In this compelling book, the first in the new Freud Museum London series, Professor Brett Kahr describes how Sigmund Freud endured innumerable emotional pandemics during his eighty-three years of life, ranging from unsubstantiated accusations by medical colleagues to anti-Semitic abuse, the loss of one daughter to Spanish flu and the arrest of another child by the Gestapo, to his own painful cancer treatments and his final flight from Adolf Hitler’s Austria. Freud navigated these personal and political tragedies while simultaneously creating a method of healing which has helped countless millions deal with unbearable trauma and distress.
Through founding psychoanalysis, Kahr argues that Freud not only saved himself from destruction but also provided the rest of the world with the means to achieve a form of psychological vaccination against emotional and mental distress.
The Freud Museum London and Karnac Books have joined forces to publish a new book series devoted to an examination of the life and work of Sigmund Freud alongside other significant figures in the history of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and depth psychology more broadly. The series will feature works of outstanding scholarship and readability, including biographical studies, institutional histories, and archival investigations. New editions of historical classics as well as translations of little-known works from the early history of psychoanalysis will also be considered for inclusion.
Reviews and Endorsements
“A vivid account of how Sigmund Freud coped with the great 'pandemics' of his time, from the Great War and Spanish Flu to cancer and the Nazis. By assessing how my great-grandfather might have addressed COVID-19 – the pandemic of our own times – Professor Kahr opens up a series of insights into the life of the man who championed the radical innovation of actually listening to people suffering from mental affliction. Meticulously researched, and written with real pace, this book is a timely reminder of the psychological roots of our response to national trauma.” – Lord Freud, great-grandson of Sigmund Freud and President of the Freud Museum London
“Never has there been a time when Freud was needed so badly. Post-pandemic blues would not have been new to Freud as Brett Kahr describes in his phenomenal book, which I feel was sent to save us from confusion and turmoil. A must read!” – Jane McAdam Freud, artist, and great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud.
“Brett Kahr’s immersion in Freud – the gift that keeps on giving – will help us survive the trauma of pandemics in our own lives. Kahr draws insightful parallels from Freud’s own struggles and serves as a timely and fascinating reminder of the ubiquitous nature of pandemics and why suicide isn’t the answer.” – Professor the Baroness Hollins, Past President of the Royal College of Psychiatrist and Professor Emerita at St. George’s Hospital Medical School, University of London.
Table of Contents:
Prologue: Fundraising for Freud
Introduction: “Wouldn’t it be better if we all killed ourselves?”
Chapter 1: The Fraudulent Jewish Pervert: Navigating Decades of Collegial Hatred
Chapter 2: The Great War and the Spanish Flu: An Imprisoned Son and a Dying Daughter
Chapter 3: From Compulsive Cigar-Smoking to Deadly Carcinoma: Freud’s Battle with Physical Pain
Chapter 4: Death Wishes and the Nazis: How Freud Escaped from Austria
Chapter 5: Freud’s Recipe for Creativity and Survival: The Writing Cure and the Role of Penetrativity
Conclusion: If Sigmund Freud could have supervised Anthony Fauci
About the Author:
Professor Brett Kahr is Senior Fellow at Tavistock Relationships, in the Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology, London, and, Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Psychotherapy and Mental Health at the Centre for Child Mental Health. A registrant of both the British Psychoanalytic Council and the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy, he has written or edited nine books and serves as Series Editor or Co-Editor to the “Forensic Psychotherapy Monograph Series” and the “History of Psychoanalysis Series” for Karnac Books. He is also a Trustee of the Freud Museum London. He has worked in the mental health field for over thirty-five years. His most recent book is Coffee with Freud, and his forthcoming book is entitled Winnicott’s Anni Horribiles: The Creation of ‘Hate in the Counter-Transference’.