Freud and the Child Woman

The Memoirs of Fritz Wittels

Fritz Wittels; Edited by Edward Timms

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January 24, 1996
200 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
50 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300064858
Cloth

Fritz Wittels (1880-1950) was a pioneering Viennese psychoanalyst, the first biographer of Freud, and friend and rival of Freud and of the great critic of psychoanalysis, the Viennese satirist Karl Kraus. Toward the end of his life, while living and practicing as an analyst in the United States, Wittels wrote a memoir of his early life and career in Vienna and his first impressions of America. Those memoirs are now published here for the first time, edited and introduced by Edward Timms, whose valuable explanatory notes reveal the identification of the "child woman" of the title, Irma Karczewska.

In his memoirs Wittels writes frankly and vividly about the erotic subculture of fin-de-siècle Vienna, early controversies within the Psychoanalytic Society, and the interactions between the two. Freud himself plays a crucial role in the story, and the erotic triangle in which Kraus, Wittels, and Irma Karczewska were involved is shown to have impinged directly on the activities of the famous Society. In his final chapters, Wittels reflects on the controversies that erupted in the New York Psychoanalytic Society during the late 1930s, especially his own opposition to the feminist psychology of Karen Horney.

Generously illustrated with a range of little-known photographs, this book sheds startling new light on the origins of psychoanalysis. It will appeal to historians of psychoanalysis, students of Freud, and anyone interested in the Viennese artistic avant-garde.

Edward Timms is professor of German and director of the Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Sussex. He is also the author of Karl Kraus: Apocalyptic Satirist and the co-editor of Freud in Exile, both published by Yale University Press.

"One of the major literary discoveries of the year."—Colin Wilson, Literary Review

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