-Man’s Memoirs will be of special interest because it covers the same period of his life as Freud’s From the History of an Infantile Neurosis. The little boy’s earliest memory, apparently, was of an attack of malaria when he was lying in the garden in summer. This actual memory would seem to be of the same summer as the reconstructed observation of the primal scene. Memories of the English governess, including the two screen memories mentioned by Freud, appear here, and we learn also of other governesses who followed. Miss Elisabeth, who came when the English governess left, probably several months before the boy was four, used to read aloud in the evening from Grimms’’ Fairy Tales, the stories which played such a role in the choice of the Wolf Man’s animal phobia, and he and his Nanya listened with fascinated attention. Mademoiselle, a little later, introduced the child to the story of Charlemagne, and he compared himself with this hero who had had all possible gifts dropped into his cradle by benevolent spirits. We understand the analogy when we remember Freud’s statements that, because he had been born with a caul, a “lucky hood,” the Wolf Man had throughout his childhood ‘Hooked on himself as a special child of fortune whom no ill could befall,” and that his adult neurosis broke out when he was “compelled to abandon his hope of being personally favored by destiny.

 

1905-1908: Unconscious Mourning

ePub

TE winter of 1905-1906 I spent abroad. After I had passed my college entrance examinations in the spring of 1905 my mother, my sister Anna, and I went to Berlin. We were accompanied on this trip by my mother’s younger sister, Aunt Eugenia, and by my sister’s companion, an elderly unmarried woman of German origin.

My mother and Anna, as well as her companion, spent the whole winter in a sanatorium near Berlin, but I used our long sojourn abroad for two interesting trips. In the fall of 1905 I traveled to Italy, and the following February I visited Paris and London in the company of my cousin Gregor who, in the meantime, had come from Russia to join us in Berlin. In May of the same year I returned to Russia via Berlin, with the intention of spending the summer on our estate in the south of Russia.

Soon afterward my mother and my sister, as well as the other two ladies, left Germany and went first to Milan, where my mother’s younger brother Basil had been living for the last fifteen years, and then to Livorno on the Mediterranean.

 

1908: Castles in Spain

ePub

THE euphoric mood which had taken hold of me so suddenly on leaving St. Petersburg continued undiminished during our trip, as well as after our arrival in Munich. Dr, H., who evidently regarded his job of escorting me to Munich as a little vacation trip, was also in the best of spirits. During our journey he told me a number of interesting things about Abyssinia and the court of the Negus since, he said, he had belonged to the retinue of a certain Leontiev. Leontiev was an adventurer who in the 1890’s had taken a trip on his own to Abyssinia, but was later sent there as an official Russian envoy. This was probably the first Russian attempt to establish relations with an African state, an attempt linked in the contemporary press to the fact that the Abyssinians also belonged to the Eastern Church,

Spring was much further advanced in Munich than in cold, damp St. Petersburg, and this, too, was most gratifying. Even the people on the streets seemed more relaxed and friendly in Munich.

On the second day after our arrival in Munich we went to Professor Kraepelin’s office. Dr. H. reported on my case, and Professor Kraepelin, a stout, elderly gentleman, after examining me declared that in his opinion a prolonged stay in a sanatorium was indicated. He recommended an institution near Munich in which several of his patients were staying whom he visited twice each month. As he would be there every two weeks, he could supervise my treatment in this sanatorium.

 

1009-1914: Shirting Decisions

ePub

Nw, having escaped from Dr. N.’s sanatorium and returned to Frankfurt with Dr. H., I left it to him to decide what should happen next. As there was no question of my going back to Professor Kraepelin, Dr. H. recommended that I consult Professor Ziehen in Berlin. So we remained only a few days in Frankfurt and then went to Berlin where, together with Dr. H., I visited Professor Ziehen. Professor Ziehen, like Professor Kraepelin, was of the opinion that the best thing for me would be a long period in a sanatorium for nervous disorders.

