Freud's Seduction Theory - Allen Esterson

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I would suggest that importance of the debate about Freud's Seduction Theory is not any of the specifics, but rather that folks continue to assume a single magic key to answer all questions. Masson's most important contribution was the translation and publication of the total Freud-Fliess correspondence, which exposes the real issues of the Seduction theory and far more though loyalists continue to refuse to see the facts hidden in plain sight. In the relevant letter where Freud gives up the Seduction theory and his hopes of gaining fame by it, the reason is quite clear. It has nothing to do with any woman or her experience. It is himself who is the hysterical girl, and it is his refusal to accuse with father (who had died just a year before to ever growing admiration by Freud) which is the sole reason given. The reference to himself as the disappointed bride, etc., is apparently a tough one for Freudians, for the essence of the correspondence is that Freud viewed himself as Fliess' s hysterical, neurotic, and very submissive wife.

The Seduction theory is small potatoes, more to the point is how much of the Emma Eckstein surgery was the result of Freud encouraging Fliess to do what may well have been the only nasal reflex surgery upon her. How much of the poor results were due to it being a fantasy born of the relationship of Freud and Fliess (and perhaps intensified by their own applications of cocaine to their nasal membranes) is yet to be explored. Fliess was an excellent surgeon, on the same day he operated upon Dora Breuer to excellent results attested by her letter of thanks to him.

The objective view of what went into the origins of psychoanalysis is yet to be published. It has far less to say about Freud than it does about the blind faith of his followers. Freud is a genius whether his work is the creation of a new science or psuedoscience or even just a fictional fan club like a franchise of Sherlock Holmes detective agencies.

Frank R. Kegan, Ph.D., student in Psychology
12 July, 1998.
Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young - Last updated: 28 May, 2005 02:29 PM

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