Freud, Sigmund (1856–1939)

Sigmund Freud was an Austrian Jew who, forced into exile by the Nazis, ended his days in London. Recognized as a genius in his own time, his ideas were subsequently dismissed, although they are experiencing a revival today.

The fascination with, and trouble brought by, consumption intertwine Freud's life and work, from his early eulogy to the magical powers of cocaine, to his enduring addiction to tobacco that led to debilitating mouth cancer. In The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), he illustrates the distorting power of the psyche by citing an apparently simple act of nonconsumption. A butcher's wife describes a dream that appears to controvert Freud's thesis that dreams are wish fulfillments. She reports dreaming that she cannot hold a dinner party because it is Sunday, ...

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