The Enigma of Anna O

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9781559212854: The Enigma of Anna O

The enigma of Anna O. was one of the most famous of the case studies in Sigmund Freud and Joesph Breuer's seminal book, Studies on Hysteria. Until 1953 when Freud's Biographer revealed her identity, no one was aware that the real woman behind the anonymous pseudonym was the renowned German Jewish Feminist, Bertha Pappeneim. Born to a wealthy orthodox Jewish family in Vienna, Pappenheim was related to some of the most recognizable names in Jewish society - the Warburgs, Guggenheims and the Goldschmidt-Rothchilds. When her father became ill, the then twenty-one year old developed strange symptoms and was treated by the family physician, Joseph Breuer. The treatment consisted if Bertha relating her dreams and her own fairy tales, a process she termed the talking cure, which later became the basis for Freud's theories of psychoanalysis.

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About the Author:

Melinda Given Guttmann was born in Chicago and received a B.A. and a M.F.A. from Columbia University. She is a professor of Speech, Theatre and Media Studies at John Jay College, City University of New York, an author, theatre critic, poet, performance artist and multi-media lecturer. She has written features and reviews for numerous journals and edited the anthology L'Imaginaire du Nucleaire , published by Editions de Tierce, Paris. A member of the Drama Desk and the American Theatre Critics Association, she is a writer for New York Theatre-Wire on the World Wide Web and is presently researching a project on Shamanism and Theatre. She lives in New York City.

From Publishers Weekly:

A sheltered Victorian "hysteric" turned Jewish feminist pioneer, Pappenheim was "Anna O.," the subject of one of Sigmund Freud's and Joseph Breuer's Studies on Hysteria, published in 1895, the same year she became the director of a Frankfurt orphanage for Jewish children. Although Pappenheim later refused to speak about her psychoanalytic experience, Guttmann suggests that Pappenheim "invented" the psychoanalytic "talking cure" alongside Breuer, whose sessions with Pappenheim led him to identify catharsis as crucial to psychoanalysis. That her contribution has gone uncredited until now is, in Guttmann's view, an ironic emblem of the patriarchal culture that Pappenheim ultimately sought to reform through social work and philanthropy. Guttmann is most secure in Pappenheim's well-documented years of energetic work on behalf of Jewish women and girls in Frankfurt between the turn of the 20th century and the 1930s. Her reconstructions of Pappenheim's early life among the affluent Viennese Jewish bourgeoisie, especially as Breuer's patient, are less convincing because, lacking primary materials, Guttmann relies heavily on speculation (the wildest concerns Pappenheim's relationship with Breuer). Guttmann, a professor of speech, theater and media studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a performance artist, is sensitive to the salutary powers of creativity and spirituality. In excerpts from Pappenheim's writings and in Guttmann's treatment, Pappenheim becomes less of an enigma but remains intriguing. Illus. not seen by PW. (on sale Apr. 30)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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