Anna O

Topics: 1967, 1975, 1977 Pages: 16 (5901 words) Published: April 2, 2013
1 ANNA O. - BERTHA PAPPENHEIM: A CHRONOLOGY OF HER LIFE AND TREATMENT BY Richard G. Klein (New York City) This chronology will be updated on a regular basis—stay tuned. The chronology that follows was put together in order to help me make better sense of the founding case of psychoanalysis, the case of Bertha Pappenheim or Anna O as she is known in the analytic literature. The text has been divided into five different time divisions. Events found in sections A through D are drawn mainly from Joseph Breuer’s published account of the case (see Studies on Hysteria, Volume II, Standard Edition of Freud’s Complete Psychological Works, page 22). Time E, covering Anna O’s stay at Bellevue Sanatorium, includes information found in Henri Ellenberger groundbreaking essay “The Story of `Anna O’: A Critical Review”. Albrecht Hirschmüller’s biography of Breuer “The Life and Work of Joseph Breuer” as well as Elizabeth Loentz’s wonderful book Bertha Pappenheim (Let me Continue to Speak the Truth) - published in July of 2007 - have helped me to identify a number of key events in Bertha Pappenheim’s life following her “psychoanalytic years”. This chronology, needless to say, remains a work in progress. I have no doubt that psychoanalytic scholars will continue to discover critical information about her life. In addition to the sources already mentioned, the chronology has also benefited from information found in the following books and articles: *) Melinda Given Guttmann’s The Enigma of Anna O.: A Biography of Bertha Pappenheim. Moyer Bell (2001) *) Richard Skues’s Sigmund Freud and the History of Anna O.: Reopening a Close Case. Palgrave Mcmillan (2006). *) Mikkel Borcht-Jacobsen’s Remembering Anna O.: A Century of Mystification. Routledge (1996). *) Published as well as private papers by Peter Swales. *) John Forrester’s “Cure with a Defect”, in The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, No. 80: 929-942 (1999), as well as “The True Story of Anna O.” found in Forrester’s book The Seductions of Psychoanalysis: Freud, Lacan and Derrida. Cambridge University Press (1991)

2 *) Nicholas Rand’s “The Talking Cure: Origins of Psychoanalysis” in Talk, Talk, Talk, the Cultural Life of Everyday Conversation, edited by S.I. Salamensky. Routledge (2000) Studying the psychoanalytic literature on Anna O has led me to group scholars who have written about the case into six separate and distinct camps: 1) The Orthodox Freudians: Anna O was never cured if only because she never married nor had children. 2) The Lacanian Camp: As the first analytic patient and a co-founder of psychoanalysis the Anna O case has still much to teach us. 3) The Organicists Camp: Anna O was not a hysteric (hysteria does not exist) and must have suffered from epilepsy, Tourette’s syndrome, ADD, or autism. 4) The Borcht-Jakobson Camp: Breuer and Freud were conned and so were we. 5) The Alice Millerian Camp: Anna O must have been sexually molested by Siegmund Pappenheim, her father. We need only look more closely at her symptoms 6) The Jewish Feminist Camp: No need to ponder the first part of Bertha Pappenheim’s life and her treatment experience with Josef Breuer. She was the founder of Jewish feminist movement and that in itself is enough to insure her a place in history Bertha Pappenheim experienced a number of ‘absenses’ both before and during her time in treatment with Breuer. These included the absence she suffered after her father passed away and the one that followed after Breuer decided to terminate her treatment. The thought of mapping out the Anna O case in chronological order came to me after I developed the idea of writing an essay wherein I planned to interpret her ‘absences’ by appealing to the linguistic similarity found between the German words ‘Absenzen’ and ‘Abszesse’, the latter being the German term for her father’s illness. The fact that Anna O lost of her ‘mother tongue’ (German) while in treatment with Breuer, I thought, offers an important clue that...

