Freud’s Vienna

31 Aug

I’m not a compulsive seeker of Freud’s Vienna, but I do find articles and books interesting that address Freud’s complicated relationship with this city, so imagine my surprise to find the following lengthy article in the weekend edition of the International New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/31/travel/freuds-city-from-couch-to-cafes.html

Without doing any extensive fact-checking I can correct a few points:

– The university campus with the outdoor cafés Stephen Heyman writes about was, until about 15 years ago, the General Hospital. Freud would not have known it as a campus. The university as Freud knew it was centered around the building on the Ringstrasse, formerly on Dr-Karl-Lueger-Ring now on Universitätsring, a change of name rich in Viennese history.

– The “Narrenturm” on what is now the campus was revolutionary in its day (late 18th century) for its humane treatment of psychiatric patients. As I overheard one guide telling a group, many people who were treated in that facility would, before the “Narrenturm” existed, for example, have been burned at the stake as witches. Granted, psychiatric patients did have it somewhat easier after Freud and his pupils brought in their revolutionary theories, but it is all relative.

My favorite source for a quick fix of Freud’s Vienna is Frank Tallis. He is a practicing psychologist in the UK who has created a fascinating detective team of a Catholic detective inspector in the Viennese police and a Jewish pupil of Freud’s. Together they solve mysteries around opera singers and freemasons in turn-of-the-century Vienna, and when they are not solving crimes they are making music together. In the tradition of the day, the psychoanalyst is an accomplished amateur pianist and the police inspector has a lovely baritone voice.

See: http://www.franktallis.com/

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