Sigmund Freud

Annie Lee | Aug 11, 2022

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Sigmund Freud, born on May 6, 1856 in Freiberg (Empire of Austria) and died on September 23, 1939 in London, was an Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis.

A Viennese physician, Freud met several important personalities for the development of psychoanalysis, of which he was the main theorist. His friendship with Wilhelm Fliess, his collaboration with Josef Breuer, the influence of Jean-Martin Charcot and the theories on hypnosis of the Salpêtrière School led him to rethink psychic processes. His two major discoveries were infantile sexuality and the unconscious. They led him to develop several theories of psychic instances, first in relation to the concept of the unconscious, in relation to dreams and neurosis, and then he proposed a therapy technique, the psychoanalytic cure. During his trip to America in 1909, Freud outlined the foundations of the psychoanalytic technique in his Five Lessons on Psychoanalysis. It was in the context of the treatment, as early as the Studies on Hysteria, and particularly in his first analysis of the "Dora case", that Freud gradually discovered the importance of transference.

Freud brought together a generation of psychotherapists who, step by step, developed psychoanalysis, first in Austria, Switzerland and Berlin, then in Paris, London and the United States. Despite internal splits and criticism, psychoanalysis became established as a new discipline in the human sciences in 1920. In 1938, Freud, threatened by the Nazi regime, left Vienna for exile in London, where he died of cancer of the jaw in 1939.

The term "psychoanalysis" appeared for the first time in 1896 in an article written in French, published in that language on March 30, 1896, then in German on May 15, 1896. But "both articles were sent out on the same day", February 5, 1896. Psychoanalysis is based on several hypotheses and concepts developed or taken up by Freud. "As a science, psychoanalysis is not characterized by the subject it deals with, but by the technique with which it works," he wrote in Introduction to Psychoanalysis. The technique of the cure, from 1898 in the form of the cathartic method, with Josef Breuer, and then the development of the analytical cure, is the main contribution of psychoanalysis. The hypothesis of the unconscious deepens the theorization of the psyche. Other concepts will, as time goes by, develop and make more complex the psychoanalytical theory, which Freud describes as a "science of the animal unconscious", and the knowledge on psychic and therapeutic processes.

While becoming a leading figure in the twentieth century, Sigmund Freud faced many criticisms during his lifetime, such as that of Karl Kraus, who challenged the sexual interpretation of literary works, or that of Egon Friedell, who called psychoanalysis a "Jewish pseudo-religion" and a "cult. In the 1990s in the United States, polemics in the press, known as the Freud Wars, attacked psychoanalysis through the personality of Freud. They were revived in France in the first decade of the 2000s, with Le Livre noir de la psychanalyse and Michel Onfray's essay, Le Crépuscule d'une idole. However, the strongest criticisms of Freud and psychoanalytic theory are epistemological: they concern the scientificity of psychoanalysis. Karl Popper is often quoted for his denunciation of the psychological statements of psychoanalysis, which he considers as pseudo-scientific.

In this way, the discipline created by Freud, criticized or not, holds an important place in Western culture today, if only to take into account its popularization by the cinema, while in literature, the "father of psychoanalysis" sometimes appears as a fictional character, such as The Visitor by Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt.

Freud's biographers

The story of Freud's life is the story of psychoanalysis. It has been the subject of numerous articles and biographies, the best known of which is that of Ernest Jones (The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud, 1953 to 1958), a close contemporary of Freud. The first biographer was Fritz Wittels, who published Freud: The Man, the Doctrine, the School in 1924. The writer Stefan Zweig also wrote a biography (The Healing of the Mind, 1932). Freud's physician Max Schur, who became a psychoanalyst, studied his relationship to death in the clinic and in theory, and then in the face of the illness that was to take him in 1939 (Death in the Life and Work of Freud, 1972).

Numerous contemporaries or disciples have also dedicated a biography to him, often hagiographic, such as Lou Andreas-Salomé, Thomas Mann, Siegfried Bernfield, Ola Andersson, Kurt Robert Eissler and Carl Schorske.

Didier Anzieu published in 1998, under the title L'auto-analyse de Freud et la découverte de la psychanalyse, a very detailed study of Freud's self-analysis and the creative process that followed. Marthe Robert is the author of a literary biography (Henri Ellenberger une Histoire de la découverte de l'inconscient, 1970).

Alain de Mijolla analyzes in Freud et la France, 1885-1945 (2010) the complex relations between Freud and French intellectuals until 1945, while Élisabeth Roudinesco publishes in 2014 a biographical and historical essay entitled Sigmund Freud in his time and in ours.

Childhood and studies (1856-1882)

Sigmund Freud (in German:

According to Henri Ellenberger, "Freud's life offers an example of a gradual social ascent from the lower middle class to the highest bourgeoisie. His family thus followed the tendency to assimilate that was common to most Viennese Jews. Indeed, he was not raised in strict accordance with Jewish orthodoxy. Although he was circumcised at birth, he received an education far from tradition and open to the philosophy of the Enlightenment. He spoke German, Yiddish and seemed to know Spanish through a dialect mixed with Hebrew then commonly used in the Sephardic community of Vienna, although he was himself Ashkenazi.

He spent his first three years in Freiberg, a city that his family left for Leipzig before settling permanently, in February 1860, in the Jewish district of Vienna. Freud lived there until his forced exile to London in 1938, after the Anschluss. From 1860 to 1865, the Freuds moved several times before settling in Pfeffergasse, in the Leopoldstadt district.

He received his first lessons from his mother and then from his father and was sent to a private school. At the age of nine he passed the entrance exam to the Leopoldstadt High School. He was the top of his class during his last seven years of secondary school at the local high school, the "Sperlgymnasium". His teachers were the naturalist Alois Pokorny, the historian Annaka, the teacher of Jewish religion Samuel Hammerschlag and the politician Victor von Kraus. In 1873, he passed his high school graduation exam with honors. After briefly leaning towards law under the influence of a friend, Heinrich Braun, he became more interested in a career as a zoologist after hearing Carl Brühl read a poem entitled Nature, then attributed to Goethe, at a public lecture. However, he chose medicine and enrolled at the University of Vienna in the winter of 1873. He became fascinated with Darwinian biology, "which was to serve as a model for all his work.

He obtained his medical degree on March 31, 1881 after eight years of study, instead of the expected five, during which he spent two periods in 1876 at the experimental marine zoology station in Trieste, under the responsibility of Carl Claus, and then to work from 1876 to 1882 with Ernst Wilhelm von Brücke, whose rigorous physiological theories influenced him.

In October 1876, he joined Ernst Brücke's physiological institute as an assistant physiologist, where he met Sigmund Exner and Fleischl von Marxow, and especially Josef Breuer. Freud concentrated his work on two areas: neurons (some of which are mentioned in the article "Outline of a Scientific Psychology"). According to Alain de Mijolla, Freud discovered at this time the positivist theories of Emil du Bois-Reymond, of which he became a follower, and which explained biology by physical-chemical forces whose effects were linked to a rigorous determinism.

He took advantage of his military service in 1879-1880 to begin translating the works of the philosopher John Stuart Mill and to deepen his knowledge of the theories of Charles Darwin. He attended Franz Brentano's lectures and read Theodor Gomperz's Thinkers of Greece and especially the volumes of Jacob Burckhardt's History of Greek Civilization. He passed his first examinations in June 1880 and March 1881 and graduated on March 31, 1881, becoming a temporary assistant in Brücke's laboratory. He then worked for two semesters in the chemistry laboratory of Professor Ludwig. He continued his histological research and was impressed by the demonstrations of the Danish magnetizer Carl Hansen which he attended in 1880.

On July 31, 1881 he was recruited as assistant surgeon to Theodor Billroth at the Vienna General Hospital; he only held this position for two months.

In June 1882, he set up as a practicing physician, but without much enthusiasm. There are two explanations for this. According to Freud himself, Brücke advised him to start practicing in a hospital in order to establish himself, whereas according to Siegfried Bernfeld and Ernest Jones, his biographers, it was his plans to marry that forced him to give up the pleasures of laboratory research. Sigmund Freud met Martha Bernays, from a Jewish merchant family, in June 1882, and the family conventions in force at the time forced the two fiancés to get married, especially since their financial situation was very precarious. Nevertheless, the young couple did not marry until 1886, Freud having made his alliance with Martha Bernays conditional on his obtaining a consulting room. In October 1882, he entered the surgical department of the Vienna hospital, then one of the most renowned centers in the world. After two months, he worked as an apprentice under the doctor Nothnagel until April 1883. Brücke obtained for him the title of Privat-Docent in neuropathology. On May 1, 1883, he was appointed Sekundarzt in the psychiatric department of Theodor Meynert, where he continued histological studies on the spinal cord until 1886.

From hysteria to the cathartic method (1883-1893)

In September 1883, he joined the fourth division of Dr. Scholtz. There he acquired clinical experience with nervous patients. In December of the same year, following the reading of an article by Dr. Aschenbrandt, he experiments with cocaine and deduces that it is effective against fatigue and the symptoms of neurasthenia. In his July 1884 article, "Über Coca", he advises its use for multiple disorders.

Freud, after reading a text that proposed treating morphine addiction with cocaine, treated his friend and colleague at the Physiology Laboratory Ernst Fleischl von Marxow: the latter had become a morphine addict after having resorted to morphine to calm the unbearable pain caused by a wound in his hand that had become infected and the neuroma that had developed there. Freud, who had discovered cocaine in 1884, tried to cure his friend of his morphine addiction by advising him to take cocaine, but Fleischl "sank into a cocaine addiction worse than his previous morphine addiction. He died in 1891 very deteriorated physically and mentally. The local administration of cocaine was a method used by Fliess to treat nasal affections. Didier Anzieu notes Freud's feeling of guilt linked to the person of Fleischl, whose "name assumes that of Wilhelm Fliess" and who returns in several dreams of The Interpretation of Dreams, such as "The Injection Made to Irma", the "Botanical Monograph", the dream "Non vixit"...

Although he denied it publicly on many occasions, Freud was a cocaine user between 1884 and 1895, as his correspondence attests. He worked on his discovery with Carl Koller, who was then conducting research on a means of anesthetizing the eye in order to perform minimally invasive operations. He then informed Leopold Königstein who applied this method to surgery. Both of them communicated their discovery to the Society of Physicians of Vienna in 1884, without mentioning the primacy of Freud's work.

The young doctor was then assigned to the ophthalmology department from March to May 1884, then to the dermatology department. He wrote an article on the auditory nerve which was well received. In June, he took the oral examination for the position of Privat-docent and presented his last article. He was appointed on July 18, 1885 and, having been accepted for a travel grant, he decided to continue his training in Paris, in Jean-Martin Charcot's department at the Salpêtrière Hospital. After a six-week vacation with his fiancée, Freud moved to Paris. An admirer of the French neurologist, whom he met for the first time on October 20, 1885, he offered to translate his writings into German. From then on, Charcot noticed him and invited him to his sumptuous parties in the Faubourg Saint-Germain. However, it seems that Freud did not spend as much time with Charcot as he said he did, since he left Paris on February 28, 1886; nevertheless, he was still proud of his stay in Paris and made it a key moment of his life. He also remained in contact with Charcot by letter.

In March 1886, Freud studied pediatrics in Berlin with the pediatrician Alfred Baginsky and finally returned to Vienna in April. He opened a practice on Rathausstrasse where he set up as a private doctor. He also worked three afternoons a week as a neurologist at the Steindlgasse Clinic at the "Erste Öffentliche Kinder-Krankeninstitut" ("First Public Institute for Sick Children") headed by Professor Max Kassowitz. From 1886 to 1896 he worked in the neurological department of the Max Kassowitz Institute, a private children's hospital. He wrote his report on hypnotism, as practiced by the Salpetriere School, to the members of the Physiology Club and the Psychiatric Society, while making arrangements for his wedding. An article by Albrecht Erlenmeyer strongly criticizes him for the dangers of using cocaine. Freud finishes translating a volume of Charcot's lessons, which is published in July 1886 and for which he writes the preface. After a few months of military service in Olmütz as a battalion doctor, Freud married Martha Bernays in September 1886 in Wandsbek; they spent their honeymoon on the Baltic Sea.