18 1893: On the Psychical Mechanism of Hysterical Phenomena: A Lecture, see pages 29-30 1895: Studies on Hysteria 1910: Five Lectures on Psycho-Analysis, see pages 9-15, 17-22, 24, 26 in particular 1914: On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, see pages 11-12 1917: Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis, Part III, page 279 1923: Two Encyclopaedia Articles, page 235 1924: A Short Account of Psycho-Analysis, page 193 1925: An Autobiographical Study, see pages 19-22, particularly pages 2122: “But over the final stage of this hypnotic treatment there rested a veil of obscurity, which Breuer never raised for me: and I could not understand why he had so long kept secret what seemed to me an invaluable discovery instead of making science the richer by it.” Also page 26: “After the work of catharsis had seemed to be completed, the girl suddenly developed a condition of ‘transference love’; he [Breuer] had not connected this with her illness, and had therefore retired in dismay.” 1925: Psycho-Analysis, pages 263-264 1925: Josef Breuer, (Obituary); page 279-280 THE AFTERMATH OF THECASE HISTORY: BREUER & BERTHA PAPPENHEIM 1925 (Jun 20): Death of Josef Breuer at age of 83 1925 (Oct 17): enigmatic entry by Marie Bonaparte in her journal: “Breuer and Fräulein Anna O. Confession 10 years later” (as reported by BorchJakobson) page 99 1927 (Dec 16): Appears to be the actual date of the entry in the Marie Bonaparte journal, as told to Borch-Jakobson by Elisabeth Roudinesco, page 100: “The 16th of December [1927], in Vienna. Freud told me the Breuer story. His wife tried to kill herself towards the end of Anna=Bertha’s treatment. The rest is well known: Anna’s relapse, her fantasy of pregnancy, Breuer’s flight.
19 Breuer’s daughter questions her father about the incident. He supposedly confessed everything that Freud had written in the Selbstdarstellung. Breuer to Freud: What have you got me into? Freud (to Marie Bonaparte): “If you had known Breuer, he was a great mind, a mind quite superior to me. I had only one thing: courage to stand up against the majority, faith in myself….” (Date ?) Breuer, plaintively: “We are always less alone than we would like to believe.” 1932 (Nov 20): Letter from Freud to Sir Arthur Tansley, F.S.R. indicating that Anna O. had achieved a “cure with a defect” 1936 (Thursday, May 28): Bertha Pappenheim dies at Isenburg Austria at age of 77 1939 (Saturday, Sep 23): Death of Sigmund Freud in London at age of 83 1953: Ernest Jones writes the following in the opening volume of his biography of Freud: Freud has related to me a fuller account than he described in his writings of the peculiar circumstances surrounding the end of this novel treatment. It would seem that Breuer had developed what we should nowadays call a strong counter-transference to his interesting patient. At all events he was so engrossed that his wife became bored at listening to no other topic, and before long jealous. She did not display this openly, but became unhappy and morose. It was a long time before Breuer, with his thoughts elsewhere, divined the meaning of her state of mind. It provoked a violent reaction in him, perhaps compounded of love and guilt, and he decided to bring the treatment to an end. He announced this to Anna O., who was by now much better, and bade her good-by. But that evening he was fetched back to find her in a greatly excited state, apparently as ill as ever. The patient, who according to him had appeared to be an asexual being and had never made any allusion to such a forbidden topic throughout the treatment, was now in the throes of an hysterical childbirth (pseudocyesis), the logical termination of a phantom pregnancy that had been invisibly developing in response to Breuer’s ministrations. Though profoundly shocked, he managed to calm her down by hypnotizing her, and then fled the house in a cold sweat. The next day he and his wife left for Venice to spend a second honeymoon, which resulted in the conception of a daughter;
20 the girl born in these curious circumstances was nearly sixty years later to commit suicide in New York.” (pg 224-225) In his book The Life and Works of Josef Breuer, Albrecht Hirschmüller corrects Jones’s mistake, writing, on pages 357-358 and apropos Breuer’s daughter (Dora): [Dora] Born 11 [of] March 1882. She never married. She refused to emigrate after 1938 so that she could offer help to the Schiff family, who were in distressed circumstances. When she was about to be arrested by the Gestapo she took poison, and died twenty-four hours later in a hospital [this was in 1942, according to page 416 of the same text]. There is, however, evidence that a niece of Josef Breuer committed suicide in the United States out of grief for the death of her mother and sister. Her name was Elisabeth Schiff and she was the daughter of Josef Breuer’s daughter, Marguerethe and her husband, Dr. Arthur Schiff. Lacan refers to Jones account in Seminar XI, page 158, by saying: I will give you the beginning of a good proof; namely that Breuer, setting off for Italy with his wife, lost no time in giving her a child, as Ernest Jones reminds his interlocutor—a child which, from being born in these conditions, says the imperturbable Welshman, had just, at the moment when Jones was speaking, committed suicide. The Frenchman has unfortunately taken the ‘imperturbable Welshman’ at his word, perhaps without having heard that Anna Freud often referred to him as ‘that Welsh liar’. The entire Bertha Pappenheim (Anna O) case, to be sure, remains puzzling and enigmatic. It is, however, symbolically ironic that a German postage stamp issued during the 50’s with Bertha’s image has helped to insure that countless letters indeed managed to reach their destination. 1883 Jul 12 visit to Breuer until 2:00AM discussing Bertha Pappenheim
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