When his mother died at age ninety-five, Sigmund Freud confessed he felt freer. Sigi had a nurse but she disappeared, arrested for theft. For Freud the theme of the two mothers, appearing in Leonardo DaVinci's story for one, is a matter of interest. Sigmund Freud had one surviving brother and five sisters. He had two half-brothers, Philipp and Emanuel, a generation older. His sister Anna married Eli Bernays, Sigmund's future wife's older brother. Sisters Rosa, Mitzi, and Pauli married and were widowed. Dolfi remained unmarried. The young Freud was abstemious, repressed. There was a long engagement of Sigmund and Martha Bernays, 1882-1886. The obstacle to marriage was money. Freud opened his practice on Easter Day, 1886. The couple lived together for fifty-three years. There was a pattern of authority and submission, but Martha had her way within the household. There was an agreed upon division of labor. Martha was independently minded, indifferent to Freud's coercive entreaties. The children Mathilde, Martin, Oliver, Ernst, Sophie, and Anna were born in an eight year period. Minna Bernays, Martha's sister, moved into the household permanently in 1896. Sigmund and Minna got on very well. Minna shared Freud's intellectual interests and his tastes for exotic travel.
Freud's friendships with men, Jung, Breuer, Fliess, Adler, Rank, and Ferenczi ended in bitterness. His friendships with women did not terminate in such a manner. Charcot's theories were produced when he was a physician at Salpetriere from the 1850's to the 1880's. Charcot used hypnosis. Charcot died in 1893. Within ten years of his death, his pupils rejected the diagnosis of hysteria. (It is possible psychoanalysis killed off hysteria, a process of psychological gentrification.) Freud insisted psychoanalysis was discovered by Josef Breuer, ANNA O. Anna O. was Bertha Pappenheim. Bertha Pappenheim invented the talking cure. She called it chimney sweeping. In the 1880's she made a slow recovery. Another patient from whom arose theories expounded in STUDIES IN HYSTERIA was Anna von Lieben. Fanny Moser, another early patient, demonstrated the technique of free association. In the case of Ilona Weiss, Freud could show that the patient was implicated in the tangle of family disorders. She was not a mere victim of circumstances. A primal scene of psychoanalysis involves Emma Eckstein.
Emma Eckstein, a notable follower of Freud, began her involvement in the development of psychoanalysis as a patient of Freud. She became actively involved in her own treatment. Freud's debt to his female patients is clear in THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS. Ida Bauer was Freud's Dora. In 1902, partly through the efforts of two of his patients, Freud acquired the title of Professor. Psychoanalysis became fashionable. Women patients and women associates were major supporters of Freud. One is truck by the great amount of suffering the turn-of-the-century women endured. In other accounts of Freud's career, this aspect, the alleviation of suffering, is not brought home to the reader as forcefully.
Another aspect of this book is its thorough description of Freud's cutural circumstances and the importance of his social milieu to the practice of psychoanalysis. Further on in the book Marie Bonaparte, Lou Andreas-Salome, Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, Ruth Mack Brunswick, Helene Deutsch, and a number of other women who made contributions to the study and development of psychoanalysis are featured. The challenge of feminist theory and structuralism are dealt with near the end of this excellent survey of the contribution of women to Freud's project.