On October 15, 1886, before the Society of Physicians of Vienna, Freud gave a speech concerning male hysteria, a speech published under the title "Beiträge zur Kasuistik der Hysterie". This theme was polemical at the time, especially since Charcot's classical conception opposed post-traumatic hysteria to a so-called simulated hysteria. Relying on the distinction between "great hysteria" (characterized by convulsions and hemianesthesia) and "little hysteria", and on a practical case examined at the Salpêtrière, Freud explains that male hysteria is more frequent than what specialists usually observe. For Freud, traumatic neurosis belongs to the field of male hysteria. The Society protests against this opinion which is, moreover, already known to the Viennese neurologists. According to Ellenberger, Freud's idealization of Charcot earned him the irritation of the Society, annoyed by his haughty attitude. Wounded, Freud presented a case of male hysteria to the Society in order to support his theory. The Society heard him again, but rejected him. Contrary to a certain legend surrounding this event, Freud did not withdraw from the Society; he even became a member on March 18, 1887.

That year, he met Wilhelm Fliess, a Berlin physician who was researching physiology and bisexuality, with whom he maintained a friendly scientific correspondence. In addition, the Freud family accumulated debts, as the medical practice did not attract an abundance of clients. In addition, Meynert fell out with Freud in 1889 over Charcot's theory. In 1889, Freud said he was very lonely; he could only really communicate with his friends Josef Breuer and Jean Leguirec. He wrote: "I was totally isolated. In Vienna they avoided me, abroad they were not interested in me. Freud and Martha had six children: Mathilde (1887-1978), Jean-Martin (1889-1967), Oliver (1891-1969), Ernst (1892-1970), Sophie (1893-1920) and Anna Freud (1895-1982).

From this moment on, Freud's thinking evolved: his frequentation of Bernheim's school in 1889 turned him away from Charcot. Freud spoke out against a materialistic interpretation of hypnosis, which he defended against the denigration of which it was the object by his opponents: he translated Hippolyte Bernheim's work, De la suggestion et des applications thérapeutiques (On Suggestion and Therapeutic Applications) and discussed the technique of hypnosis. He went to Nancy, to Bernheim's school, and met Ambroise-Auguste Liébeault in 1889 to confirm his opinion on hypnosis. He learned that hysterics retained a form of lucidity towards their symptoms, a knowledge that could be mobilized by the intervention of a third party, an idea that he later took up in his conception of the unconscious, but he concluded that hypnosis had little effectiveness in the general treatment of pathological cases. He sensed that the patient's past must play a role in understanding the symptoms. He prefers the "talking cure" of his friend Breuer. After this visit, he participated in the International Congress of Psychology in Paris in July.

In 1891, Freud published his work on unilateral cerebral palsy in children, in collaboration with Oscar Rie, a Viennese pediatrician. He then worked on his critical study of the theories on aphasia, Contribution à la conception des aphasies. His distance from Charcot's thought is maximal; he sketches a "language apparatus" allowing to account for the disorders of the language function, and starts to introduce on the occasion of this study his distinctive notion of "word representation" and "thing representation". This model prefigures the "psychic apparatus" of the first topic. In 1892, he published his translation of Bernheim's work under the title Hypnotism, Suggestion, Psychotherapy: New Studies, and he presented a conception close to Charcot's to the Viennese Medical Club.

In 1893, Freud published several articles on hysteria in collaboration with Josef Breuer and in particular the essay The Psychic Mechanism of Hysterical Phenomena (Preliminary Communication.). He defended the neurotic conception of hysteria, while proposing "a therapeutic method based on the notions of catharsis and abreaction. In 1894, with his article "Neuropsychoses of Defense," he focuses on phobia. He suffers from cardiac symptoms and stops smoking. While treating the hysteria of a patient named "Emma", Freud, influenced by Fliess' theory of bisexuality, asks him to operate on the young woman's nose, because he thinks that her neurosis is linked to it. But Fliess forgets the iodoformed gauze in the patient's nose. Freud then had a striking dream (the dream known as "The Injection Made to Irma") that he linked to this incident and undertook to analyze its meaning by means of the method of free association; "this study was to become the prototype of all dream analysis.

The invention of psychoanalysis: from hypnosis to the psychoanalytic cure (1893-1905)

Before his discovery of infantile sexuality, Freud professed in the years 1895-1897 the theory of seduction, according to which the cause of psychoneuroses (hysteria and obsessive neurosis) is a sexual seduction of which the patient was a victim before puberty. Freud's abandonment of his neurotica (Letter to Wilhelm Fliess, September 21, 1897) - as he also called his first theory - has given rise to an abundant literature. It is usual to consider this abandonment as one of the founding moments of the construction of psychoanalytic theory and the abandonment of the neurological model.

In the 1924 note to the New Remarks on Defense Psychoneuroses (1896), Freud however goes "directly from the theory of seduction to infantile sexuality", the logic of the theory of seduction leading, according to Yvon Brès, to the theory of pregenital sexuality "even more directly than with the discovery of the Oedipus complex, because the very notion of a pregenital sexual pleasure is almost clearly included" (in the little girl and especially in the little boy "future obsessionals).

In 1895, Josef Breuer and Freud published their Studies on Hysteria, which brought together the cases treated since 1893, including that of Anna O. This patient of Breuer's, whose real name was Bertha Pappenheim, is presented as a typical example of a cathartic cure. Before becoming the psychoanalytic cure in the strict sense of the word, Freud had to abandon suggestion and hypnosis, and then Breuer's cathartic method, and take into account the transference, i.e. the revival of the patient's repressed childhood impulsive emotions, which are displaced and addressed to the analyst. It is indeed the transference that puts Freud on the path of a new approach, the revival of repressed childhood experiences that animates the transference informing on the nature of the psychic conflict in which the patient is caught.

In 1896, considering that his theory had the right to be cited in psychology, Freud named it "psychoanalysis", but the sexual factor was not yet predominant in it. Composed of the Greek ana (which designates "going back to the original", the elemental), and lysis (the "dissolution"), the term designates from the start the search for archaic memories in connection with the symptoms. From then on, Freud broke with Breuer, who remained faithful to the cathartic cure, and wrote an essay that had not been published before: Outline of a Scientific Psychology. In another article, written in French: "L'hérédité et l'étiologie des névroses" (Heredity and the Etiology of Neuroses), in 1896, he explains his new conception. Finally, he wrote "Zur Äthiologie der Hysterie" ("The Etiology of Hysteria"). In both articles, the word "psychoanalysis" appears for the first time in Freud's writings.

On May 2, 1896, before the Viennese Psychiatric Society, presided over by Hermann Nothnagel and Krafft-Ebing, he was awarded the title of "Extraordinarius. At the International Congress of Psychology in Munich in August 1896, Freud's name was cited among the most competent authorities in the field, while in 1897 Albert Willem Van Renterghem, a Dutch psychiatrist, cited him as one of the figures of the Nancy School.

After his father's death on October 23, 1896, Freud became exclusively interested in analyzing his dreams and "delving into his past. Feeling guilty about his father, he undertook a self-analysis. He says that he is trying to analyze his "little hysteria" and that he wants to uncover the nature of the psychological apparatus and of neurosis, and after abandoning his theory of hysteria, his childhood memories come flooding in. The memory of his nanny allowed him to develop the notion of "screen memory", for example, while he saw in the feelings of love for his mother and in his jealousy for his father a universal structure that he linked to the story of Oedipus and Hamlet. His analyses of patients provided him with arguments for the construction of a new conception, which allowed him to review both hysteria and obsessions. The correspondence with Fliess testifies to this evolution of his thought; it is notably in a letter of October 15, 1897 that Freud evokes for the first time the "Greek legend" of Oedipus. The Viennese neurologist explains: "I found in myself as elsewhere feelings of love towards my mother and jealousy towards my father, feelings that are, I think, common to all young children".

He announced to Fliess, at the beginning of 1898, that he intended to publish a work on the analysis of dreams, and, after a period of depression, he published The Interpretation of Dreams ("Die Traumdeutung"). This is an "autobiographical" work in that Freud bases it in part on material from his own dreams. This period of self-analysis mixed with neurosis is, according to Henri Ellenberger, characteristic of the "creative illness", a phase of depression and intense work that allowed Freud to develop psychoanalysis by overcoming his personal problems. In November 1898, Freud addressed the sexually dominant infantile phases in his work "Die Sexualität in der Ätiologie der Neurosen" (Sexuality in the Etiology of Neuroses). In this work, Freud uses the term "psychoneurosis" delimited from "neurasthenia".

His social and financial situation improved; from 1899 to 1900 he was an assessor of the Royal Society of London in psychiatry and neurology for the journal "Jahrbuch für Psychiatrie und Neurologie". He also worked intensively on his research and described himself as a "conquistador". He enjoyed a lucrative clientele and was recognized by Viennese society. In September 1901, he felt able to visit Rome with his brother Alexander. The "Eternal City" had "always fascinated him" and Freud, because of his phobia of travel, had always postponed his visit to Italy. In Rome, he was "impressed" by Michelangelo's Moses. A few years later, in 1914, he anonymously published an essay in the journal Imago entitled "Der Moses des Michelangelo" ("Michelangelo's Moses"), in which he contrasts the two figures, the historical and the mythical, of the liberator of the Jewish people, Moses.

During a visit to Dubrovnik (then Ragusa), Freud assumed that the psychic mechanism of the slip of the tongue was indicative of an unconscious complex. In the same year, two Swiss psychiatrists, Carl Gustav Jung and Ludwig Binswanger from Zurich, joined the nascent psychoanalysis and, thanks to the "Zurich School", the movement grew in Europe and the United States. Earlier, in 1901, Eugen Bleuler, with whom Freud began a correspondence, was extremely impressed by The Interpretation of Dreams. He asked his second in command, Jung, to present the work to the psychiatric team at the Burghölzi. Switzerland thus became an important ally in the development of the psychoanalytical movement, and this as early as 1900.

Back in Vienna, Freud broke off all exchanges with Fliess in 1902. He then presented his scientific opinions at several conferences, first to the "Doktorenkollegium" of Vienna, then to the B'nai B'rith, a circle of secular Jews of which he had become a member in 1897; they were well received. In the autumn of 1902, on the initiative of Wilhelm Stekel, Freud gathered around him a group of interested parties, which took the name of "Psychologische Mittwoch Gesellschaft" ("Psychological Wednesday Society") and which, every Wednesday, discussed psychoanalysis. According to Ellenberger, from this date on, Freud's life merges with the history of the psychoanalytic movement. In France, his work was mentioned at the Congress of Alienist and Neurologist Physicians in Grenoble that same year.

In 1901, he publishes Psychopathology of Daily Life. In September, he became close to Eugen Bleuler in Zurich, and their scientific correspondence increased. Freud's treatments based on these hypotheses had already led him to discover that not all of his patients had suffered real sexual trauma in their childhood: they evoked fantasies and told a "family story" in which they believed. At the same time, he discovered that some patients seemed unable to heal. They resisted by repeating and transposing old feelings to the analyst: a mechanism that Freud called the "transference" which he still saw, and essentially, as an obstacle to healing.

In 1909, Freud spoke "about psychoanalysis" (Über Psychoanalyse) for the first time publicly in the United States, where he was invited by Stanley Hall to hold a series of lectures at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, along with Carl Gustav Jung, Ernest Jones and Sándor Ferenczi. Freud and Jung are honored with the title of "LL. D. ". It was at this point that he explicitly designated Jung as his "successor and crown prince. Freud then declared that the merit of the invention of psychoanalysis belonged to Josef Breuer, but he later specified that he considered Breuer's "cathartic process" to be a preliminary phase to the invention of psychoanalysis and that he was the inventor of psychoanalysis from the rejection of hypnosis and the introduction of free association.

The psychoanalytic institution (1905-1920)

In 1905, he published Three Essays on Sexual Theory, which brings together his hypotheses on the place of sexuality and its future in the development of the personality. Infantile sexuality constitutes an important element of psychoanalysis. He also published Fragment of an Analysis of Hysteria, which is an account of the case of Ida Bauer, which illustrates the concept of psychoanalytic transference.

