Sigmund Freud and the History of Anna O: Reopening a Closed Case

Author(s) : Richard Skues

Sigmund Freud and the History of Anna O: Reopening a Closed Case

Book Details

  • Publisher : Palgrave
  • Published : January 2009
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 216
  • Category :
  • Catalogue No : 27991
  • ISBN 13 : 9780230224216
  • ISBN 10 : 0230224210

Also by Richard Skues

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In his published writings Sigmund Freud maintained that it was the success of Josef Breuer's treatment of the patient known as Anna O. that prepared the ground for the development of psychoanalysis. But even during Freud's lifetime rumours began to circulate suggesting that the case was not the great success that it appeared, and in the light of more recent evidence most historians of psychoanalysis today regard Breuer's treatment as a failure. Some have gone so far as to claim that because Freud knew this to be so, a fraud lies at the very foundation of psychoanalysis. In a close scrutiny of the available evidence on the outcome of the case Richard Skues argues that the widely held view of it as a failure must be rejected. Now available for the first time in paperback, this comprehensive study of the Anna O. case history therefore has major implications for the last half century of scholarship on this most celebrated of patients.

Reviews and Endorsements

'For more than fifty years, the case of Anna O. has been scrutinized by many of the most distinguished historians of psychoanalysis. Now in this meticulously researched and brilliantly argued book, Richard Skues demonstrates that almost everything that has passed for common knowledge about the case has been wrong. Skues sets a new standard for psychoanalytic scholarship, and both Josef Breuer and future generations will be permanently in his debt.'
- Peter L. Rudnytsky, Professor of English, University of Florida, USA, and Editor of American Imago

'Skues's book is a meticulous stock-taking of what can be historically verified, of the development of the established facts, of the contributions of the important authors and their respective internal integrity and tendentiousness...the book is commendable and worth reading.' Psychoanalysis and History, 10 (1), 2008
- Albrecht Hirschm├╝ller, author of "The Life and Work of Josef Breuer"

'[His] substantial thesis is elaborated by eye-opening interpretations of all known sources in their own context as well as sound reflections on the retrospective revaluation on Anna O. in the light of the emerging psychoanalysis ... What pleases most is Skues's well balanced and fair judgement on all the participants in the discourse on Anna O., enriched now and then with gentle irony.' Gesnerus. Swiss Journal of the History of Medicine and Sciences 64 (3/4), 2007
- Gerald Kreft, Edinger-Institut, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Introduction: The Changing History of a Case History
The 1882 Documents
Subsequent Evidence
The Publication of the Case Study
Freud's Account - Reconstructions
Defence and Sexuality
Transference and the Faustian Imperative
The Birth of the Legend: Ernest Jones
The Development of the Legend: Henri Ellenberger
The Maturation of the Legend: The Derivative Literature

Author Biography
RICHARD SKUES lectures in social science at London Metropolitan University, UK.

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