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Freud and the Media

The Reception of Psychoanalysis in Viennese Medical Journals 1895-1938

Sylvia Zwettler-Otte

This book presents the results of a research project on the early reception of analysis in two influential Viennese medical weeklies, the Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift and the Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift. It provides a detailed account of the articles published between 1895, when Freud and Breuer’s Studies on Hysteria were first published, and 1938, the year analysis was forbidden in Austria by the Nazi regime. The study puts paid to the widespread prejudice (casually re-enforced by Freud himself) that psychoanalysis had at first been ignored by both academic circles and the general public. In fact, supporters as well as opponents observed the emergence of the new science with keen interest and a highly ambivalent mixture of resistance, prurient curiosity and genuine fascination. The large number of references gives evidence for an impressively early tribute to the secret attractiveness of analysis.
Contents: The myth of Freud’s isolation – Freud striking out in new directions – Recurring issues for discussion – A compromise: limited recognition – The emotionality of psychoanalysts – Psychoanalysis as art – Experiments with the application of psychoanalytic technique – The charge of psychoanalysis not meeting the criteria of science – Psychoanalytic warnings of ‘wild analysis’.