According to Ellenberger, Ilse Bry or Alfred H. Rifkin, Freud's ideas were well received. For Ernest Jones and, later, Jean-Luc Donnet, the opposite is true. Donnet points out that the violent rejection of psychoanalysis by doctors and especially by psychiatrists is one of the causes of the fact that Freud was so pleased with Eugen Bleuler's rallying to psychoanalysis and, in fact, it was in Zurich that psychoanalysis first gained a foothold in psychiatry. France showed itself to be resistant to psychoanalysis from the start. Elsewhere, the success of Freud's works was important, but unequal according to the country; for example, he was read in translation as early as the 1900s, in Russian. The first works of Freud's disciples also appeared: Otto Rank, aged 21, gave him the manuscript of his psychoanalytical essay "Der Künstler".)

In 1906, he became interested in The Gradiva, a short story by the German writer Wilhelm Jensen, and wrote an essay, Delirium and Dreams in Jensen's "Gradiva," in which he applied psychoanalytic principles to creative writing, studying the links between psychoanalysis and archaeology. In the same year, he had a definitive disagreement with Wilhelm Fliess, who later wrote a pamphlet, For My Own Cause, in which he accused Freud of having stolen his ideas.

In March 1907, Freud's isolation ceases for good. The nascent group of psychoanalysts tries to create a collection entitled "Écrits de psychologie appliquée" (Writings on Applied Psychology) published by Deuticke. Freud, director of the publication, published The Delirium and Dreams in the Gradiva of Wilhelm Jensen. In the same year, he wrote Obsessive Acts and Religious Exercises, in which he addressed the subject of religion: he assumed that there was a connection between obsessive neurosis and religious exercises. In 1908, the small group around Freud became the Viennese Psychoanalytic Society and, in August, Karl Abraham founded the Berlin Psychoanalytic Society. The following year, the first psychoanalytic journal published their work; it was called "Jahrbuch für psychoanalytische und psychopathologische Forschungen", often abbreviated to "Jahrbuch", with Bleuler and Freud as directors and Jung as editor-in-chief. Freud inaugurates this journal with the publication of the case of little Hans.

In 1910, the "Über Psychoanalyse: Fünf Vorlesungen" (Five Lessons on Psychoanalysis), delivered the previous year at Clark University, were published, in which Freud explained "the basis of the psychoanalytic technique". Freud also later questioned the nature of psychoanalytic practice in an essay, "Über "wilde" Psychoanalyse" (About "wild" psychoanalysis or "lay analysis"). The year 1910 marked a peak in the history of psychoanalysis and in Freud's life; at the second International Congress in Nuremberg organized by Jung, on March 30 and 31, the "Internationale Psychoanalytische Vereinigung" (International Psychoanalytical Association, "IPA") was created, with Carl Gustav Jung as its first president, as well as a second journal, the "Zentralblatt für Psychoanalyse, Medizinische Monatsschrift für Seelenkunde. The IPA brought together local groups under its aegis (its aim was to defend the cohesion of the psychoanalytic movement). A patient of Jung's with whom the latter had acted out, Sabina Spielrein, put him on the path of the theorization of the love transference towards the analyst, as well as of the counter-transference (of the analyst towards the patient) and which Freud integrated into his theory.

During his vacation in the Netherlands in 1910, Freud analyzed the composer Gustav Mahler during an afternoon walk through the city. Freud then travels to Paris, Rome and Naples, in the company of Ferenczi. The nascent psychoanalysis encounters its first major opposition: in October, responding to Oppenheim's appeal at the Berlin Congress of Neurology, the German doctors of Hamburg blacklist the practice of psychoanalysis in the local sanatoriums. On April 26, 1924, the first International Congress of Psychoanalysis in Salzburg brought together 42 members. Freud presents his "Bemerkungen über einen Fall von Zwangsneurose" (Remarks on a case of obsessional neurosis).

Freud published "Eine Kindheitserinnerung des Leonardo da Vinci" (A Childhood Memory of Leonardo da Vinci) in 1910, in which the concepts of "narcissism" and "sublimation" appear for the first time. He also examined the psychic reasons for creativity. In the same year, psychoanalysis was the target of new criticism from certain medical circles. In addition, the first schisms within the field were emerging. Freud's opposition to Jung's theory, which in 1914 became "analytical psychology", occupied him during these years. Also in 1910, Freud, in a text entitled "The psychogenic disorder of vision in the psychoanalytical conception", formulated for the first time a drive dualism: the "sexual drives" were opposed to the "drives of self-preservation". This dualism prefigures, in the context of tension that Europe knew before the First World War, the updating of the life and death drives (which occurred in 1920).

In 1911, Freud wrote a text known as "President Schreber" but later entitled "Psychoanalytical Remarks on an Autobiographically Described Case of Paranoia (Dementia paranoides)". Freud recounts the analysis of the lawyer and politician Daniel Paul Schreber. He also published a short metapsychological text: "Formulierungen über die zwei Prinzipien des psychischen Geschehens" (Formulations on the two principles of the course of psychic events) in which he describes the pleasure principle and the reality principle.

The direction of the journals and theoretical work of the International Psychoanalytical Association, as well as that of the seminars, occupied Freud during this period, all the more so because among those who worked with him, rivalries arose as well as theoretical dissensions that he fought when they called into question the roles of infantile sexuality and the Oedipus complex, as did those of Jung, Adler and Rank. Thus, he refused Alfred Adler's emphasis on aggressiveness, because he considered that this introduction came at the price of reducing the importance of sexuality. He also rejected the hypothesis of the collective unconscious to the detriment of the drives of the ego and the individual unconscious, and the non-exclusivity of sexual drives in the libido proposed by Carl Gustav Jung. In June 1911, Alfred Adler was the first to leave Freud to found his own theory. The following year, it was Wilhelm Stekel's turn, while in 1913, in September, Freud fell out with Carl Gustav Jung, who was announced as his "successor".

In 1913, "Totem und Tabu" (Totem and Taboo) allowed Freud to present the social significance of psychoanalysis. Secretly, since 1912, on the idea of Ernest Jones, Freud gathered around him a small committee of loyal supporters (Karl Abraham, Hanns Sachs, Otto Rank, Sandor Ferenczi, Ernest Jones, Anton von Freund and Max Eitingon) under the name of "Die Sache" (the "Cause") until 1929. Each member received from Freud a Greek intaglio from his private collection, which he wore on a gold ring. After the First World War, in 1924, the Freudian psychoanalytic movement saw the departure of Otto Rank and in 1929 that of Sandor Ferenczi.

During the war, Freud practiced little. In 1916, he wrote his university courses, collected under the title "Vorlesungen zur Einführung in die Psychoanalyse" (Introduction to psychoanalysis). The fate of his sons at the front preoccupies him. The war also paralyzed the extension of the psychoanalytic movement; indeed, the Dresden congress, planned for 1914, did not take place. In 1915, he began to write a new description of the psychic apparatus, of which he kept only a few chapters. What he was preparing was in fact a new conception of the psychic topica. In the same year, he is nominated for the Nobel Prize by the Viennese physician Robert Bárány. Freud published "Trauer und Melancholie" (Mourning and Melancholy) in 1917. Helene Deutsch, Magnus Hirschfeld and later Sigmund Freud write about women fighters. In January 1920, he was appointed "ordinary professor" (ordentlicher Professor or Ordinarius). From 1920 onwards, as the political and economic context improved, Freud published in turn: "Jenseits des Lustprinzips" (Beyond the Pleasure Principle, 1920), which introduces, through a new drive dualism, aggressive drives, necessary to explain certain intra-psychic conflicts, and "Massenpsychologie und Ich-Analyse" (Psychology of the Masses and Analysis of the Ego, 1921), which adds to Le Bon's problematic the relationship between individual psyche and collective behavior. During the war years, Freud worked on a metapsychology that would allow him to describe the unconscious processes from a triple angle: dynamic (in their relations to each other), topical (in their functions within the psyche) and economic (in their use of the libido).

In 1920, Freud elaborated the second topica of the psychic apparatus composed of the Ego, the id and the superego. It is superimposed on the first one (unconscious, preconscious, conscious). The development of the personality and the dynamics of conflicts are then interpreted as defenses of the Ego against drives and affects, rather than as conflicts of drives; the drives in question are those of death. Ambivalence and rage were perceived in the first topica as consecutive to frustration and subordinated to sexuality. Freud thus completes his theory with a new drive dualism, composed of two types of antagonistic drives: the life drive (Eros) and the death drive (which he always refrains from calling Thanatos). More fundamental than the life drives, the death drives tend to reduce tensions (return to the inorganic, repetition that attenuates tension) and are only perceptible by their projection outside (paranoia), their entanglement with the libidinal drives (sadism, masochism) or their turning against the ego (melancholy). Freud defends a double vision of the mind.

Extension of psychoanalysis and last years (1920-1939)

During the world conflict, Freud was able to measure the effects of traumatic neurosis in his son-in-law and to see the impact of this pathology in a family. He thus had direct knowledge of these disorders and indirect knowledge from disciples who were close to Julius Wagner-Jauregg's clinic, such as Victor Tausk, or who had worked there during the war, such as Helene Deutsch. In October 1920, the professor of forensic medicine, Alexander Löffler, invited Freud to testify before a forensic commission on wartime neuroses and treatment practices. He opposed Julius Wagner-Jauregg, who claimed that patients suffering from war neurosis were malingerers. Then, from September 8 to 11, the 5th Congress of the IPA is held in The Hague, chaired by Ernest Jones. Freud intervenes by reading "Ergänzungen zur Traumlehre" (Supplements to the theory of dreams). On the other hand, the creation of a secret committee was decided upon, with Jones as coordinator.

Psychoanalysis developed particularly in Great Britain and Germany. Max Eitingon and Ernst Simmel created a psychoanalytic polyclinic in Berlin, while Hugh Crichton-Miller founded the Tavistock Clinic in London.

The first translation of a text by Freud in France, Introduction to Psychoanalysis, by Samuel Jankélévitch, is published in 1922. The psychoanalytic movement acquires a psychoanalytic clinic in Vienna, the "Ambulatorium" (outpatient clinic), dedicated to the treatment of psychoses and directed by three of Freud's students, who only participate a little: Helene Deutsch, Paul Federn and Eduard Hitschmann. In 1923, Freud learned that he had cancer of the jaw, which caused him to suffer for the rest of his life. That same year, he chose to undergo a vasectomy in order, he hoped, to better fight his cancer. He wrote The Ego and the Id at a time when the psychoanalytic movement was gaining international recognition, particularly in England and the United States. He thought of compiling a complete edition of his writings, the "Gesammelten Schriften".

The Salzburg Congress in 1924 took place in Freud's absence. That same year, Otto Rank left the movement. In England, the members of the British Psychoanalytical Society, refounded in 1919 by Ernest Jones, created the Institute of Psychoanalysis.

The following year, 1925, Freud writes Inhibition, Symptoms and Anxiety as well as an autobiographical sketch. The 9th Congress of the International Association is held from September 2 to 5 in Bad-Homburg. Anna Freud reads her father's text: "Einige psychische Folgen des anatomischen Geschlechtsunterschieds" (Some Psychological Consequences of the Anatomical Difference between the Sexes). Freud was unable to travel because of his illness. In 1925 he met Princess Marie Bonaparte, grand-niece of Napoleon, whom he took into analysis and who became his friend. Later, she translated most of his texts in France.

Freud remains the leader of psychoanalysis, whose evolution he guides. His last written reflections are devoted to studying and strengthening psychoanalysis on a theoretical and clinical level. In his article "Psychoanalysis and Medicine" (1925), he invites non-practitioners to use psychoanalysis. In this regard, he speaks of "lay" or "profane" psychoanalysis, i.e., practiced by analysts who are not physicians. He also returns to the evolution of his thought in his autobiography. In 1927, his daughter Anna published "Einführung in die Technik der Kinderanalyse" (Introduction to Child Psychology, a text read and approved by her father).