Following Professor Ziehen’s advice, we took up our winter quarters in the year 1908 in Schlachtensee, which one could reach from Berlin in half an hour by train. The medical director of the Sanatorium Schlachtensee was Dr. K., who made the impression of being a reasonable and rather balanced person. The patients of this sanatorium enjoyed more freedom than those of Dr. N.’s. When the prescribed daily treatment was completed, they could do whatever they wished the rest of the day. Naturally I lived in the institution, and my mother, my aunt, and P. were settled in a pension in a neighboring villa, I found this very pleasant, as I could make excursions and trips to Berlin with P., and I was also in regular contact with my mother.

 

1914-1919: After My Analysis

ePub

The end of my analysis with Professor Freud coincided with the assassination of the Austrian Crown Prince, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife, the Duchess of Hohenberg. It was a very hot and sultry Sunday, this fateful 28th of June 1914. On this day I took a walk through the Prater and turned over in my mind the years I had spent in Vienna, which had been so interesting and during which I had learned so much.

Shortly before the end of my treatment, Therese had come to Vienna and together we visited Professor Freud. I had not expected that Therese would make such a favorable impression upon him. He was delighted with her, and even remarked that he had had quite a false picture of her and that actually she “looked like a czarina.” Not only was he obviously impressed by her appearance (he had apparently doubted whether Therese was really such a beautiful woman as I had described), but he was also pleased by her reserved and serious nature. So my intention to marry Therese now met with his full approval.

 

1919-1938: Everyday Life

ePub

WHEN I visited Professor Freud in the spring of 1919, on my way to Freiburg, I was so thoroughly satisfied with my mental and emotional condition that I never thought of the possibility of needing more psychoanalytic treatment. But when I told Professor Freud everything I could about my state of mind during the years since I had left Vienna, he thought that there was still a small residue of unanalyzed material and advised a short reanalysis with him. Therefore we agreed that I would return to Vienna in the fall for this purpose. Therese and I spent the rest of the summer on the Boden See, near the little German town of Lindau, and went to Vienna in late September. But, as often happens in psychoanalytic treatment, this reanalysis stretched out more and more, and it was not until Easter 1920 that Professor Freud told me he considered it completed.

At this point I must go back to a little episode of the previous summer which at the time seemed quite insignificant but which turned out to have important consequences for my later life. While in Freiburg, living in a pension, I made friends with a student at the Freiburg University. The family name of this student was the same as that of a well-known professor in Vienna. Let us suppose that the name was Meyer—though in reality it was something quite different. When I told the student that my wife and I would be going to Vienna in the fall, he told me that Professor Meyer was his uncle and asked me to call on him and bring him greetings,

 

1938: The Climax

ePub

MARCH 1938 was a disastrous month, not only for Austria but also for my own personal destiny.

“Whom do you think Schuschnigg has just met?” Therese, who had picked up the newspaper a moment before, asked me.

“I haven’t the faintest idea.”

“Hitler!”

“That’s the last thing I would have expected. Now we’ll have to see what that means.” 1

During the next days, the outward appearance of Vienna changed more and more. The Nazis were breathing more freely. Unhindered they marched through the streets, and it was soon clear that Schuschnigg’s meeting with Hitler had started things rolling, and that serious political consequences were to be expected.

In order to control the difficult political situation, Schuschnigg announced that a referendum would be held. Every Austrian was to cast his vote for a free Austria or for Anschluss with Hitler’s Germany. As far as one could judge the situation at the time, it appeared that the vote would probably be for a free Austria.

When I returned home the evening before the day of the referendum, I wanted to listen to a radio concert that had been announced. This concert should have begun within a few minutes, but quite a long time passed without a sound. “That’s strange,” I said to Therese. “There must be something the matter with the radio. One doesn’t hear anything. Suddenly came the voice of the announcer: “The Chancellor has an important statement to make.” Then Schuschnigg spoke. His statement contained the information that the German armed forces had already crossed the German-Austrian border, and that Schuschnigg—to prevent unnecessary bloodshed—had given the order that there should be no armed resistance. His final words were: “I yield to force. God protect Austria.” Then the Austrian anthem was played for the last time.

