Anna! Anna! Hello, Anna! I’m here Is something the matter? The doorbell. Didn’t you hear it? No. I’ll go Papa Mother’s gone out Aunt Minna’s still asleep She’s not well The doctor says she needs another operation on her eyes Come There was no one there – But – At the front door She was like an Amazon An Amazon painted by Rupert Marthi? I’m here! Hello? I’m here! – Marthi? – Minna! Marthi! We were expecting you tomorrow I got fed up with Prague In this weather even window-shopping palls Oh, how good it is to see you! – Ah – Oh, no, no Sigmund! Now, here we are – How splendid you look! – I… Eugh! I look like a…stalk caught in a thunderstorm! And you… Let me look at you Every inch the man of means I’ve put on weight, you mean What have you got in here? – Marthi, I don’t eat lunch – Nonsense! Come. I know the way Oh, I’m used to carrying it It’s full of books – How long can you stay? – We’ll see Oh, you have put on weight A good sign. You’re prospering – Despite what Marthi says – Why? What does she say? I understand we’re all your patients now Even the children aren’t safe from your scrutiny She wrote that you’re causing a scandal! – I hope so – Good! I want to hear all about it Eugh! Horrible old Vienna! How can you stand it? Our esteemed colleague, the late Maitre Charcot, insisted that a predisposition towards neurosis lay hidden in the womb of heredity But this evening I propose to argue that the decisive source lies in a no less mysterious but less remote territory and consists of real events in the patient’s own life Gentlemen, the predisposition to neurosis derives from sexual shock in childhood I, myself, have recently treated 17 cases whereby patient deciphering, the illness can be traced to a sexual assault in their earliest years In the main by teachers, nursemaids, governesses Saxa loquuntur, like stones, the memories of childhood,
mute for so long, speak to us and a thousand-year-old question of the origin of psychological disturbances can, at last, be answered Gentlemen, we have found what Charcot sought The true source of this many-watered Nile My dear Wilhelm, as you anticipated, my infantile seduction theory met with a frigid reception from the society of so-called physicians I shall not lecture there again In short, my isolation here is now complete and I must gather my forces for a long and solitary journey Rather a pleasant prospect were it not for my current state of mind My father is failing fast At 82, he has little heart for the fray This last illness is dreadful to behold and is evoking unforeseen turmoil inside me It’s as if I’ve used up all my ideas simply treading water And our household has been further shaken up by the arrival of Martha’s sister who presents herself as something of a free spirit and regards our settled routine with a humorous eye She says I’m growing fat She means bourgeois If only she knew Herr Baumann’s entertaining again On the stairs I passed the most enchanting creature Not the ori Alexander If you only knew how I miss the old town and the woods Even the mud. The mud in winter Remember the lupina and how a bridge…floods the water? Yes Promise me you’ll make professor Even if it means bowing the head No matter what it means You were a cruel child Your mother left me the others But I loved you Help me Sigi, please You’ll only tire him Go away! In order to understand, in order to rid yourself of the confused emotions, which haunt your adult life, you must go further back Back to a time when your very presence threatened to destroy your parents’ love and when your demands made a lover of one and an enemy of the other This inexorable family drama returns disguised in adulthood A landscape peopled for the grown-up boy by figures of threatening authority and reincarnations of motherhood, as it is for the grown-up girl by jealous maternal counterparts and likenesses of her father A landscape of ghosts I wet the bed Wait there It was the first time I’d heard my parents shouting at each other I’d come into their bedroom late at night and my father ordered me back to bed I could hear them shouting from my room I felt a strange excitement Fear and pleasure mingled Exultation Terror Mathilde, where’s Martin got to? – I can’t see Martin – He’s over there Minna, leave the girl She’s promised to keep an eye on him I’ll go! – Martin’s run off again – You’ll get used to it
