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Friday, February 19, 2016

Book Review 'Freud’s Mistress' by Karen Mack & Jennifer Kaufman



Sigmund Freud remains the father of modern day psychoanalysis, regardless of his notoriety and contributions, Freud suffered from several addictions from tobacco to cocaine, nevertheless, there is reason to conclude he suffered from another.


Eventually, either due to his mental state or the substance abuse, he developed agoraphobia and feared leaving his home and avoided appearing in public. Obviously, his students and colleagues came to him; ultimately, most all of his brilliant work transpired in a modest office inside his family residence.

Looking back, Freud’s theories, most assuredly stemmed from his personal behaviors? Of course, this is not to say that his theories were not correct, after all, one that visits hell can certainly provide a more accurate description of hell. In Freud’s Mistress the authors focus on Freud’s relationship with his sister-in-law.

Even when an extra-marital affair takes place at a distance, quasi-experts claim that the wife always knows when the husband is having an affair. Assuming that there is a shred of truth to this train of thought, it must be fair to conclude that if the husband's mistress is his wife's sister and the three of them live together for forty-five years, the wife most assuredly knows.

Was Sigmund Freud a sex addict? If the answer is yes, one might conclude, without effective birth control, Marth Bernay Freud accepted her husband’s affair with her sister, and perhaps, even welcomed it. By the time Minna Bernay moved in with her sister and brother-in-law, the Freud’s already had six young children.

Freud’s Mistress is a fictional story inspired by the love affair between Sigmund Freud and Minna Bernays, his wife Martha's younger sister.

Arguably, Carl Jung was the first to reveal publicly Freud's secret, and in 2006 a sociologist discovered proof that left little doubt about Jung's claim. Among the pages of an old guestbook, Freud's handwriting revealed that he and Minna Bernays had checked into a resort in Switzerland as husband and wife on August 13, 1898.

It seems Freud respected female intellectual capabilities at a time when the thought was taboo. Minna Bernays was one of Freud's most loyal confidants and on more than one occasion he made just such an admission. In addition, there is a collection of letters that further supports the idea that they shared a long-standing intellectual relationship.

In Freud’s Mistress, the authors combine the facts and a bit of creative liberty to speculate an interesting, well-researched, and believable account of the relationship between Freud, Minna Bernays, and his wife, Martha. Keeping with reality, worry not, as the authors did not disappoint in their portrayal of the often drunk cocaine addicted man, we call the father of psychoanalysis.

This is a story that will especially appeal to those who studied Freudian Theory. I listened to the audio version. The narrator added a very enjoyable interpretation of the characters.