 

My Recollections of Sigmund Freud

ePub

by the Wolf-Man

Ifirst met Freud in the year 1910. At that time psychoanalysis and the name of its founder were practically unknown beyond the borders of Austria. Before I report on how I came into analysis with Freud, however, I should like to recall to you the desolate situation in which a neurotic found himself at that period before psychoanalysis. A sufferer from neurosis is trying to find his way back into normal life, as he has come into conflict with his environment and then lost contact with it. His emotional life has become “inadequate,” inappropriate to outer reality. His goal is not a real known object, but rather some other object, hidden in his unconscious, unknown to himself. His affect by-passes the real object, accessible to his consciousness. As long as nothing was known of this state of affairs, only two explanations were possible: one, that of the layman, concerned itself with the increase in intensity of affect, which was out of proportion to the real situation; it was said that the neurotic exaggerated everything. The other explanation, that of the neurologist or psychiatrist, derived the mental and emotional from the physical, and sought to persuade the patient that his trouble was due to a functional disorder of the nervous system. The neurotic went to a physician with the wish to pour out his heart to him, and was bitterly disappointed when the physician would scarcely listen to the problems which so troubled him, much less try to understand them. But that which to the doctor was only an unimportant by-product of a serious objective condition was for the neurotic himself a profound inner experience. So there could be no real contact between patient and physician. The treatment of emotional illness seemed to have got into a dead-end street.

 

Neurosis

ePub

by Sigmund Freud

I: Introductory Remarks

The case upon which I propose to report in the following pages (once again only in a fragmentary manner) is characterized by a number of peculiarities which require to be emphasized be fore I proceed to a description of the facts themselves. It is concerned with a young man whose health had broken down in his eighteenth year after a gonorrhoeal infection, and who was entirely incapacitated and completely dependent upon other people when he began his psycho-analytic treatment several years later. He had lived an approximately normal life during the ten years of his boyhood that preceded the date of his illness, and got through his studies at his secondary school without much trouble. But his earlier years were dominated by a severe neurotic disturbance, which began immediately before his fourth birthday as an anxiety-hysteria (in the shape of an animal phobia), then changed into an obsessional neurosis with a religious content, and lasted with its offshoots as far as into his tenth year.

 

A Supplement to Freud’s “History of an Infantile Neurosis” (1928)

ePub

by Ruth Mack Brunswick

This articlebest explained by its title—was brought up to date by the author in the following note to the editor of the Reader:1 “The analysis of the Wolf-Man reported here occupied the five months from October 1926 to February 1927. Thereafter the Wolf-Man was well and relatively productive in a small bureaucratic capacity.

“It was after about two years that he returned for the resumption of an analysis as rewarding to me as to him. There was no trace of psychosis or of paranoid trends. Potency disturbances of a strictly neurotic character had occurred in the course of a sudden, violent, and repetitive love-relation. This time the analysis, extending somewhat irregularly over a period of several years, revealed new material and important, hitherto forgotten memories, all relating to the complicated attachment of the pre-schizophrenic girl and her small brother. The therapeutic results were excellent and remained so, according to my last information in 1940, despite major personal crises resulting in only a small measure from world events.…

 

Meetings with the Wolf-Man (1938-1949)

ePub

IN the early spring of 1938, shortly after the Nazis had taken over Austria, I came face to face with the Wolf-Man on one of the busy Vienna streets. He did not greet me in his usual polite and ceremonious manner but began to cry and wring his hands and pour out a flood of words which because of his excitement and his sobbing were utterly unintelligible. Alarmed that he was making us conspicuous on the street, at a time when this was not only inadvisable but even dangerous, I asked him to walk the few steps with me to my apartment where we could talk in privacy. As we passed through the entrance hall of the apartment house, the concierge, attracted by the Wolf-Man’s excited voice rising almost to a scream, looked suspiciously at us from his doorway.

