Lost Illusions

Toward the end of his life, Freud must surely have imagined at times that he had somehow wandered into his own real-life version of Karl Kraus’s drama The Last Days of Mankind. During his final decades, nightmarish political developments, painful physical illness, and deep disappointments in his relations with his …

How Jewish Was Freud?

Freud’s conception of scientific creativity as the “succession of daringly playful fantasy and relentlessly realistic criticism” may have served him reasonably well during his long and fruitful scientific career, but even his most committed admirers have looked on his last important work, Moses and Monotheism, as one in which fantasy …

Oedipus at Berggasse 19

On the title page of Peter Gay’s Freud is a drawing of Oedipus contemplating the riddle of the Sphinx, an appropriate emblem for the biography of a man bent on understanding life’s great enigmas. Gay sees this characteristic as a unifying thread in Freud’s life: “The only thing that gave …