Really, Martin can be so feckless The children seems all right to me She was a thoroughly obedient child Never stood up to anyone I often used to wonder why you chose her – You mean instead of you? – Oh, be serious! I loved her And now? Now I’m married to her And sooner or later you’ll take a cab A woman is like an umbrella Sooner or later, you take a cab That is, if you haven’t already found one I’m indiscreet, aren’t I? But you tell me so little Oh, they’re lovely! Put them there with the rest Then everyone can enjoy them They were for you Sigi Do you want your daughter to honor the Madonna? I did when I was a child It’s true. My nurse was a Catholic When my parents were away, she used to take me off to church I can still see her squat-ugly bulb before the candles Oh, yes, she taught me all about her Catholic heaven and, above all, about her Catholic hell And a few other things besides, she taught me – Oh? – Until she was dismissed For stealing That’s only something I’ve recently discovered Teresa was her name I’ve been remembering more and more about my childhood Including these other things the nurse taught you? She filled me with ambition She told me I’d become a great man And, on the other hand, made me feel very clumsy in a different department – And you remember all this? – It’s coming back I’m beginning to believe that dreams consist of things we’ve seen in infancy, while fantasies derive from things we’ve heard and neurotic behavior from the kind of sexual assault I’m increasingly concerned with Of course, that could all be nonsense, do you think? I? I should like your sincere opinion My sincere opinion isn’t worth a damn Come. We’ve lost the others You know what you were just saying now about Martha? Mmm I want you to understand, it’s very important for me to have someone who can bring me back to mundane things Very important She is the center of my life She says she’s going to Hamburg shortly, for a week or two – Mm – Why? I mean, why now? Before your father’s funeral It seems a little strange to me It isn’t strange at all Your mother isn’t well. They haven’t seen each other for a long time Besides, I’m not very easy to comfort at this moment I have no use for it You should also understand that certain aspects of my marriage have been fully amortized Amortized? What a word to use It’s the word that fits. Amortized Obligations paid on both sides to our mutual satisfaction It’s perfectly possible to make one’s peace with sexuality As I’m sure you’d agree Where did you learn that song? It’s Moravian
Is it? While I was a governess in Brune, then Possibly Have you finished work? – You don’t mind me singing to them? – Mind? I hope you’ll stay as long as you want I speak for Martha and the children You know that For you? Especially the children All the best people have two mothers A no less loved and influential foster mother, at any rate Leonardo, for instance. Oedipus Myself, of course What are you doing? You know the story of the bereaved husband who is discovered in the arms of the housemaid on the day of his wife’s funeral He looks round quickly and exclaims, “Do I know what I do in my grief?” – Do you feel grief? – No Not even today Nothing For so long I’ve felt only impatience and contempt Contempt for one’s father! No grief But I still feel as if I’ve been torn up by the roots It’s the matter of the way my whole life’s been going, not just the loss of Papa I feel as if a void is forming around me, professional and personal There’s no one I can talk to Except you and Fliess That is when you’re not protesting against my obscene ideas I don’t really believe in your protests – I think you’re quite unshockable – You think? My best memories of him are when I was a child taking me up into the mountains, into the woods It was a good time But my childhood was peculiar in a lot of ways that only now begin to fall into place Look, my father was old enough to be my grandfather He had sons my mother’s age They had children my age Imagine what that means She could have been my sister Your mother could? Well, she was the same age as my stepbrothers My playmates were my niece and nephew, the same age as me What a topsy-turvy world No wonder I felt I was the center of it The gravitational force among all those misplaced labels A mother, father, brother, niece, nephew all too young or too old for their status in my life I was holding them in orbit Since I’ve started studying the unconscious, I’ve become an endless source of interest to myself And what effect did it have on you, this topsy-turviness? When you say your mother could have been your sister?