In the last years of his life, Freud tried to extrapolate psychoanalytic concepts to the understanding of anthropology and culture. His pessimistic vision of the human species was exacerbated, especially after the dissolution of the secret committee formed by Ernest Jones, as a result of inheritance quarrels, jealousies and internal rivalries. He therefore wrote a number of texts in this sense, in particular on religion as an illusion or neurosis. In 1927, he published "Die Zukunft einer Illusion" (The Future of an Illusion), which deals with religion from a psychoanalytical and materialist perspective. In 1930, he published "Das Unbehagen in der Kultur" (Unrest in Civilization) in which Freud describes a process of civilization that is a reproduction on a larger scale of the process of individual psychic evolution.

Not considering himself a writer, Freud was surprised to receive the Goethe Prize from the city of Frankfurt in August 1930. The following year, he returned to his hometown of Freiberg for a ceremony in his honor. In a letter dated January 3, the writer Thomas Mann apologizes to Freud for having been slow to understand the value of psychoanalysis. In 1932, Freud works on a book of lectures to an imaginary audience, "Neue Folge der Vorlesungen zur Einführung in die Psychoanalyse" (New Lectures on Introduction to Psychoanalysis).

In the same year, he published, in collaboration with the physicist Albert Einstein, their thoughts on war and civilization, based on their correspondence, in an essay entitled "Warum Krieg" (Why War?). In Vienna, Thomas Mann, on May 8, 1936, gave a public eulogy and support to Freud (entitled "Freud und die Zukunft": "Freud and the future") in which he explained: "Freud renders his thought as an artist, like Schopenhauer; he is, like him, a European writer", justifying with this speech the awarding of the Goethe Prize in Frankfurt to the inventor of psychoanalysis. Freud and Thomas Mann had been friends since the publication by the writer of Freud and Modern Thought (1929) and Knight between Death and the Devil (1931). About Freud's last work, "Der Mann Moses und die monotheistische Religion" (Moses and monotheism, 1936), Jacques Le Rider explains that he "invented a Jewish tradition of liberalism and the scientific spirit".

In May 1933, Freud's works were burned in Germany during the Nazi auto-da-fé. He refused to go into exile until March 1938, when the Germans entered Vienna (Anschluss, March 12). The Vienna Psychoanalytical Society then decided that every Jewish analyst should leave the country and that the headquarters of the organization should be transferred to where Freud lived. Freud finally decided to go into exile when his daughter Anna was arrested for one day by the Gestapo on March 22. Thanks to the intervention of the American ambassador William C. Bullitt and a new ransom paid by Marie Bonaparte, Freud obtained a visa valid for sixteen people and was able to leave Vienna on the Orient-Express with his wife, his daughter Anna and the maid Paula Fichtl on June 4. As he was leaving, he signed a declaration stating that he had not been mistreated: "I, the undersigned, Professor Freud hereby declare that since the annexation of Austria by the German Reich, I have been treated with all the respect and consideration due to my reputation as a scientist by the German authorities and in particular by the Gestapo and that I have been able to live and work enjoying full freedom; I have also been able to pursue the exercise of my activities in the manner I wished and that for this purpose I have met with the full support of the persons concerned, I have no cause to make the slightest complaint.  " According to his son Martin, he added, ironically: "I can cordially recommend the Gestapo to all. For Michel Onfray, this is a "myth" and a hagiographic legend. In order to leave Austria, Freud also benefited from the support of Anton Sauerwald, the Nazi commissioner in charge of taking control of his person and property: a former student of Josef Herzig, a teacher and friend of Freud's, Sauerwald facilitated the departure of Freud and his family to London, where he later visited him. Freud was sometimes criticized for not having included the names of his sisters on the list of sixteen people authorized to leave Austria, including his doctor, his doctor's family, his nurses and his maid. These sisters, Rosa, Marie, Adolfina and Paula, who were already elderly and did not feel threatened by their age, did not want to leave, but they were deported and died in concentration camps.

The Freud family moved first to Paris, where Freud was welcomed by Marie Bonaparte and her husband, George of Greece, and then to London, where they were received with great honor, especially by the American ambassador William Bullit, whom Freud had known for some years when the two men had worked together on a study of the American president Woodrow Wilson entitled "Woodrow Wilson: A Psychological Study" (published in 1966). Freud and his family moved into a house at 20 Maresfield Gardens in the London Borough of Hampstead. He is appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. Freud receives the appointment at home, unable to move about, weakened by his cancer and thirty-two successive operations and treatments.

Freud died at his London home on September 23, 1939, at 3 a.m. of Ackerman's warty carcinoma, at the age of 83. At his request, and with Anna Freud's consent, Max Schur, his personal physician, injected him with a large, probably lethal, dose of morphine. He was cremated in Golders Green Cemetery and tributes were paid to him by Ernest Jones, on behalf of the International Psychoanalytical Association, and by the writer Stefan Zweig on September 26. After Anna Freud's death in 1982, the Freud house in Maresfield Gardens was transformed into a museum. In 2002, a blue plaque was placed on the front of the museum.

The psychoanalytic movement

Psychoanalysis - the idea of which has evolved from its beginnings in 1896 to the last statements from Freud's pen in 1930 - has three meanings according to Paul-Laurent Assoun, who takes them from Freud's 1922 article Psychoanalysis and Theory of the Libido. The term designates first of all a certain method of investigation of the unconscious psyche, but also a method of treatment (the psychoanalytic cure), and, more generally, a global psychological conception touching the vision of man himself. According to Lydia Flem, psychoanalyst and writer: "By the triple way of the personal, the pathological and the cultural, it is of the unknowing of the human soul that it seeks to become the interpreter". The psychoanalytical movement also represents the corpus of theories resulting from the analytical experience, participating in the conceptualization of the psychic apparatus and developed since Freud. This psychoanalytical theory (which is called psychodynamic orientation, within the psychological discipline) is based first of all on Freud's research and on the major concepts that he created such as the "unconscious", "transference", "repetition" and "drive". From the point of view of its method of approach, its object being the unconscious, psychoanalysis is a discipline centered on observation and not on experimentation; it is therefore a "phenomenal science" attached to medicine and psychiatry, but possessing a relative autonomy from them.

Since his first founding writings, Freud has considered that the scientificity of psychoanalysis rests on its object: the unconscious. However, most of the critics of psychoanalysis contest this qualification of scientificity. Yet, according to Paul-Laurent Assoun, it is a collection of knowledge and research that has reached a sufficient degree of unity and generality, and is therefore capable of founding "a consensus on objective relationships that are gradually discovered and confirmed by defined methods of verification." Psychoanalysis is therefore considered by Freudians to be a science of nature because it is based on fundamental concepts, notably that of drive (Trieb). Finally, psychoanalysis rejects all metaphysics.

With his conception of the unconscious, Freud allowed an understanding of neurosis and, beyond, of the psyche. The historical works of Ernest Jones and, more recently, of Henri Ellenberger show, however, that the concept of the "unconscious" predates Freud, but specify that the latter is a precursor in the way he theorizes it, first in his first topical theory, then in the second. Marcel Gauchet, in L'Inconscient cérébral (1999) evokes Freud's "revolutionary" idea of a "dynamic unconscious". The psychoanalytical movement developed first in reference to Freud and his close supporters, then in opposition to his detractors, both internal (Carl Gustav Jung, Alfred Adler and Otto Rank among the main ones) and external with, among others, Pierre Janet and certain doctors and

Since 1967, the psychoanalysts of the "third generation" have established a historical and epistemological return on this movement. In the Vocabulary of Psychoanalysis, Jean Laplanche and Jean-Bertrand Pontalis isolate about 90 strictly Freudian concepts within a contemporary psychoanalytic vocabulary composed of 430 terms, while Alain de Mijolla draws up a precise chronological panorama. Freud's pioneering work had an impact on other disciplines: on psychology in the first place, but also on the nosography of mental disorders, on psychopathology, on the helping relationship, on psychiatry, on education, on sociology, on neurology and on literature. On a more general level, Freud is also considered by some psychoanalysts (such as Wilhelm Reich or André Green, Françoise Dolto and Daniel Lagache later on) as the one who gave voice to sexuality, and in particular female sexuality, a subject that had been scorned by many doctors until then.

After Freud's death (but also during his lifetime), several psychoanalytical schools had often polemical relationships with each other, depending on the postulates adopted and national specificities. Two types of currents can be distinguished: those known as "orthodox", close to Freudism, and those that deviate from it on fundamental points: the "heterodox" currents. Several theoretical points will constitute areas of division. Thus, during the Second World War, the question of group analysis developed, with analysts such as Wilfred Bion, who developed his own conception. Moreover, it was in England that, from 1942 onwards, the theoretical-clinical dissensions between Melanie Klein, Anna Freud and the Group of Independents took place, on several subjects. The International Psychoanalytical Association brings together orthodox Freudian psychoanalysts.

In France, for example, the Paris Psychoanalytical Society relayed psychoanalysis, essentially Freudian, Kleinian and Winnicottian, according to the orientations of its members. The Lacanian current, however, deviated from it, until it broke off in the 1950s, particularly with regard to the Lacanian axiom according to which "the unconscious is structured as a language" and above all with regard to the methods of training psychoanalysts which, for Lacan and his followers, differed radically from those of the I.P.A. and its affiliated associations. If Lacan was in opposition to the IPA, he should not be seen as being in opposition to Freud: witness his "return to Freud" and this comment by Jean-Michel Rabaté: "Just as Althusser wondered how to read Marx in a "symptomatic" way, separating what is authentically "Marxist" from what is purely "Hegelian" in his writings, Lacan wonders where and how to locate the texts where Freud shows himself to be authentically "Freudian"."

With the immigration of many psychoanalysts from Europe before, during and after the war, psychoanalysis became very important in the United States, with the American Psychoanalytic Association or Self-psychology. There was also ego-psychology and totally autonomous currents, resulting from successive schisms: those of Alfred Adler, Otto Rank, Wilhelm Reich and Carl Gustav Jung. Finally, many contemporary psychoanalysts, such as Sándor Ferenczi or Donald Winnicott, developed and propagated their vision of Freudian conceptions, such as those of the "marginal nebula" according to Paul Bercherie, or those with more individual thought such as: Juliette Favez-Boutonier, Daniel Lagache, Françoise Dolto, André Green or Didier Anzieu.

In an article entitled The Interest of Psychoanalysis (Das Interesse an der Psychoanalyse, 1913) published simultaneously in German and French in Bologna in Scientia, "an international journal of scientific synthesis", it appears that "it is less a question for Freud of listing the various possible fields of application of psychoanalysis than of approaching it from the point of view of the 'many fields of knowledge for which it is interesting'". Apart from its interest for psychology (presented in the first part), the second part of the essay shows the interest of psychoanalysis "for the non-psychological sciences". In this second part, "the most original", according to Alain de Mijolla, it is thus a question of the interest that psychoanalysis can have for other disciplines such as the "sciences of language", philosophy, biology, "history of development", "history of civilization", aesthetics, sociology and pedagogy.

Psychoanalysis has had a profound influence on most of the human sciences: on ethnology (with Géza Róheim and ethnopsychoanalysis), on anthropology and legal sciences (with the jurist Pierre Legendre), on Marxism (through Freudo-Marxism and with Herbert Marcuse) and on political sciences. The philosophy of the twentieth century was able to feed on the contributions of psychoanalysis according to Paul-Laurent Assoun and this through personalities such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida, Félix Guattari, René Girard, Jean-François Lyotard or Michel de Certeau. The sociologist Norbert Elias, while distancing himself from the movement of the psychoanalysts, recognizes the progress of Freud, who proposes, according to him, "the clearest and most advanced model of the human person". The philosopher Paul Ricoeur places him at the sides of Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche as being one of the three great "masters of suspicion", those who induced the doubt in the classical philosophical conception of the subject.

The psychoanalytical study of the question of psychosomatics is also important in medicine with, for example, the contributions of Franz Alexander and those of Michael Balint in England: the "Balint Groups" are led by psychoanalysts, for doctors, and in relation to the practices of the latter, based on case studies. In France, Pierre Marty, Michel Fain and Michel de M'Uzan for somatic affections, Françoise Dolto for pediatrics and Didier Anzieu for groups are examples of applications of psychoanalysis outside the field of the typical cure. In art, André Breton's surrealism claimed to be based on psychoanalysis. The influence is also important in the field of artistic or literary interpretation. The notion of sublimation, and, more generally, the Freudian theory in art has been taken up by Deleuze and Guattari, René Girard, Jean-François Lyotard, as well as in aesthetics, art history and cultural studies.

