06/19/2024, 13:10, Vienna  DEUTSCH / ENGLISH

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Leading articles

THE VIENNA PSYCHOANALYST wants to give not only already internationally established psychoanalysts, but also still unknown psychoanalysts the opportunity to post a self-written and not yet published article on the FrontPage of our online magazine!

Our Users then can leave comments, ask questions or discuss the articles in our forum. Our aim is to provide an international platform where for the first time anyone interested in psychoanalysis can exchange ideas on certain topics.
Articles are welcome in German and/ or English.

If you are interested, please send your article to

(For reasons of readability, the male form is used with personal names, however the female form is also always intended.)




In our interview series "in conversation with“, we will briefly present the authors of the leading articles. We want to give our users the opportunity to read the leading article from a different point of view.

This week we are very glad to welcome Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson:

Well, I was born in 1941 in Chicago, USA.  I taught Sanskrit for many years at different universities (UC Berkeley, U of Toronto), and trained as a psychoanalyst in Toronto in 1971 and graduated as a full member of the International Psycho-Analytical Association in 1979.  I was briefly Projects Director of the Sigmund Freud Archives.  I was fired in 1981 and my membership in the International Psycho-Analytical Association was taken away.  I published the Assault on Truth:  Freud´s Repression of the Seduction Theory in 1984, and the Freud-Fliess Letters in 1985.  Since then I have published some 27 books some about psychiatry, some about animals, and some about other topics.  I am married to a German pediatrician, and have one daughter from a former marriage who lives in California as a Nurse-Practitioner, and two boys with Leila Masson, Ilan, 18, at the University of Melbourne, and Manu, 13, living with us in Berlin.  We will move to Sydney, Australia, in January, 2016.  I am now writing a novel about the Holocaust, called, tentative, Evian, 1938.  It takes place in Vienna, Geneva, Berlin, Malaga, and Evian.

DWP: It is undeniable that the publication of the Freud Fliess letters are immeasurably precious for the psychoanalysis, because they not only keep a young Freud alive but they also reflect the relationship to Fliess and the development of psychoanalysis. Do you also believe that Freud has destroyed the Fliess letters? If so why? If not, do you have any supposition of where they could be?

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson: I am afraid that Freud did destroy the Fliess letters. I don´t think he did so for any dark reasons, but simply because most people do not keep the letters they receive. I certainly don´t. I think it is amazing that Fliess kept Freud´s letters, especially given how badly they fell out later.  We are so lucky to have them. Really one of the great documents of intellectual history in the whole world. 

DWP: In the Freud Fliess letters it becomes clear that some of Sigmund Freud’s letters to Wilhelm Fliess are missing, did you ever get any clues on what could have happened to them, or if they might still exist?

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson: I guess I didn´t realize that. But it has been so many years that I worked on this, I may be wrong. But certainly all the letters that Anna Freud originally had were preserved. I am sure she never destroyed anything. 

DWP: You mention that you after the conflict had never contact with Anna Freud; have you ever had contact with other members of the Freud family, or has there been any attempt of contact?

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson: No. I think I was in touch with Sophie Freud Loewenstein for a while, but it did not come too much. I am afraid I am persona non grata for the extended Freud family, and even for most analysts, alas!

DWP: If you think of Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis nowadays, what feelings and attitudes emerge in you? What do you think of today’s psychoanalysis and psychoanalysts?

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson: Well, it has been hard for me to be objective, because I did suffer quite directly.  My best friend at the time, who became a high official in the world of international psychoanalysis, would no longer have anything to do with me. I saw analysts literally cross the street so as not to have to say hello. These were people with whom I was friendly just hours before! It does not inspire much confidence in human nature. I don´t think I know a single analyst today. 

DWP: As we know, in years you no longer involve yourself in matters of psychoanalysis, but you live in Berlin, in one of the most historic cities in regard to psychoanalysis. Are you sometimes tempted to occupy yourself with psychoanalysis again?

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson: Well, actually I am living in Malaga. But yes, I will be going to Berlin in a few weeks time, and will spend six months there. I will also be visiting Vienna, and while there I hope to do some research for a novel I am writing about the Evian Conference in 1938, called by President Roosevelt to see what could be done to help the Jews (nothing as it turned out). Because Hitler actually forced a Jewish ENT specialist, Heinrich von Neumann, from Vienna, to attend the conference, and almost nothing is known of what happened to him as a result. It fascinates me.

DWP: If you had the opportunity to talk with Sigmund Freud, what would other than the Suppression of seduction theory be? Are there any specific questions?

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson: Yes, there are many questions I would love to ask him. Quite apart from the sexual abuse issue, I would like to ask him what he believed about trauma in general, and how important it was for him. I would like to ask him about specific books he brought back from France: which had he read? And of course I would like to know more about his feelings for Sandor Ferenczi. Also, if I had the courage, I would ask him if he knew that his daughter was homosexual and whether that bothered him. I would hope he would say no! 

DWP: Do you have a favorite Freud - quote?

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson: "A man can be in love with a woman for many years and not know it until years later."
Actually, there are probably 100 sentences of Freud that I dearly love! He was a great writer, in my opinion, the best stylist of any scientific writer I have ever read, even Darwin!

Thank you very much for this conversation, we are already looking forward to your leading article!

Contact information of the author:
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

Sigmund Freud Museum SFU Belvedere 21er haus stuhleck kunsthalle
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