It’s curious. I thought you were afraid of your mother Possibly Is she so frightening? What makes you say so? Your expression when we go to lunch on Sundays! And your stomach aches before we go That’s because I know her cooking! And because you know that she’s waiting to hear news of…fresh glories All the things your nursemaid promised Like any son – unless he’s a professor, he’s a failure – You admit that much? – And when I’m a professor, you’ll see She’ll still cook badly I might as well not bother What does it take to become a professor? Ah, to become a professor you have to be popular…and sound Then if the faculty votes for you, the minister submits the application for the imperial signature and unless you have this misfortune to be a Jew with obscene ideas, he signs and you get rich And does that matter to you? It isn’t the money Do you know why money doesn’t make us happy? Because we never wished for it in childhood It’s simple, isn’t it? All our deepest desires those that could afford us happiness derive from infancy If not the money then the fame at least – You wanted that in childhood? – I was taught to Yes, I shall apply for the professorship and go on applying, if my constitution can stand it It’s like the old Jew on his way to Karlsbad who gets thrown off the train because he hasn’t got a ticket They say, “Where are you going?” And he says, “To Karlsbad, if my constitution can stand it!” You do realize baptism is the ticket If I were to join the pitiful crew rushing to the cross, like Martha’s Uncle Jakob, I understand Mahler’s thinking of doing it for the directorship of the opera – I’d rather starve than crawl to Rome – Oh, I don’t know You’ve got a zest for martyrdom, it seems to me – That’s one qualification – To be Christian? You think? To be Christ, certainly, but that’s quite different I do fear poverty. From childhood It’s like the wild horses of the Pampas I remember reading about them when I was a boy Once they felt the lasso around their necks, they retain a certain nervousness for life I really did believe this most recent development, the seduction theory would make my name Far from it Even my patients are nervous of it and self-analysis is hardly profitable I have a banker, a distinguished neurotic, who had fled from me just as he was about to re-enact the crucial scenes That’s what makes it so difficult at the moment Trying to complete a map of childhood sexuality with the aid of grudging adults If I could make you understand you could help me The whole business is a mystery No one’s explored it yet Literally no one I have no authorities to guide me through this jungle, this primeval jungle in which, at first, as with the animals, all kinds of sexual zones, which are later prohibited, exert power The mouth and throat. The anus In time, we learn to turn up our noses at certain things Feces, for instance We feel shame and disgust Our sense of smell is recruited to this new and moral universe The beginnings of repression But at what precise stage has never been determined I believe that somewhere in this journey through our sexual prehistory, what overwhelms the ego and creates a psychosis, rather than a mere neurosis, is sexual abuse by adults Of that much I’m certain Unfortunately, my patients’ memories are really exact when it comes to the stages of infancy My own are equally hard to date However
If it were possible to investigate children’s reactions at different ages How would you do that? Quite simply It would involve testing their responses Without alarming them When I spoke to Martha about using our children, she was appalled I thought perhaps you might feel differently If I understand you mean present them with Feces, say, at a particular age, yes Or rather simply observe No Not while I’m here Then I shall have to go on trying to remember Using what inspiration I have to hand Sing me the song. The lullaby You can’t imagine how ugly Teresa was! Like some fairy-tale witch I’ve discovered the explanation as to why witches fly Can you guess it? Their broomstick is the great lord penis Tell me, does Martha ever complain? When you come away to these congresses of ours? Not in the slightest Why? Does Ida mind? Yes…a little You look tired. Why don’t you take a holiday away from the family? Go to Italy. I spent the most enchanting time there when I was convalescing I don’t want to go to Italy! Very well Did I tell you about a patient of mine, a woman, who persistently hallucinates enormous snakes? The meaning requires no explanation, obviously, but I thought that through her case, my idea of bisexuality might shed some light on the whole question of repression Yes, indeed I’ve been meaning to send you some novels by C.F. Meyer. Do you know him? The theme of bisexuality is very strong in his work Also, of incest between brother and sister – Oh? – Meyer, the novelist I would say he owes a lot to Nietzsche The idea that certain individuals can transcend taboos I understand it derives from experiences in his own