Anna Freud was her father Sigmund’s sounding board, chief collaborator, and intellectual heir. Yet she harbored secrets that could haven shaken the foundations of his growing legacy. Suspecting as much, Sigmund psychoanalyzed her. Was that analysis the erotic echo chamber that he warned analysis always is? Who was Dorothy Burlingham, a figure that most of Sigmund’s biographers have tirelessly ignored? How did Anna manage to live a full life and become a guiding force for analysts, educators, and humanitarians, all while devoting herself to her wary father as he aged and died? In HYSTERICAL, Anna tells her story for the first time.
Reviews and Endorsements:
"Completely absorbing and entirely believable, HYSTERICAL is both a lovely work and a treasure. This is the book we all wish Anna Freud had had the courage to write."
—Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author The Assault on Truth: Freud’s Suppression of the Seduction Theory and former Projects Director of The Freud Archives
"…[A] wonderfully insightful fictional glimpse into the Freud family dynamic and, most notably, its impact on Sigmund’s theories about lesbianism. How did Freud père receive the announcement that the daughter to whom he was closest—his right-hand girl and protégé—loved women? How did he deal with her long domestic partnership with another woman? Coffey’s presentation of what may have happened between Sigmund and Anna is nuanced, intelligent, and wonderfully persuasive."
—Lillian Faderman, author of Naked in the Promised Land: A Memoir
"…[A]bsolutely fascinating and interesting. Reading it brought up a lot of tears because of the memories it evoked about the people and the time. I was so happy to have Freud's relationship with his daughter revealed."
—Sophie Templer, 95-year-old daughter of controversial Freudian psychoanalyst Otto Gross
“Moving, irreverent, often very funny, and a remarkable tour de force, HYSTERICAL lets us eavesdrop at the keyhole of the Freud family. And, oh, what we learn!”
—Leonard Foglia, Broadway director of Thurgood, Wait Until Dark, and Master Class
“Rebecca Coffey’s imagination knows no bounds. She makes you believe this is exactly the way it all happened. HYSTERICAL is sad, funny, painful, strange, outrageous, and disturbing. If we can’t have Anna’s diaries, this is the next best thing.”
—Ellen Bass, author of The Courage to Heal
About the Author:
REBECCA COFFEY is an award-winning print journalist, documentary filmmaker, and radio commentator. Coffey contributes regularly to Scientific American and Discover magazines. She blogs about sexuality, relationships, crime and punishment, social media, and psychology for Psychology Today, and is a broadcasting contributor to Vermont Public Radio’s drive-time commentary series. Her most recent major work of journalism is the March 2012 eBook MURDERS MOST FOUL: And the School Shooters in Our Midst (Vook), which landed her appearances on Fox News, CBS Radio and NPR, among others. Her narrative nonfiction book UNSPEAKABLE TRUTHS AND HAPPY ENDINGS: Human Cruelty and the New Trauma Therapy (Sidran Press) was widely praised, and was named an Outstanding Academic Title by the American Library Association’s Choice magazine. Her television documentaries about health and mental health have been broadcast nationally. Coffey is also a humorist. Her NIETZSCHE’S ANGEL FOOD CAKE: And Other “Recipes” for the Intellectually Famished was published by Beck and Branch in 2013. Other humor has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Rumpus, and a large handful of literary magazines and e-zines.