Main Freudian concepts

Freud introduced a new conception of the unconscious into the human sciences. For a long time, it had been noticed that certain phenomena escape consciousness. The philosophers Leibniz and Arthur Schopenhauer consider that there is a background to consciousness. The German poet Novalis was the first to use the word "unconscious", in the continuity of the post-romantic theses of Karl Robert Eduard von Hartmann with his work "Philosophie des Unbewussten" (Philosophy of the Unconscious) in 1869, but above all of Carl Gustav Carus ("Psyche", 1851), the latter representing himself as an "absolute unconscious" and a "relative unconscious. Freud's theory is directly linked to their work. Freud also owes a debt to experimental psychology, and in particular to the approach to hysteria. The phenomena of drunkenness or trance provide examples of the abolition of consciousness. However, the unconscious that Freud introduces is not simply that which does not belong to consciousness, as with von Hartmann. By "unconscious", he understands both a certain number of data, information, injunctions held outside of consciousness, but he also includes all the processes that prevent certain data from reaching consciousness, and allow others to reach it, such as repression, the principle of reality, the principle of pleasure, the death drive. Thus, Freud considers the unconscious as the origin of most of the conscious phenomena themselves, and this in a way that is clearly different from his predecessors, because the unconscious evolves in a dynamic way.

The unconscious is the "inaugural thesis of psychoanalysis" thanks to the work of Freud. In Quelques remarques sur le concept d'inconscient en psychanalyse (1912), the Viennese proposes to describe the specificity of the concept. He gives a hierarchical presentation of the notion, which designates first of all the character or aptitude of a representation or any psychic element present in consciousness in an intermittent way and which seems not to depend on it. On this point, Freud refers to the theory of the French psychiatrist Hippolyte Bernheim concerning suggestive experience and hypnosis. Moreover, the notion gathers the observation of a dynamic proper to this unconscious representation, and of which the most revealing example is the phenomenon of hysteria. The Freudian unconscious acquires from then on its qualifier of "psychic". A third level then completes the notion as it is accepted in psychoanalysis: the systemic level by which the unconscious manifests the properties of a system (which Freud designates by the abbreviation Ubw, "Ics" in French). The first psychoanalysts were able to speak of the "subconscious", a term quickly discarded by Freud, because it was imprecise for explaining a system that exists sui generis, and therefore independent of consciousness.

In his first topica, that is, in the second theoretical model of representation of psychic functioning proposed in 1920, Freud distinguishes three instances: the unconscious, the preconscious and the conscious. In the second topica, the psychic apparatus includes the id, the ego and the superego, three additional founding instances of psychoanalysis. The id (these are somatic manifestations. If the id is inaccessible to consciousness, the symptoms of psychic illness and dreams allow us to have an insight into it. The id obeys the pleasure principle and seeks immediate satisfaction. The Ego (it seeks to avoid the tensions that are too strong in the external world as well as the sufferings, thanks, in particular, to the defense mechanisms (repression, regression, rationalization, sublimation, etc.) found in the unconscious part of this instance. The Ego is the entity that makes social life possible. It follows the reality principle. Although the superego (Über-Ich) exists since birth and that, until the age of five, the child inheriting the parental, group and social instance stores up a quantity of rules of manners to be respected, the superego develops particularly when the Oedipus complex is resolved. Because of the social pressures, by internalizing the moral or cultural rules of his parents and of the group, the child, then the adult practices the repression. Indeed, the superego punishes the Ego for its deviations by the means of the remorse and the guilt.

Sexual impulses are conceived by Freud as an energy, which he calls "libido" ("desire" in Latin). These impulses are susceptible to many transformations and adaptations according to the personality and the environment. The libido is indeed essentially plastic and its repression is most often at the origin of psychic disorders whereas its sublimation explains the cultural, intellectual and artistic productions of humanity. The Freudian doctrine of the libido has often been criticized as a materialist "pansexualism". As the foundation of Freudian metapsychology, the concept of libido, described in Three Essays on Sexual Theory (1905

Freud was the first to elaborate a conception of infantile sexuality. The idea was formalized in 1905 in the book Three Essays on Sexual Theory, but it also came from previous works, in particular the theory of seduction, abandoned in 1897, from which Freud began to set up his so-called theorization of infantile sexuality through its drive aspect. He described the existence of a radical opposition between primary and adult sexuality, marked by the primacy of the genital, and infantile sexuality, where the sexual goals are multiple and the erogenous zones numerous, to such an extent that Freud is often considered as the discoverer of the sexuality of the child. Progressively, between 1913 and 1923, this thesis was reworked by the introduction of the notion of "pregenital stages", preceding the establishment of the genital stage proper, and which are: the oral stage, the anal stage and the phallic stage (see above). Freud thus proposes to explain the evolution of the child through sexual impulsive characters that will evolve through several psycho-affective stages, to then lead to adult genital sexuality. Today, this is an important theoretical basis in clinical psychology.

According to Freud, the "interpretation of dreams is the royal road that leads to the knowledge of the unconscious". Dreams are indeed, in the psychoanalytical model, representations of desires repressed in the unconscious by psychic censorship (the superego). The desires are thus manifested in the dream in a less repressed way than in the waking state. The manifest content of the dream is the result of an intrapsychic work that aims at masking the latent content, for example an oedipal desire. In psychoanalytic treatment, the work is based on the interpretation of the narrative (manifest content) of the dream. The patient's associations with his or her dream make it possible to reveal its latent content; this "dream work" (Traumarbeit) is based on four fundamental processes. First of all, the dream condenses, as if it obeyed a principle of psychic economy, that is to say that a single representation concentrates several ideas, several images, sometimes even contradictory desires. Secondly, the dream is decentered and the deformed desire is fixed on another object than the one it aims at, or on multiple objects to the point of scattering, which constitutes "a displacement of the affective accent". Moreover, the dream is an illustration (or "figurability") of the desire in the sense that it expresses it neither in words nor in acts, but in images; the dream symbol according to the psychoanalysis is thus a "substitutive representation of the object and the goal of the desire (...) typical and of universal use". Finally, the dream is also the product of an unconscious activity, but very close to the vigilant activity in that it endeavors to give it an appearance of verisimilitude, of organization, of internal logic (it is the "secondary elaboration").

At the epistemological level, Freud's gesture consists in reintroducing dream production into psychology. He breaks with the romantic idea of a dream containing a key or a secret and only the work of the dream explains its nature: the complex and immanent production of the psyche that is similar to a rebus. This theory of dreams (Traumlehre) is, according to Freud, what allowed psychoanalysis to rise: from a simple therapy it became, according to him, a general metapsychology. The science of dreams in psychoanalysis is the foundation of the rest of his theoretical edifice: "The dream takes on its paradoxical meaning in that it shows the unconscious at work in every subject and that, as a normal prototype, it sheds light on that other twin formation that is the neurotic symptom.

A "fundamental concept of Freudian metapsychology", the drive (Trieb) has a polysemous definition. Psychic excitation, border concept between psychic and somatic, it is defined by a push (Drang), a goal (Ziel), an object (Objekt) and a source (Quelle). It conditions the representation as well as the affect. The drives take their source in a bodily excitation and, in that, they are close to the instinct. Unlike a stimulus, the impulse cannot be avoided or fled and demands to be discharged in the conscious. According to Freud, there are three ways of discharging an impulse: through dreams, through fantasy and through sublimation. Freud first distinguished two groups of drives: those of the ego (or self-preservation) and the sexual drives. Later, and in his later writings, he distinguishes two other major types of drives: the life drive (Eros) and the death drive (Thanatos). Eros represents love, desire and relationship, while Thanatos represents death, destructive and aggressive drives. Thanatos tends to destroy everything that Eros builds (the perpetuation of the species for example). Masochism is a typical example.

Repression (Verdrängung), the "cornerstone" of psychoanalysis, is also the oldest concept in Freudian theory. As early as 1896, Freud identified a primary defense mechanism, which he then assimilated to censorship and which a priori structures the ego and, in a general way, the psyche. Repression is both the refusal of an impulse and the psychic action of maintaining this gap. As a border between the conscious and the unconscious, the "censorship clause" also attests that the unconscious is indeed "work" and process, and not principle alone.

"The Oedipus complex is probably the most famous word in the psychoanalytic vocabulary, the one that most surely serves to designate Freudism. Freud theorizes the Oedipus complex in his first topical. This is defined as the unconscious desire to have a sexual relationship with the parent of the opposite sex (incest) and to eliminate the rival parent of the same sex (parricide). Thus, the fact that a boy falls in love with his mother and wishes to kill his father responds to the imperative of the Oedipus complex. It is in the letter to Wilhelm Fliess of October 15, 1897 that Freud evokes the complex for the first time, but it is as early as 1912 and 1913 that the "Oedipus" entered completely into Freud's clinical thinking. The latter set out to study its universality in the work Totem and Taboo. Freud puts forward the following thesis: that of the "civilizing vocation of the complex", summarized by Roger Perron: "in very ancient times humans were organized in a primitive horde dominated by a great despotic male who monopolized the women and kept the sons away from them, even at the price of castration".

For him, the structure of the personality is created in relation to the Oedipus complex and its relationship with the paternal function (imago of the father). The Oedipus complex intervenes at the time of the phallic stage. This period ends with the association between the search for pleasure and an external person, the mother. The father becomes the rival of the child; the latter fears to be punished as a consequence of his desire for the mother by the castration. The child thus represses his desires, which feeds during his development his superego, with the birth in him of feelings of guilt and modesty, among others, and through the intermediary of the complex of castration. The complex would thus be transmitted from generation to generation and with it the associated feeling of guilt. Freud has always sought to link these concepts, and in particular that of the Oedipus complex, to a general theory of phylogenesis (of the history of humanity as a species).

According to Freud, as he describes it in his essay "The infantile genital organization" ("Die infantile Genitalorganisation", 1923), the elaboration of the Oedipus complex represents a constitutive stage of the psychological development of children. The desire towards the mother indeed finds its origin from the first days of life and conditions all its psychic development (psychogenesis). The mother is, on the one hand, the "nourisher" and, on the other hand, the one who provides sensual pleasure, via the contact with the breast and through the body care. The child, whether he is a girl or a boy, thus makes her the first object of love which remains determining for all his love life. This objectal relationship is thus invested with sexuality and unfolds in five libidinal "phases" which also find their origin in the constitution of the primitive scene on the part of the child. The notion of "phase" or "stage" is not to be taken literally. It signals the primacy of a particular erogenous zone, but does not imply that the process takes place in a mechanical and linear way. The Oedipus complex thus unfolds through these phases according to their own properties which become entangled to constitute an aggregate of impulses which, for the Freudians, finds its outcome towards the age of 5 years. Freud arrived at this model by studying the case of "Little Hans" in 1909.

The "oral phase" constitutes the psychic organization of the first link. The food which passes by the mouth is indeed the first origin of sensuality. The pleasure produced by the erogenous zones is supported on this vital link then moves away from it, for example during the sexual preliminaries of the adults. One differentiates the "oral phase of sucking" from the "oral phase of biting" which inaugurates a manifestation of aggressiveness resting on the ambivalence inherent in the object relation. For the Kleinians, the Oedipus complex is already manifested at this oral phase and its decline occurs at the advent of the depressive position. Then, the "anal phase", from about 1 to 3 years of age, is linked to the pleasure of controlling one's excretion routes. The " phallic phase " (or " infantile genital "), from 3 to 6 years approximately, is related to masturbation. It knows the emergence then the oedipal conflict in its most acute phase. The "latency phase" then spreads out from 6 years to pre-adolescence, and corresponds to the decline of the Oedipus complex by the repression of the sexual drives which are put at the service of knowledge (or "epistemophilia") which lasts until adolescence and which is allowed by the process of sublimation. This "latency" is quite relative and can vary according to the individuals, the circumstances and the moments of development.

The psychoanalytical treatment

The psychoanalytic cure, commonly called "psychoanalysis" or "typical cure", refers to the psychotherapeutic practice developed by Sigmund Freud and his successors and inspired by Josef Breuer's "talking cure". Psychoanalytic practice was gradually distinguished by Freud from the latter, as well as from hypnosis. The term "psychoanalytic cure" was applied more widely to a whole series of treatments more or less derived from psychoanalysis, to the point that Jean Bergeret considered its use by certain psychoanalysts to be an abuse of language. Towards the end of his life, Freud himself returned to the effectiveness of the cure, reminding us that psychoanalysis is above all knowledge. Transferential in nature, it is based on free associations and begins with the study of the symptom (of which neurosis is the general manifestation) to arrive at its source, the repressed drive. This censored content must reach the patient's consciousness, which constitutes the treatment.

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy implements all of Freud's concepts, especially those of "free association" and neutrality (the analyst must allow the patient's spontaneous ideas to express themselves; he or she must listen without saying anything - let alone doing anything - that would disturb the analyst's associations) and "floating attention" (the analyst's attention must not be focused on one element or another of the analyst's discourse, but must remain attentive to unconscious elements that might arise). Furthermore, the ethical framework of analysis is based on the sincerity of the patient and the commitment of the psychoanalyst to neutrality and benevolence. The sole aim of analysis is therefore, through the patient's elaborative work and the psychoanalyst's interpretative work, to suppress the repression that creates the repetition; but the analysand can only become aware of the repression if, beforehand, the resistance that maintains it has been removed.

Freud conducts his first analysis with Dora, whose real name is Ida Bauer, who has disabling sexual fantasies in two dreams. But, because of the transference that operates on his person, Freud fails to cure Dora. He only acknowledged later, in a postscript, that he had failed to realize that he was the transference object of his patient in love. The Dora case was described from December 1900 to January 1901, but Freud did not publish his Fragment of an Analysis of Hysteria until four years later.

Freud then welcomes Ernst Lanzer, nicknamed "the rat man," into analysis. This treatment provided him with clinical material, particularly in the study of obsessional neurosis. The patient suffered from guilt following a paternal punishment for masturbating, which made him neurotic. A third founding case of psychoanalytic practice is that of Herbert Graf, nicknamed "Little Hans". However, this case was not analyzed by Freud. The child suffered from a phobia of horses, linked to a psychoaffective fixation at the level of the Oedipus complex. Thanks to the understanding of this psychic schema, Herbert is cured of his fantasies. A fourth case is famous in psychoanalytical literature: that of Sergueï Pankejeff, known as "the man with wolves". Finally, with Daniel Paul Schreber ("President Schreber"), Freud examines the psychotic and paranoid delusions present in the magistrate's Memoirs of a Neuropath.

The question of homosexuality

Freud gradually abandoned the idea that homosexuality was a biological disposition or a cultural result, and instead equated it with an unconscious psychic choice. In 1905, in Three Essays on Sexual Theory, he spoke of "inversion", but in 1910, in A Childhood Memory of Leonardo da Vinci, he renounced this term and chose "homosexuality". In a 1919 letter to the mother of a young patient, Freud explained, "Homosexuality is not an advantage, but neither is it something to be ashamed of, it is neither a vice nor a degradation, nor can it be classified as a disease." However, in the whole of Freud's work, there are several theories and questions about the birth of homosexuality in the subject: adult homosexuality is presented sometimes as immature by blocking the libido at the anal stage, sometimes as narcissistic withdrawal or as identification with the mother. Indeed, Freud at one time stated that homosexuality results from a "stoppage of sexual development." He then concluded that homosexuality is an unconscious object choice.

According to Freud, homosexuality is not the object of the analytical treatment. Only the guilt that accompanies it can give rise to a neurosis. Finally, in a 1915 note to the Three Essays on Sexual Theory, he also explains that "psychoanalytic research opposes with the greatest determination the attempt to separate homosexuals from other human beings as a particularized group. It teaches that all human beings are capable of homosexual object choice and that they have indeed made this choice in the unconscious." "Neither Sigmund Freud, nor his disciples, nor his heirs made homosexuality a concept or notion specific to psychoanalysis," concludes Elisabeth Roudinesco, even though this question has divided psychoanalysts. However it would be necessary to distinguish the psychic homosexuality in every human being, from the acted homosexuality. According to the critic Didier Eribon, psychoanalysts share a "homophobic unconscious" which is revealed by Lacan's conscious choice to use the term "perversion", whereas for Daniel Borrillo, Freud and certain psychoanalysts (such as Jacques Lacan) are homophobic by classifying homosexuality as an "inversion. However, it should not be overlooked that Freud has left this classification.

Culture and nature

For Freud, culture (Kultur) designates the whole of the institutions which move the individual away from the animal state. Nature corresponds to emotions, instincts, drives and needs. The human being fights constantly against his instinctual nature and his impulses, which he tries to curb in order to live in society, without which universal egoism would bring chaos. However, Freud constantly confuses in his writings civilization on the one hand and culture on the other. The higher the level of society, the greater the sacrifices of its individuals. Especially by imposing sexual frustration, civilization has a direct action on the genesis of individual neuroses. The 1929 text, Malaise in Civilization, supports the thesis that culture is the main cause of neurosis and psychic dysfunctions. Through the clear rules it imposes, culture protects the individual, even if it requires consequent impulsive renunciations. These constraints can explain why there is a rage and a rejection - often unconscious - towards culture. In return, culture offers compensation for the constraints and sacrifices it imposes, through consumption, entertainment, patriotism or religion.

In the essay "A Difficulty of Psychoanalysis" published in 1917, and in his introductory lectures on psychoanalysis, written during the First World War, Freud explains that humanity, in the course of its history, has already suffered "two great vexations inflicted by science on its self-esteem. The first, he explains, dates from the moment when Nicolaus Copernicus establishes that "our Earth is not the center of the universe, but a tiny parcel of a system of the world barely representable in its immensity". The second, according to him, takes place when modern biology - and Darwin in the first place - "sent man back to his descent from the animal kingdom and to the ineffaceable character of his bestial nature". He adds: "The third and most bitter vexation, the human megalomania has to suffer from the psychological research of today, which wants to prove to the Ego that it is not even master in its own house, but that it is reduced to parsimonious information on what is played unconsciously in its psychic life". According to Freud, it is the "progressive renunciation of constitutional impulses" which allows the man to evolve culturally.

Freud and phylogenesis

Relying on Charles Darwin's theses, in 1912, in Totem and Taboo, Freud explains that the origin of humanity is based on the fantasy of a "primitive horde" in which the primitive murder of the father takes place as the founding act of society. Men lived in gregarious hordes, under the domination of an all-powerful male, who appropriated the women of the group and excluded the other males. The latter then committed the murder of the "primitive father", a parricide that explains the incest taboo as a constitutive element of societies. In Malaise in Civilization, Freud breaks down the evolution of humanity into three phases: an animistic phase characterized by primary narcissism and totemism, then a religious phase marked by collective neurosis and finally a scientific phase in which sublimation predominates. This conception of phylogenetic heritage has been criticized by anthropologists and historians. According to Plon and Roudinesco, for Freud it is only a question of "hypotheses that he considers as many "fantasies"". Florian Houssier indicates that "whatever the degree of validity that one confers on it (fantasy or belief), we consider it to be a core of hypotheses that is all the more decisive because Freud brings it closer and links it unceasingly to ontogeny and to its potential clinical confirmations. Freud's preoccupations, finding in phylogenesis the starting point for the choice of neurosis and confirming by a history of origins the hypothesis of the Oedipus complex, constitute a theoretical-clinical axis of importance."

Freud and religion

Calling himself an "unbeliever", a "Jew without God", Freud was critical of religion. A convinced atheist, he believed that human beings lost more than they gained from the escape it offered. In his first writing on religion, Obsessive Acts and Religious Exercises, published in 1907, he explains that liturgical ceremonial necessarily involves "obsessive acts". He therefore speaks of "neurotic ceremonial". According to him, the "repression, the renunciation of certain instinctive impulses seems also to be at the basis of the formation of religion". As for the link that psychoanalytic practice has with religion, and in a letter to the pastor Oskar Pfister of January 9, 1909, Freud says that "in itself, psychoanalysis is no more religious than irreligious. It is an instrument without partiality that can be used by both religious and lay people, provided that it is only in the service of suffering beings.

With The Future of an Illusion (1927), Freud first shows that civilization must appeal to moral values to guarantee its integrity and protect itself from individual destructive tendencies. According to Quinodoz, Freud includes in these moral values "values of a psychological order, cultural ideals, as well as religious ideas, the latter constituting in his eyes the most important moral value for the maintenance of civilization." In the second part, Freud holds a dialogue with an imaginary adversary (who could be the pastor Pfister), taking as a model of religion the Christianity practiced in the West. The publication of the work provoked, according to Quinodoz, "controversies that are far from being appeased". According to Freud, humanity must accept that religion is only an illusion in order to leave its state of infantilism, and he likens this phenomenon to the child who must resolve his Oedipus complex: "these ideas, which profess to be dogmas, are not the residue of experience or the final result of reflection: they are illusions, the realization of the oldest, strongest, most pressing desires of humanity; the secret of their strength is the strength of these desires. We already know this: the terrifying impression of infantile distress had awakened the need to be protected - protected by being loved - a need which the father satisfied.

Clotilde Leguil notes that Freud brings the effect of religion on the psyche closer to that of narcotics in The Malaise in Civilization (1930). Freud situates his thesis in the filiation of Marx's who could affirm not only that it is the "opium of the people", but also that "religion is only the illusory sun that revolves around man as long as man does not revolve around himself". Paul Ricoeur calls Marx, Nietzsche and Freud, "the masters of suspicion", in that they have in common that they denounced the religious illusion.

In 1939, The Man Moses and the Monotheistic Religion was published, in which Freud developed the thesis that Moses was not a Jew but an Egyptian who worshipped the god Aten. Freud admits that the foundations of this historical hypothesis are fragile; he originally wanted to title his essay The Moses Man, a historical novel. The publication of the work caused controversy.

Freud and anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism did not weigh equally during Freud's life, as the political situation in Austria and Germany changed in the early 20th century. Anti-Semitic sentiment played a decisive role at the end of his life, when he had to flee Austria in the face of the Nazi threat. Before the First World War, as Yerushalmi points out, "I would like to emphasize that his awareness of the phenomenon preceded his entry into the University of Vienna, or the end of the liberal Burgerminister and the rise of political anti-Semitism. From 1917 onwards, the censorship of anti-Semitic articles in newspapers became less strict and it became usual to call Jews "war profiteers". It was in 1918 that anti-Semitism reached its peak, with the Jews explicitly becoming the scapegoats for all the misfortunes that befell Austria. In 1933, Freud's works were burned by the Nazis, who saw in them a "Jewish science" (according to the formula of the Nazi party) contrary to the "German spirit": "In Germany in 1933, after Freud's works had been burned, it became clear that the regime led by the Nazis, who had just gained power, no longer left any room for psychoanalysis. With the annexation of Austria by Germany, many psychoanalysts had to stop practicing or emigrate when they were not killed or sent to concentration camps because they were Jewish. Segregation first developed in Hungary, especially under the regime of Miklós Horthy. Then it spread to Germany from the 1920s and to Austria. From then on, most of those who survived emigrated to the United States (as well as to the United Kingdom, France and South America, while Max Eitingon went into exile in Palestine).

Henri Ellenberger has made an extensive study of the situation of Jews throughout the region and argues that Freud would have exaggerated the impact of anti-Semitism in his non-appointment to a university position of extraordinary professor. He argues his thesis in a documented manner. Other historians consider that Ellenberger minimized the phenomenon in Vienna, which elected the openly anti-Semitic Karl Lueger as mayor in 1897. Freud's father had been the victim of an anti-Semitic act, which he told his son about. From the beginning, Freudian psychoanalysis was accused of being a "Jewish science". Martin Staemmler wrote in a 1933 text: "Freudian psychoanalysis is a typical example of the internal disharmony in the life of the soul between Jews and Germans. And when one goes even further and makes every movement of the mind and every misbehavior of the child part of the sexual sphere, the human being is nothing more than a sexual organ around which the body vegetates, then we must have the courage to refuse these interpretations of the German soul and to tell these gentlemen of Freud's entourage that they only have to do their psychological experiments on human material that belongs to their race. For Lydia Flem, Freud and Theodor Herzl, each in their own way, responded to the Jewish identity crisis, the first by imagining a psychic topica, the second by dreaming of a geographical country for the Jewish people.

