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Freud and the child woman : the memoirs of Fritz Wittels /
edited with a preface and commentary by Edward Timms.
New Haven : Yale University Press, 1995.
xii, 188 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
0300064853 (alk. paper)
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added author
New Haven : Yale University Press, 1995.
0300064853 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1996-06-01:
This most compelling firsthand account of Wittels, a Viennese physician and litterateur whose life included a relationship with Freud (1906-11); a friendship and scandal over a novel with Karl Kraus, the flamboyant editor of The Torch, and their shared lover, Irma (the child-women of the title); and a long, slow reconciliation of sorts with Freud, which spanned Freud's much later life and Wittels's immigration to the US. The text concerns Wittels's relations with Kraus (who despised psychoanalysis), Freud (Wittels's teacher), Irma, and Stekel (an early defector from Freud). It tells of Wittels's literary ambitions, his involvement with psychoanalysis, his first controversial biography of Freud (1923), and its revised version (1933). Scholars will argue the wisdom of Edward Timms's editorial task: some of the text is reconstructed from the incomplete notes of two intended memoirs. Wittels's gifts (always appreciated by Freud) shine through in his lively, acerbic, and acute observations. He is conscious of his youthful self as cad and man-about-town in Vienna. The best part of the book describes the idealized, agonizing, exploitative, and cruel relation to the demanding Irma, whom he touted for her lack of sexual inhibition. Wittels's hunger for "fathers," his savage disillusion yet abiding wish to be forgiven, is graphically documented. Fin de si^D*ecle, coffeehouse Vienna is the backdrop. Recommended for all students interested in cultural history, women's studies, and psychoanalysis. Upper-division undergraduate through professional. R. H. Balsam Yale University
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Choice, June 1996
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Unpaid Annotation
Fritz Wittels (1880-1950) was a pioneering Viennese psychoanalyst, the first biographer of Freud (1924), and intermittently friend and rival of Freud himself, of Wilhelm Stekel, and of their famous satirical adversary, Karl Kraus. Towards the end of his life, while living and practising as an analyst in the United States, Wittels wrote a two-hundred-page memoir of his early life and career in Vienna. The typescript memoirs, held in the archives of the Abraham Brill Library, New York, are published here for the first time, accompanied by a range of little-known illustrations. Incomplete in places, they have been deftly edited, contextualised and introduced by Edward Timms, whose many valuable explanatory notes include the identification of the 'child woman' of the title. In his memoirs Wittels writes frankly and vividly about the erotic sub-culture of fin-de-siecle Vienna and about early controversies within the Psychoanalytic Society. His picture of the interaction between the two is startlingly original, and will appeal not only to historians of psychoanalysis, but to anyone interested in the Viennese cultural avant-garde. The erotic triangles in which Wittels, Kraus and Freud were involved are shown to have impinged directly on the activities of the famous Society. Freud himself plays a crucial role in the story, and the book as a whole is of exceptional importance for the origins of psychoanalysis.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Editor's Preface
Introduction: Wrestling with the Manp. 1
Childhood in Viennap. 4
Freud and the Vienna Medical Schoolp. 24
Kraus and the Neue Freie Pressep. 35
Spiritual Fathersp. 45
The Child Womanp. 56
The Rupturep. 76
The Scandalp. 99
Reconciliationp. 111
America: Making Amendsp. 128
Freud in Americap. 144
Commentary: The Wittels Memoirs in Contextp. 153
Index of Namesp. 185
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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