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Synopsis

Freud by Zweig by Stefan Zweig (translated from the German by Eden and Cedar Paul; with Stefan Zweig's eulogy of Sigmund Freud; 36,000 words)

Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) first wrote about Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) as part of Mental Healers. Published in Germany in February of 1931, it is one of the earliest studies of Freud’s work by a writer outside the psychoanalytic community and is a fresh reminder of the excitement that Freud’s revolutionary approach to the psyche engendered in Zweig and his contemporaries.

Zweig had been sending his writing to Freud for feedback since the first decade of the twentieth century. Reading about himself was an ambivalent experience for Freud. In his letter of response to this essay, Freud wrote: “I could object that you overemphasize the element of petit-bourgeois rectitude in me — the fellow is a little more complicated than that!” but “I am probably not wrong in assuming that you were a stranger to psychoanalytical theory prior to the writing of this book. It is all the more to your credit, therefore, that you have absorbed so much of it since.”

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