I had known the Wolf-Man in a distant sort of way for a number of years following the completion of his analysis by Ruth Mack Brunswick. At first he and I had drunk tea together every Wednesday afternoon while he patiently tried to teach me Russian. At these meetings, after devoting a conscientious hour to Russian grammar, we would relax and talk about more interesting things: Dostoevsky, Freud, or the French Impressionists. He knew few people with whom he could talk about these beloved subjects, and I always enjoyed and profited by his acute observations which grew out of a really deep understanding of human nature, art, and psychoanalysis.

 

Another Meeting with the Wolf-Man (1956)

ePub

Introduction

The following paper was drafted in March 1956, immediately after the meeting with the Wolf-Man which it describes. It was put into its present form in 1959, with the intention of publishing it then. When I saw the Wolf-Man soon after I had completed this paper, I told him about it but did not have the paper with me to show him. However, he did not wish it published at that time, and the matter was dropped. In September 1967, at another meeting with the Wolf-Man, I had intended to ask him whether he would now be willing to have the article appear. To my pleasure, he himself brought up the subject, expressing his wish that it be published.

I suggested to the Wolf-Man that he should write an autobiographical account of this experience with the Russians during the occupation, as it would be interesting to have it in his own words,’ and also for the purpose of correcting any errors I might have made. At our meeting in 1956 he had told me so much in a few hours that I feared I might have confused some of the details, although not the general mood and feelings he had described. And indeed this proved to be the case. The Wolf-Man agreed with considerable enthusiasm to write up the episode. He had by this time written several sections of his Memoirs.

 

The Wolf-Man Grows Older

ePub

AALTHOUGH almost seven years elapsed between my meeting with the Wolf-Man in Linz in 1949 and our next meeting in Vienna in 1956, our correspondence has always been regular and unbroken. This has given us both pleasure. “Because I have so many proofs of your sincere friendship,” the Wolf-Man wrote me, “I can pour out my thoughts freely to you in every letter, and my heart feels great relief. ”

In the early postwar years the Wolf-Man’s letters were full of “reality problems,” as he called them: his own poor health, caring for his mother who was often ill, and above all the fight against hunger. The hunger period in Vienna lasted several years beyond the end of World War II. During this time there was also a shortage of fuel for heating, of clothing, and of practically all other necessities. This struggle with reality, however, did not do away with the Wolf-Man’s inner problems. In one letter he writes: “Is one not at times somehow forced to act contrary to the reality principle, so as to escape from the overwhelming pressure of the unconscious? I mean, one says to oneself, it is better to transform an inner conflict into an outer one, since it is sometimes easier to master a difficult real situation than to keep repressing certain unconscious complexes.”

 

Diagnostic Impressions

ePub

WHAT has happened to the Wolf-Man? friends often ask me. “What is he like? Is he healthy? Is he psychotic? What did his analyses with Freud and with Ruth Mack Brunswick achieve?”

To give a true picture of the Wolf-Man’s personality, I must describe him in both his more healthy and his less healthy periods. From the time I first met the Wolf-Man in 1927 until his wife’s death in 1938 I had never observed anything that I considered abnormal in his behavior or conversation. He made a most orderly and reliable impression, was always appropriately and carefully dressed, was very polite and considerate of others. He was an excellent conversationalist; however we talked little about ourselves, chiefly about art and literature and psychoanalysis. He was a conscientious teacher of the Russian language although he expected a bit too much of me. His German, our common language, was excellent, mine rather inadequate. I remember struggling with the Russian for such words as Kolomalivarengeschaft, not having the slightest idea of what the German word meant.

 

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Chapters

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
B000000020794
Isbn
9781780499109
File size
1.31 MB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata