About Sigmund Freud
The Early Years - 1856-1886
Born in 1815, Sigmund Freud’s father, Jakob, was an importer of agricultural produce. His enduring image is that of a father who was pleasant and generous without being much of a stickler for authority.
First marriage: Jakob Freud marries Sally Kanner; from this first marriage came:
Amalia Nathanson, aged 17, married Jakob Freud, aged 37. She was barely older than the eldest of Freud’s sons. She was a lively woman. The wide age difference between Freud’s parents was rather atypical and left a great deal of room of the expansion of the maternal personality. Sigismund Schlomo Freud was born a year after Jakob Freud’s third marriage, on 6 May 1856, in Freiberg, a small market town in Moravia. (Sigismund finally became Sigmund at the age of 22.) From this third marriage came:
For economic reasons the family moved to Freiberg and then Vienna, where they settled once and for all by around 1860. Freud was four years old at the time. Family and friends described Sigmund as a happy, outgoing child, brilliant at school and later at the Leopoldstädter Kommunal-Realgymnasium. Before completing his secondary studies in 1871 at the age of 17, he read, corresponded with and showed an interest in the psychological thought of Ludwig Feuerbach and Johann Friedrich Herbart. He subsequently developed an interest in politics with some childhood friends and later met the philosopher Franz Brentano, who directed his thesis in philosophy. The young Freud’s interests were clearly geared towards the psychological and social dimensions of humanity, but his discovery of Carl Brühl’s essay Nature brought to a head his sense of calling and he decided to take up medicine, against the wishes of his father, who wanted to see him take over the family business to ease his heavy family responsibilities.
Joseph Breuer’s patient, Anna O., made a great impression on Freud. Under hypnosis she remembered all the details of the original situation in which her hysterical symptoms appeared. After the recollection of her traumatic affects, Anna O’s symptoms disappeared. Freud spoke of this without awakening any interest in Jean-Martin Charcot. Charcot had shown that such hypnotic manifestations were real. He had created new symptoms under hypnosis and conceived a clinical classification for hysterical symptomatology.
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