life And it’s made me sensitive to certain resonances in my own After my sister’s death, I simply blot it out All my childhood emotions towards her Until when Ida came along It was like a reincarnation Perhaps you’d guessed I never felt able to tell you about it He, too, makes much of the Italian landscape Wilhelm, I’ve told you I don’t want to go to Italy I want to stay here and suffer And, God willing, unravel the workings of repression and solve the problem – By personal suffering? – If needs be! The last thing I want is to be surrounded by more symbols of repression All those churches Those dreadful saints and martyrs glorying in their pain, all carried up to heaven for denying their simplest instincts To love and war and wallow in what life has to offer us God knows it’s brief enough That’s all holiness is, saintliness The residue of sacrifice I refuse to find it beautiful What you’re talking about is mere piety Italian art is one of the wonders of mankind What does it amount to? Those upraised suffering eyes beneath their halos? The disguised blood lust of persecution! The persecution of any other race or creed that refuses to join them on their stations of the cross! The cross…it leads inexorably to the rack! You don’t suppose that for once you could surrender to the transcendent beauty of the images? Just that! Go to Rome To Orvieto
Instead of analyzing it Sigi I realize that things are going slowly for you at the moment in the field of theory but if patients are relatively few just at the moment My theory is fine My patients are fine I’m perfectly all right Doctor, it occurred to me since our last meeting You remember the business of my childhood dream about the black fellow I was chasing through a strange landscape and couldn’t catch It came up when we were discussing how my mother had been unable to make up her mind about her second marriage How I, myself, was experiencing difficulty in making important decisions Well, I think…I think I understand the connection now The black man was perhaps a Kaffir and as soon as that occurred to me, I saw that Kaffir was really, “Que faire?” meaning, “What shall I do?” Que faire Oh, you see, briefly, I had a French nursemaid My first love, so to speak Who no doubt seduced you Physically, you mean? Physically, Herr Doctor? When I saw the way he treated my brothers, physically, I mean The way he sat them on his knee, caressed them Whereas with me he was cautious and restrained It was left to me to make the advances Of course, I didn’t know why I was doing it, much less that it was wrong And for years I’ve succeeded in repressing the memory It’s only here with you that I can talk about it without feeling guilty It’s such a release Tell me, am I making progress? Marthi’s gone to bed I’ve made a serious mistake No, more than that I’ve made a fool of myself I don’t believe in my seduction theory My patients do. They feed on it They’re manufacturing stories for me, like the devil worshipers they are! – All of them? – I don’t know No, of course not But if I can’t tell truth from fiction Perhaps I’m taken in by everybody Everyone I meet It’s possible For a psychologist, you’re a surprisingly poor judge of people Hmm Yes! A poor judge of people Yes! Quite right! No doubt that’s why I make it my profession Just as poets are often those who find it hardest to express themselves I have decided I’m going away for a month To Italy With Marthi? Certainly not. With Alexander Martha doesn’t really enjoy sightseeing at my pace And the great thing about Alexander is, as a railway employee, he’s good at timetables Thank you…for being brisk with me I mean, about my work Besides, it’s nonsense The seduction theory’s perfectly good I’m just so tired, I can’t even trust my own ideas Have you read this? It’s a novel by Meyer Which one? Yes, I know it You do?
It’s remarkable Fascinating subject Where are you going in Italy? Lago Maggiore? No. No To Rome, I suppose. I don’t know I haven’t decided yet But apropos Rome, I have applied for the professorship And in Rome I shall be surrounded by Madonnas I shall tell myself that, after all, she did belong to our race A Jewish virgin Like you On the bottom left-hand corner of the fresco, dressed in black, we can see standing among the crowd, Signorelli himself, next to Fra Angelico…da Fiesole, his predecessor whose work on the frescoes was interrupted by his death Well, that would interrupt his work In the next fresco, the Antichrist can be seen performing his false miracles It’s me! Come in My God, it’s hot in here! Leave them shut! I’m sick of the sound of bells! It must be for vespers – They’ll soon stop – They never stop! Reminding the faithful that every instant is a guilty instant! That the end is near! That God’s church owns them, body and soul, as it does the streets and buildings, even the hours of the day! You must learn to put up with it, Sigi It’ll be worse in Rome We’re not going to Rome. Not tonight Why not? We’ve booked the rooms! What kind of a Jew are you?! You want to go to Rome to visit the whores or did you want to attend vespers in Rome? What’s the matter with you? You wanted to go to Rome Another time, as our great predecessor might have said What predecessor? How slow you are! Our Jewish predecessor Hannibal! Hannibal was a Jew? Of course! He was a Semite! According to one theory When Papa was dying all he could talk about was Freiburg The beauty of it The mountains, the woods Even the mud And all I could think of was the day some good Christian knocked his cap off into the street We were walking along, the man spat at him and sent his cap flying into the mud Do you know what he did? I can still see it He cringed stepped down, fetched the cap wiped it And came back to me a cringing Jew! There, read it They’ve turned down my professorship! Seeing them alone at night, I had no choice but to confess their splendor
But my Wilhelm, there was nothing transcendental about these images Nothing pure or abstract. Nothing I saw, at last, what had been hidden from me for so long The scales fell from my eyes when I turned in shame from my own image of the false Messiah to the crucifixion and the grieving women The effigies that had pursued me since my arrival here began to speak Madonna and child Maria Lactans bearing the breast at which human desire and hunger meet Pagan images, Wilhelm Not Christian icons Pagan images surviving like a brazen code Mother lust The universal longing for the mother A universal fantasy Had no one ever wondered why the infant Jesus is depicted not as a baby but as a tiny man? A supernatural man-child gazing up at the virgin from under fully-formed adult eyebrows? Why had it taken me so long to understand? It is the child who lusts, like pagan Oedipus, for the sublime erotic union, not the parent who abuses the innocent child The lusting infant at the breast was me The pagan Antichrist in every child mocking the pious gaze of civilized humanity On the journey home from Italy, it must have been in Breslau, I could see the gas lights on the station and I remembered another journey when we left Freiburg for Vienna I was barely four years old It was the first time I’d seen such lamps and with old Teresa’s stories still vivid in my mind, they made me think of burning souls in hell It was on that journey, in fact, that I first saw my mother naked And, as I now realize, of course, desired her She was occupied with little Julius, my brother Poor child, how I hated him His death sowed the first seeds of guilt in me which have been flowering gloriously in recent months By the time I reached Berlin, I was in a state of high excitement Even confusing Fliess with little Julius, my childhood rival I gave him short shrift, I’m afraid, but he’ll recover I wished you could have both been with me there in Italy Orvieto was my road to Damascus I feel like the founder of a new religion They’re Etruscan. Grave gifts A family portrait in terracotta Do you like them? They’re beautiful And relatively inexpensive My dear, forgive me. It’s bath time Don’t go. I’ve got more to tell you Best of all, I’ve come to understand all the distressing feelings towards my father that burst on me when he died with all the force of the unthinkable And they were only a mask for a greater long-lost rivalry for possession of my mother You see, no wonder Oedipus Tyrannus is the greatest of all dramas of destiny Every member of the audience was once an Oedipus And it’s still there – all around the Mediterranean, in every street and building where the Queen of Heaven is depicted, Regina Mater…nursing her son Can you imagine how I felt for the first time in Italy bracing myself against the banality of the image, shielding my eyes? And with good reason For there, painted all over Italy was the most primitive, the most licentious of heathen images! Not only permitted but sanctified by the Church and venerated by the faith It’s so obvious, you could miss it altogether
Like all the best hiding places Like the churches built on pagan sites “Minna sopra Maria.” That is Minerva sopra Maria It’s a church in Rome Oh And I thought they’d finally dedicated a shrine to me! Naturally, I was confusing you with the goddess of wisdom I’m coming Does it distress you, what I’ve been saying? It’s all right for you As a mother, your ideas make me feel…aghast There’s nothing you can do about it You may as well feel aghast Do you know what Fliess said when I told him about it? “Don’t let the artist in you overwhelm the scientist.” I didn’t expect that from him You understand, don’t you? We’ve found the key. The matrix Older than Athens, old as humanity itself, which can revolutionize our image of ourselves! After all the sentimental lies and empty piety of the centuries! It’s my supreme achievement A discovery fit to rank beside electricity, beside the wheel Nothing less Aren’t I to be allowed my moment of triumph? From what you’ve said, it seems to me that you’ve turned all your work on its head Now it’s the children who