On Judaism and Zionism

Elisabeth Roudinesco, in a 2004 article in which she studied an "unpublished letter from Freud on Zionism and the question of the holy places", evokes Freud's position in refusing, in this letter, to publicly support the Zionist cause in Palestine and Jewish access to the Wailing Wall, as Chaim Koffler, a Viennese member of the Keren Ha Yesod, had asked him to do in 1930. In this article, she reminds us that Freud's "Jewishness", which she says he "never denied", was an "identity of a Jew without a god, an assimilated Viennese Jew - and of German culture". This letter, judged to be unfavorable to the Zionist cause, was not made public and remained unpublished, although, as Elisabeth Roudinesco recalls, Freud had "many times had the opportunity to express an opinion on Zionism, Palestine and the holy places identical to that addressed to the Keren Ha Yesod. On the same day, he sent a letter to Albert Einstein, in which he developed the same ideas of "empathy towards Zionism" whose "ideal he would never share" and of "distrust of the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine".

About cocaine

The discovery of the alkaloid of the coca plant is contemporary with Freud's research, who seeks to use it for psychic healing. In 1884, the Merck laboratories entrusted Freud with the task of conducting experiments on the substance. Before creating psychoanalysis, Freud studied this product and thought it could be used for all sorts of medical indications - notably in the treatment of neurasthenia. Freud worked on the anaesthetic properties of cocaine with two colleagues, Carl Köller and Leopold Königstein, from 1884. However, he did not have time to test its narcotic power and had to leave Vienna. His colleagues continued their experiments, particularly in the field of eye surgery, and eventually presented their discovery to the Medical Society of Vienna without mentioning Freud's pioneering role. He continued his research between 1884 and 1887, and wrote several texts on the subject, including "Über Coca".

Freud used cocaine episodically, starting in 1884. At the time, this recent substance was not forbidden, the consumption of various cocaine products was common (Coca-Cola contained cocaine until 1903) and appeared to some American doctors as a panacea. He also prescribed it as a nasal application until 1895, when he began his self-analysis and stopped taking it himself. In an 1886 article, Dr. Albrecht Erlenmeyer warned the medical community in precise terms, calling cocaine "the third scourge of humanity. Faced with increasing criticism, Dr. Johann Schnitzler, in an article in the Internationale Klinische Rundschau magazine in 1887, defended Freud, who was accused of having propagated its use. The latter wrote a last article on cocaine in 1887 and affirmed that it was the subject who was predisposed and not the drug that led to drug addiction. He then turned away from his study after suggesting to his friend Ernest von Fleischl-Marxrow that he use it to cure his morphine addiction. Freud hoped to cure his addiction with cocaine. However, Fleischl von Marxow became addicted to cocaine, then returned to morphine and died prematurely at age 45, leaving Freud with a strong sense of guilt. If the psychologist David Cohen speaks of Freud's addiction to cocaine and of a consumption during fifteen years, according to Elisabeth Roudinesco and the philosopher and psychoanalyst Françoise Coblence, he took it during eleven years, was not dependent on the product and did not know the phenomenon of addiction (nor the cases reported in the contemporary medical literature). Historians Elizabeth M. Thornton (The Freudian Fallacy) and Howard Markel (en) also develop the thesis of Freud's addiction to cocaine, which he used until 1896.

Occultism and telepathy

In the thirtieth lecture of the New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (1933), "Dreams and Occultism", a subject that Alain de Mijolla describes as "the most contentious of all", in view of "all the arguments that should make a scientific mind doubt the existence of telepathic transmission", Freud, who was nonetheless able to observe the phenomenon, gives "a few examples of observations that troubled him, among others, that of Vorsicht

If Freud was interested in occultism - in vogue in his time - like many of his contemporaries, psychologists and other scientists, such as Pierre and Marie Curie, he has, according to Roudinesco and Plon, "established a very clear line of demarcation between psychoanalysis as a science" and what he called "the dark tide of occultism", which did not prevent him from being fascinated by this field and from maintaining a pronounced ambivalence. According to the psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Michel Picco, "Freud showed no interest in spiritualism. In short, the only problem that he retained as truly serious, what he called "the core of truth of occultism", was telepathy", an interest that was "commonplace" at the time and which was also shared, for example, by Pierre Janet. On the other hand, Ernest Jones rejected it: "When it is alleged before you that I have fallen into sin, answer calmly that my conversion to telepathy is my personal affair and that the theme of telepathy is in essence foreign to psychoanalysis.

Freud's ambivalence towards occultism, especially telepathy, can be seen chronologically, as reported by Roudinesco and Plon: he was first urged by Jung, in 1909, to reject it, then by Ferenczi in 1910, whom he encouraged for a time, before condemning in 1913, in the name of science, telepathic experiments; Then, from 1920 to 1933, in the context of the institutionalization of the IPA, a movement that placed positivist rationalism and the ideal of scientificity at its heart, at the risk of scientism, he became interested in it again and horrified Jones, who proposed banning from the debates of the IPA all research on occultism, which Freud accepted while writing two texts in 1921 and delivering a conference in 1931 on the subject. Freud gives examples of allegedly occult or telepathic situations and proposes a properly psychoanalytical interpretation. This ambivalence is not to be understood as a rejection of or adherence to telepathy for its own sake, but as the means of Freud's passive opposition to Jones's policy of supporting the American partisans of a medicalized, scientistic psychoanalysis against lay analysis. Thus, according to Roudinesco and Plon, Freud pretended to believe in telepathy, and gave a psychoanalytical interpretation of it with regard to the notion of transference. It is thus possible, according to Picco, that he uses the term for lack of a more appropriate one.

Dissidences and schisms of psychoanalysis

The main quarrels led, during the development of the psychoanalytical movement, to major splits, first that of Alfred Adler (who later founded individual psychology), then that of Carl Gustav Jung, the initiator of analytical psychology. The theoretical points of disagreement are numerous, related to the libido, the Oedipus complex or the importance of sexuality in the psyche. These controversies began in 1907 and 1911. Called the "apostates" by Freud, Adler, first, and then Jung, opposed the conception of the libido as essentially sexual in origin and saw it rather as a "life drive" in the broad sense. Freud feared above all that the dissidents would hijack psychoanalytic theory and practice. Indeed, Paul-Laurent Assoun points out that they both say they want to put psychoanalysis back on the right track, and save it from the cult of personality formed around Freud. The competition between the various schools, mainly between the Viennese circle and Jung's Zurich school, dealt the most serious blow to the young psychoanalytical movement, and this as early as 1913, with Jung's defection. The other internal divergences relate, for example, to the precociousness of the superego as described by Melanie Klein or Donald Winnicott, who, by emancipating himself from the Freudian heritage while integrating its contributions, began post-Freudism. The opposition with Wilhelm Reich is essentially based on fundamental differences concerning the practice of psychoanalytic treatment, notably concerning the rule of abstinence.

On Freud and the Freud Wars

For a long time, most works about Freud referred almost exclusively to the biography of Ernest Jones, criticized for its hagiographic aspects. After the critical studies of Pierre Janet and Karl Popper, new historical research was initiated by Henri Ellenberger. This was followed by more critical, even polemical, works or dossiers by other authors, such as Le Dossier Freud : enquête sur l'histoire de la psychanalyse (2006) by Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen and Sonu Shamdasani, Le Livre noir de la psychanalyse (2005), Le Crépuscule d'une idole (2010) by Michel Onfray, or Mensonges freudiens (2002) by Jacques Bénesteau.

A very large collection of original Freudian writings and letters can be found in the Sigmund Freud Collection at the Library of Congress in Washington.

During his lifetime, Freud had to face criticism.

Contemporaries, such as Karl Kraus and Egon Friedell, made various criticisms; Kraus challenged the psychoanalytic sexual interpretation in literature, while Friedell called psychoanalysis a "pseudo-Jewish religion" and a "cult".

Paul Roazen published a study on the complex relationship between Freud, Victor Tausk and Helene Deutsch. Tausk had asked Freud for an analysis, which he had refused, before referring him to Deutsch. The latter was then herself in analysis with Freud. This situation is discussed by Roazen, who also relates it to the other causes of Tausk's suicide.

According to the anthropologist Samuel Lézé, the Freud Wars, which he observes as "a local enigma", were a common expression in the press in the United States between 1993 and 1995: it was a "series of polemics" whose subject matter, curiously enough, "focused essentially on Freud's personality", even though, as Lézé points out, psychoanalysis "was no longer in the driver's seat of American psychiatry" since at least the mid-1980s, and psychology faculties no longer taught it. A remake took place in France ten years later between 2005 and 2010 with the Livre noir de la psychanalyse and especially the Crépuscule d'une idole. The Freudian affabulation of Michel Onfray. According to Samuel Lézé, what is at stake in this "war of the shrinks" in the French media and in critical essays is political: "a new generation of mental health professionals intends to take the place of the old generation trained in the bosom of psychoanalysis in the early 1980s.

In a review of Lézé's book, Yannis Gansel states that "in the United States, where the religious hold and the construction of medical jurisdiction over 'personal problems' contain psychoanalysis in the clinical sphere, it is a 'scientific Freud' that the critics are aiming at." According to Gansel, Lézé describes in his book "the endless 'immobile debate' and 'ceremony of degradation' carried out by the anti-Freudians. The movement of the anti-Freudians operates indeed under two aspects: that of a rational criticism (a debate) and that of a moral denunciation corresponding to a degradation. For Yannis Gansel, the originality of the book consists in "showing to what extent the criticism depends on the icon that it intends to bury".

Theoretical criticisms

In France, theoretical criticism is represented by a collective and multidisciplinary work, Le Livre noir de la psychanalyse (2005), a corpus of articles edited by Catherine Meyer, which reflects several decades of criticism of Freud. Most of the critical points are addressed, from the scientificity of psychoanalysis to Freud's personality, contradictions, the suspected fabrication of psychopathological cases and false cures. Based on epidemiological studies, according to these authors, the low therapeutic effectiveness of the psychoanalytical method compared to other psychotherapeutic techniques, such as cognitive-behavioral therapies, is highlighted. This work has provoked reactions in various psychiatric, therapeutic and psychoanalytical circles, thus reviving underlying conflicts of interest. In response to these criticisms, the psychoanalyst Élisabeth Roudinesco edited a book entitled Pourquoi tant de haine?  : anatomie du Livre noir de la psychanalyse (2005). Other psychoanalysts and psychiatrists have criticized the book.

Frank Sulloway developed in Freud, biologist of the mind (1979) the thesis according to which Freud produced a "cryptobiological" model in order to hide his biological theories, recognized as obsolete at the time by some of his supporters, such as Ernst Kris, in order to present psychoanalysis as a revolutionary and original theory. Jacques Lacan, on the other hand, believed that Freud's work should be understood from the point of view of language and not biology, stating in particular that "the unconscious is structured like a language".

The French essayist and polemicist Michel Onfray published in April 2010 Le Crépuscule d'une idole : l'affabulation freudienne, in which he criticizes Freud for having generalized his personal case, for having been a mediocre doctor, for having developed the psychoanalytical theory without following a scientific approach, by lying about his observations and cures obtained, for the sole purpose of ensuring his personal and financial success, and for having founded the psychoanalytical community on quasi-sectarian principles. He also points out that Freud signed a dedication to Benito Mussolini and that he wrote Man, Moses and Monotheism at the height of Nazism and anti-Semitism. He takes up the criticisms of Freudism known and developed before him, using a Nietzschean-inspired interpretation grid. In November 2010, he published Apostille au crépuscule: pour une psychanalyse non freudienne, in which he proposes a psychological model allowing to "surpass" Freudian psychoanalysis.

