Was that analysis the erotic echo chamber that he warned analysis always is? Who was Dorothy Burlingham, a figure that most of Sigmund’s biographers have tirelessly ignored? How did Anna manage to live a full life and become a guiding force for analysts, educators, and humanitarians, all while devoting herself to her wary father as he aged and died? Hysterical is Anna Freud’s fictional autobiography; in it she tells her full story for the first time.
After her father’s death, Anna became the de facto leader of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic movement. In her work as a psychologically informed teacher she fundamentally humanized the western world’s approach to early education. Equally impressively, she ran a home in the outskirts of London for war orphans during World War II and for child survivors of the Holocaust after war’s end. All of this, and in a time in which loathing for and pity of lesbians was de rigueur, she enjoyed a six decade domestic partnership with another woman.
2014 will see the 75th anniversary of Sigmund Freud’s death, and it will also see ongoing headlines about gay marriage.
2014 also represents the 100th anniversary of “Freudian slips” or, to be more precise, the anniversary of the English translation of Sigmund Freud’s The Psychopathology of Everyday Life. Humor and slips were part of the Freud family culture and play key roles in Hysterical.
In addition to being a novelist and science journalist, author Rebecca Coffey is a humorist. She contributes regularly to Scientific American and Discover magazines. She blogs on assorted subjects including sexuality, relationships, social media, and psychology for Psychology Today, and is frequent contributor to Vermont Public Radio’s drive-time commentary series. Her humor has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Rumpus and other literary magazines. Rebecca lives in Vermont.
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