are the seducers? In their imaginations, yes In a passion play, we all try to forget but it surfaces again in every one of our adult attachments The mirror of our childhood drama How can you know if we’ve forgotten? Because I’ve lived through it again, been a child again these last few weeks In dreams In waking dreams, too Seeing childhood rivals in my dearest friends, renewing childhood love Why do you talk about your feelings that way, as though this were another one of your cases? It’s my only case And I’ve been astonished to discover how carefully one hides the really intimate things from oneself as much as from others It comes to the same thing As we grow up, we become strangers to ourselves, to the things we learn to call perversion – the natural things – incest, sodomy, murder And are you going to tell the world they’re natural? Yes But not that they should necessarily act on them On the other hand, suppose I were to argue that in the absence of God, revealed as a pitiful fantasy, there was nothing higher than enjoyment Shockingly immoral? More so than virtues for annunciation I’ve seen the rewards of virtue They terminate in my consulting room The Tarquins prophesied that he would conquer Rome who first should kiss the mother Metaphorically speaking, of course I had a dream last night I was in Prague Not that it looked like Prague but that’s was where I knew I was and I was walking with Count Thule of all peopleI He had some fascinating gossip to impart about Czech politics I only wish I can remember what it was Oh, please! Tell us later about your dreams Not while playing cards
Especially not while playing cards with Freud That doesn’t usually stop you As Sigmund’s the one who never lets us eavesdrop on his dreams Yes, very well The other day, I dreamt that I was climbing the stairs in a state of undress – Really?! – That’s quite enough! – 150 – Yes I know what Thule was telling me It wasn’t about Czech politics It was about Turkish politics – Alois, do shut up! – He was explaining the view that No, no, no! I find it interesting I have an hour free on Wednesday! – There you are – Thank you – Sigi? – Hmm? Is it true that a patient of yours recently put an end to herself? The nonsense people talk had said that you were too busy to see her Is that what you’ve heard? I heard that she hanged herself Not for the reason you mentioned Do you think I’d refuse to see a patient? You know me better than that! I said it was nonsense! The girl was demented! Who told you this? People everywhere, they’re all committing suicide At least that’s my impression It’s turning into an epidemic Last week, in our apartment, a young chap cut off his member Bled to death Apparently, the neighbors heard him shouting, “Nature! Nature!” Oh, please! Pass – It’s an epidemic! – It’s your bid! Solo Pass You know, when I was in Turkey, I was often struck by their extraordinary attitude to death The Turks They seem almost totally indifferent to it After a certain age, that is A sexual life is all that matters to them – No! – No, it’s true Once their active love life is over, as far as the Turk is concerned, his days are numbered Apropos numbers have you read the reviews of Fliess’s book? The one I saw described it as “a new kabbalah” I think his days are numbered! Have you read the book? I’ve dipped into it You’d have to be a mathematician Or a necromancer All that numerology Provided you make love every 23 days More often if you’re left-handed! All in all, it only lacks a dedication from the Faust A distant land awaits me in this secret book “From Nostradamus’ very hand…” “Now shall I read the starry night…?” You missed out a line “Nor for a better guide I look.” No wonder, since a better guide is what you lack Oh, a significant omission, Sigi And it’s “starry pole, ” not “starry night.” I wonder why you got it wrong Could it be that as an unremarkable family doctor of Polish extraction, as a Pole whose starry fortunes pale into insignificance beside the gifts of Wilhelm Fliess..? Oh, come, Sigi! Or are you trying to draw our attention to some other difficulty you’re experiencing with your own pole? Really! Is there nothing you won’t twist into some scurrilous meaning? Nothing perfectly innocent? I should have known better than to ask No, no. I often ask myself the self-same thing And the answer is yes. Sometimes Even Homer nods On certain occasions a cigar is only a cigar Marthi, I wish you’d come with me You know I can’t You can We’ll go as slowly as you like No more than two museums a day And one cathedral Alexander swears he won’t go anywhere with me any more unless I sign a document promising to catch the appointed trains We make appalling traveling companions Two berserk wills in head-on collision! You can understand why I want to go back
before the summer’s over and patients start returning, God willing Of course. Go then I thought that perhaps since Minna has never been to Italy I haven’t spoken to her yet but…if you can spare her By all means…ask her