Freud and Marie Bonaparte, in full

Full correspondence of Marie Bonaparte and Sigmund Freud

edition established and annotated by Rémy Amouroux

Translated from German by Olivier Mannoni

Flammarion, 1084 pages, €42

She calls him “beloved master” and even ” Dear father “. He answers her “Dear Princess” then ” Dear friend “. Between Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, and Marie Bonaparte, great-grandniece of Napoleon Ieran exceptional friendship developed from their meeting in 1925 until Freud’s death in 1939. Their correspondence, the last missing piece of Freud’s great correspondence, long awaited by historians of psychoanalysis, appears finally thanks to the agreement of the descendants of Marie Bonaparte.

These nearly 900 letters recount the personal link between the psychoanalyst and the one who was first his patient. When Marie Bonaparte comes to consult Freud in Vienna, at the age of 43, the extremely wealthy heiress is undermined by the failures of her love life. Freud, he is a doctor and practitioner recognized worldwide, but aging, already ill with cancer of the jaw which will eventually prevail.

First-class testimony

Over the months, Marie Bonaparte, full of admiration, confided to Freud the rawest details of her sex life, the experimental surgery and the adventures she multiplied in the hope of finding pleasure. In return, Freud knows how to avoid the illusions of transference, he strives to calm his anxieties, encourages him to dominate his “wild impulses” and regain her confidence. Over time, Marie Bonaparte became an active interlocutor and disciple, working to establish psychoanalysis in France.

This correspondence also recounts the rise of the Nazi peril during the interwar period, then the engulfment of scholarly and cosmopolitan Mitteleuropa. In 1938, Freud resolved to exile to London, with the help of Marie Bonaparte. Placed under the sign of sincerity, this correspondence offers first-rate testimony to the life and analytic practice of Freud.


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