Hysteria—the tormenting of the body by the troubled mind—is among the most pervasive of human disorders; yet, at the same time, it is the most elusive. Freud’s recognition that hysteria stemmed from traumas in the patient’s past transformed the way we think about sexuality. Studies in Hysteria is one of the founding texts of psychoanalysis, revolutionizing our understanding of love, desire, and the human psyche. As full of compassionate human interest as of scientific insight, these case histories are also remarkable, revelatory works of literature.
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About the Author
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was born in Moravia and lived in Vienna between the ages of four and eighty-two. In 1938 Hitler's invasion of Austria forced him to seek asylum in London, where he died the following year. Freud's career began with several years of brilliant work on the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system. He was almost thirty when, after a period of study under Charcot in Paris, his interests first turned to psychology, and another ten years of clinical work in Vienna (at first in collaboration with Breuer, an older colleague) saw the birth of his creation: psychoanalysis. This began simply as a method of treating neurotic patients by investigating their minds, but it quickly grew into an accumulation of knowledge about the workings of the mind in general, whether sick or healthy. Freud was thus able to demonstrate the normal development of the sexual instinct in childhood and, largely on the basis of an examination of dreams, arrived at his fundamental discovery of the unconscious forces that influence our everyday thoughts and actions. Freud's life was uneventful, but his ideas have shaped not only many specialist disciplines, but the whole intellectual climate of the last half-century.
Nicola Luckhurst is a lecturer in literature at Goldsmith’s College, University of London.
Table of Contents
Studies in HysteriaIntroduction by Rachel Bowlby
Preface to the First Edition
Preface to the Second Edition
I. On the Psychical Mechanism of Hysterical Phenomena (Preliminary Statement)
(Breuer and Freud)
II. Case Histories
1. Fraulein Anna O. (Breuer)
2. Frau Emmy von N. (Freud)
3. Miss Lucy R. (Freud)
4. Katharina (Freud)
5. Fr-ulein Elisabeth von R.(Freud)
III. Theoretical Issues (Breuer)
1. Are All Hysterical Phenomena Ideogenic
2. Intracerebral Tonic Excitation - Affects
3. Hysterical Conversion
4. Hypnoid States
5. Ideas that are Unconscious or Inadmissable to Consciousness, Splitting of the Psyche
6. Innate Disposition; The Development of Hysteria
On the Psychotherapy of Hysteria (Freud)
Hysterical Phantasies and their Relation to Bisexuality (Freud)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This new translation, by Nicola Luckhurst, of Freud's Studien über Hysterie is a remarkable achievement, surpassing James Strachey's classic translation. What makes it better? It stays very close to the text - obviously. Paradoxically, this means that the text is rougher, and more open. Luckhurst's translation preserves Freud's physical metaphors, the peculiarity of style and with this the feel that Freud is developing a new language for his new science, psychoanalysis. In this translation, Freud is not the dour, august professor but the young explorer discovering sexuality and desire. Luckhurst has an exquisitely sensitive ear for Freud's language. For example, she picks up a number of metaphors related to pregnancy, labor, and childbirth that had disappeared in Strachey's translation: 'These metaphors, often neutralized in earlier translations, seem important in that they indicate an unconscious feminine identification - by which I mean Freud's empathy (or counter-transference) for his patients as women and as mothers. Recovering these metaphors may allow hysteria to signify differently, as we hear Freud's patients dis-identify with their maternal or pregnant self, and project it into the psychoanalyst.' For anyone interested Freud and psychoanalysis, the Translator's Preface is worth the price of the book. In sum: this new translation of one of the founding texts of psychoanalysis is a great read - and it will change the way we read Freud.