|biography, Interpretation of
An outline biography
Sigismund Schlomo Freud was born on May 6th 1856 in
Freiberg (now Príbor, Czech Republic) His mother Amalia,
was actually the third wife of Jacob Freud and some twenty years
younger than her husband. Sigismund was the first child of their
marriage, seven more children were to follow. Jacob's earlier
marriages had produced two sons who were more a less of an age
with Amalia. The household was Jewish and Jacob earnt a fairly
modest living as a merchant in wool. In 1859 the family moved
initially to Leipzig and then, a few months thereafter, settled
permanently in Vienna.
Although Sigismund's early aspiration had been for a career in
law, he later decided to pursue a course in Medicine and entered
Vienna University in 1873. It seems that he became deeply
involved, from 1876, in researches into the central nervous
system to the extent that he neglected to closely pursue the
range of courses that would have allowed him to promptly qualify
as a doctor. Another source of delay being a compulsory one years
military service. As a result it was 1881 before he was awarded a
degree in medicine under the name Sigmund Freud (following an
adaption in his personal names of 1877).
Immediately subsequent to this graduation several years were
spent in Vienna working as a practical psychologist and lecturer
in psychology. In 1886 he established a private practice in
Vienna specializing in nervous disorders. He also got married to
Martha Bernays in that year.
Sigmund Freud worked in association with another Viennese
hypnotherapist named Josef Breuer in the preparation and
publication a learned paper (1893) that was later developed into
their publication Studies on Hysteria (Cathartic Method)
(1895), however his interest gradually moved away from the
investigation of neurological- physiological causes of mental
disorders towards the investigation of more purely psychological
causes of such disorders and in 1896 coined the term
Psychoanalysis to refer to the investigation of the psychological
causes of mental disorders.
In 1899, The Interpretation of Dreams, the book that
Sigmund Freud regarded as his most important work was published.
Although the orthodox medical profession in Vienna tended to look
upon his work with deep suspicion he was appointed as a professor
in Vienna in 1902 very largely as the result of the gratitude of
an highly influential patient.
By 1908 a group of psychologists interested in Freud's methods
formed themselves into the Viennese Association of
Psychoanalysis increasingly gained an international acceptance
as a method of psychological investigation. Delegates from five
countries attended a Freudian psychology congress in Salzburg in
1908. In 1909 Freud was invited, along with Alfred Adler and Carl
Gustav Jung to lecture at Clark University in the United States.
In 1910 an International Psychoanalytical Association was
Adler and Jung were associated with Freud in the
Psychoanalytic movement for a time but in Adler's case there was
a parting of the ways in 1911 and in Jung's case in 1913.
In 1923 Freud was diagnosed as having cancer of the jaw.
Nevertheless, during the next sixteen years, he remained
productive in Psychoanalysis but also in a broadening of his
interests into associated philosophical and cultural matters.
Freud's subsequently received many international awards and
recognitions of his work.
Other international developments were however less welcome -
Austria was threatened with being absorbed into Hitler's Greater
German Reich and effectively taken over by Hitler in mid-March
1938. Although Freud seems to have been personally irreligious he
and his family were very open to being classed, by the Nazis, as
Jews and as such saw the practical necessity of evading Hitler's
encroachments on their liberties by emigrating from Austria. In
the event the family relocated to London. Freud was at this time
in his early eighties and only survived until September
An outline biography