The neurologist Lionel Naccache's book, The New Unconscious, clearly shows how the cerebral processes correspond to what, in Freud, is the unconscious as a "non-represented representation". On the other hand, remarks the philosopher Yvon Brès, Naccache "criticizes in an interesting but debatable way other aspects of the Freudian unconscious: its timelessness, its infantile origin, its relation to repression". For Jacques Galinier, the work of Lionel Naccache on the phenomena of unconscious semantic priming has demonstrated the existence of a cognitive unconscious that cannot be assimilated to the Freudian unconscious.

The Freudian theory of dreaming centered on the hallucinatory satisfaction of hidden desire through the mechanisms of displacement, condensation and dramatization has also been criticized, both in the function attributed to dreams and in its process. According to the psychologist, sociologist and essayist G. William Domhoff and the cognitive psychologist David Foulkes, the idea according to which free association allows access to the latent content of the dream is invalidated by works of experimental psychology which concluded the arbitrary character of this method.

According to the neuroscientist Winson in 1985, Freud's free association is a valid method that allows access to latent content. The neuropsychiatrist Allan Hobson criticized Domhoff's work by accusing him of misunderstanding the neurobiological mechanisms that he studies and Drew Westen notes that Foulkes shares points of view with Freud's theory, in particular that there is a latent content and a manifest content that is the transformation of it, and that this transformation is the result of a language that needs to be decoded. According to the neurologist Bernard Lechevalier, there is compatibility between the psychoanalytical conception of the dream and the neurosciences. The neuroscience researcher and Nobel Prize winner Eric Kandel has expressed some criticism of psychoanalysis but concedes that it "still represents the most coherent and intellectually satisfying conception of the mind".

Religious and political criticism

In 1952, Pope Pius XII gave a speech to the participants of the Fifth International Congress of Psychotherapy and Clinical Psychology which recognized psychoanalysis, but relativized the descriptive power of its concepts. Thus, if psychoanalysis describes what happens in the soul, it cannot claim to describe and explain what the soul is.

Before the Revolution of 1917, Russia was the country where Freud was most translated. After the Bolsheviks took power, there was a rapprochement between Freud's thought and that of Karl Marx. However, afterwards, "when Trotsky, who was very favorable to psychoanalysis, was condemned to exile in 1927, psychoanalysis was associated with Trotskyism and officially banned" explains Eli Zaretsky. In 1949, Guy Leclerc published an article in L'Humanité entitled "La psychanalyse, idéologie de basse police et d'espionnage" (Psychoanalysis, an ideology of low-level police and espionage), in which he considered psychoanalysis to be a bourgeois science intended to enslave the masses. From then on, after having accepted its importance with Freudo-Marxism, the French Communist Party began its campaign against psychoanalysis, and more widely against psychoanalysis in France.

Epistemological criticisms

Part of the criticism of Freud and psychoanalysis concerns the question of its scientificity. Ludwig Wittgenstein, for example, said: "Freud has done a disservice with his fantastic pseudo-explanations. Any ass now has these images at hand to explain, thanks to them, pathological phenomena." The philosopher Michel Haar (Introduction to psychoanalysis. Critical analysis, 1973) and the cognitivists Marc Jeannerod and Nicolas Georgieff draw up a panorama of these criticisms from an epistemological point of view. The critics of Freud, in his time and today, question the scientificity of his approach, his methodology (notably the small number of cases, or the literary interpretation), his highly speculative aspect, his theoretical incoherence, the absence of experimental validation or rigorous clinical studies (controlled and reproducible), the manipulation of data and of clinical and therapeutic results.

In La Psychanalyse à l'épreuve (1992), Adolf Grünbaum explains that Freud does not demonstrate anything scientifically: "the retrospective character of the test proper to the psychoanalytic framework is incapable of reliably authenticating even the existence of the retrodictated childhood experience (...), let alone its pathogenic role." Although critical of psychoanalysis, Grünbaum also opposes another critic of Freud's work: Karl Popper. The latter explains that: "Clinical observations", which are naively considered by psychoanalysts as confirmations of their theory, are no more convincing than the daily confirmations that astrologers find in their practice. As for the Freudian epic of the Ego, Superego and Id, it can no more seriously claim scientific status than the stories Homer collected about Olympus. These theories describe certain facts, but in the manner of myths. They contain some of the most interesting psychological statements, but they cannot be subjected to verification." The criterion of its falsifiability (its "refutability" in other words) occupies most of their debate. Contrary to Popper who considers psychoanalysis as non refutable and therefore pseudo-scientific, Grünbaum thinks that certain psychoanalytical assertions can be tested, such as Freud's supposed link between paranoia and the repression of homosexuality (if the latter were indeed the necessary cause of the former, less homophobic societies should have a lower prevalence of paranoia).

With regard to Popper's notion of "falsification", which would have him link psychoanalysis "to both metaphysics and mythical thought", the psychoanalyst Jean Laplanche objects that Freud "repeatedly invokes the possibility of what he calls, in quotation marks, the 'negative case', for example as a possibility of falsification of his theory of sexual etiology". According to him, it is "in the same way, by a test of falsification", that Freud "proceeds both in his 'abandonment of the theory of seduction', and in the text that proposes to examine 'a case of paranoia contradicting the psychoanalytical theory of this affection'. Laplanche also evokes Freud's acceptance of Melanie Klein's objection, which "falsifies" the Freudian theory of the inheritance in an individual of the severity of the parents' superego, to which she opposes, on the contrary, her clinical observation "that very often individuals feel all the more guilty because their education has been more tolerant". Jean Laplanche thus goes against the assertion that psychoanalytical interpretation "would be by definition inaccessible to contradiction".

According to Vannina Micheli-Rechtman, Grünbaum's and Popper's criticisms do not take sufficiently into account the epistemology specific to psychoanalysis. Thus, psychoanalysis is above all "a practice of communication and a practice of care", according to Daniel Widlöcher, who recalls Lacan's phrase "psychoanalysis is a science of human actions in the same way as a certain number of sciences of actions". That is to say, it is a practice of actions (we do something with someone else) and from this we deduce generalities that we will elaborate as models. Psychoanalysis builds descriptive "models" in the same way as economic science or other social sciences, like ethnology. It does not adopt the same rationality as scientific rationality, as Jean-Michel Vappereau shows, for example. But where the experimental sciences evacuate subjectivity in order to reach objectivity, psychoanalysis focuses on what is proper to structure subjectivity, through an object (the unconscious) and a protocol (the "couch") that are proper and perfectly rational.


The very first translation of a text by Freud into French "by a certain M.W. Horn" is that of L'Intérêt de la psychanalyse, published in 1913 in Bologna in the Italian review Scientia. The text was "presented simultaneously in German, in the body of the journal, and in French in an attached booklet containing other translations".

Subsequently, the first translations of Freud's articles into French were done by Henri Hoesli for the Revue française de psychanalyse. Translations of books, sometimes collections of articles, are published by many publishers: Payot, Gallimard, PUF, Alcan. Anne Berman was, for example, the translator of several works by Freud, Anna Freud and Ernest Jones. The Presses universitaires de France published from 1988 to 2019 the Complete Works of Freud

In German, seventeen volumes were published between 1942 and 1952, entitled Gesammelte Werke. In English, twenty-four volumes were published between 1953 and 1974 under the title Standard Edition. In 2010, the situation of the translations of the works changes radically since Freud's writings have entered the public domain.

Chronological lists of Freudian texts (selection)

Freud's writings translated into French, presented below with the first year of publication in German in parentheses, can be listed according to several bibliographical sources located in works on Freud, including for example the bibliography established by Élisabeth Roudinesco and that established by Jean-Michel Quinodoz. With the new translations of the Complete Works of Freud by PUF

The pre-psychoanalytic period includes Freud's writings from his medical training and early work.


In her editorial to an issue of the journal Topique on the theme of "The Image of Psychoanalysis in the Cinema," Sophie de Mijolla-Mellor wonders how the cinema has been able to "popularize psychoanalysis, and even contribute to the study of the imaginary of our psyche," not without recalling Freud's fears that a plastic representation of theoretical abstractions by cinematic art could only be unfaithful. At a time when, at the beginning of the 21st century, the social status of psychoanalysis as well as its epistemological validity are being questioned, a study of the representations of psychoanalysis in cinema, she says, "is part of a broader reflection on the place that the discipline created by Freud currently holds in contemporary Western culture.

"If psychoanalysis was hardly represented in the cinema during the first half of the 20th century, the second half proved to be more prolific", but it is rather the 21st century that shows itself to be inventive in restoring to the screen the reality of an analytic session. This is how Yohan Trichet and Élisabeth Marion put it when they chose to comment on John Huston's Freud, the Secret Passion (1962), Benoît Jacquot's Princesse Marie (2003) and David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method (2011), in which the latter two filmmakers stage Freud's practice with two famous patients who became psychoanalysts, Marie Bonaparte and Sabina Spielrein. In Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method, based on a script and play by Christopher Hampton, Freud is played by Viggo Mortensen. According to Francis Drossart, the "murky affair" of the relationship between Carl Gustav Jung and his analyst Sabina Spielrein was probably the origin of Freud's text on "transference love" (1915).

Sigmund Freud - the invention of psychoanalysis (1997) consists of two 55' documentaries directed by Elisabeth Kapnist and written with Elisabeth Roudinesco, broadcast on France 3 and Arte.

In Sigmund Freud un juif sans Dieu (2019), directed by David Teboul, the filmmaker looked at the Freud case: his film "is constructed in the manner of an analytical treatment, by imagined associations and resonances.


: document used as a source for the writing of this article.

(In alphabetical order of authors' names:)

(In alphabetical order of authors' names)

(In alphabetical order of authors' names)


  1. Sigmund Freud
  2. Sigmund Freud
  3. Il n'est pas sûr qu'il s'agisse du deuxième ou troisième mariage du père de Freud.
  4. Une plaque commémorative (« c'est dans cette maison que le 24 juillet 1895 le mystère du rêve fut révélé au Dr Sigmund Freud ») qui figure actuellement devant le 19 Berggasse à Vienne rappelle que le rêve dit de l'« injection faite à Irma » est le prototype de l'interprétation des rêves selon la psychanalyse.
  5. En intitulant son article « Freud au ras des pâquerettes », Yvon Brès se propose d'éclairer non pas toute l'œuvre de Freud, « mais une couche de cette œuvre qui se situe “au ras des pâquerettes” », à savoir la théorie des névroses actuelles plus négligée des psychanalystes et historiens de Freud, lesquels, selon lui, s'intéressent bien davantage aux psychonévroses de défense (Brès, p. 6). En 1895, Freud a écrit l'article « Du bien fondé à séparer de la neurasthénie un complexe de symptômes déterminé, en tant que “névrose d'angoisse” » (Brès, p. 4).
  6. ^ Halberstadt, Max (c. 1921). "Sigmund Freud, half-length portrait, facing left, holding cigar in right hand". Library of Congress. Archived from the original on 28 December 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  7. ^ Tansley, A.G. (1941). "Sigmund Freud. 1856–1939". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society. 3 (9): 246–75. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1941.0002. JSTOR 768889. S2CID 163056149.
  8. ^ a b Ford & Urban 1965, p. 109
  9. 1 2 Sigmund Freud // KulturNav (англ.) — 2015.
  10. 1 2 Sigmund Freud // Национальный музей изобразительных искусств — 1792.
  11. Sigmund Freud // RKDartists (нидерл.)
  12. Klaus Englert: Sigmund Freuds Religionskritik. Der Gottkomplex. In: Deutschlandradio Kultur. 7. Februar 2018, abgerufen am 10. Juli 2021: „Zum Judentum bekannte sich der Psychoanalytiker – zur jüdischen Religion nicht.“
  13. Die Trauung der Eltern im Jahre 1855 vollzog Isaak Noah Mannheimer, der 1841 eine Debatte im Rahmen des Reformjudentums mit dem Hamburger Oberrabbiner Isaak Bernays eröffnet hatte, dem Großvater von Freuds Ehefrau Martha Bernays. (W. Aron: Farzeichnungen wegen opshtam fun Sigmund Freud un wegen sein Yiddishkeit. In: Yivo Bleter. Band 40, S. 169. )
  14. Zitiert nach Gay, 2. Aufl. 2006, S. 14.

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