1st Edition

The Letters of Sigmund Freud to Jeanne Lampl-de Groot, 1921-1939 Psychoanalysis and Politics in the Interwar Years

Edited By Gertie Bögels Copyright 2023
    168 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    168 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Freud wrote 76 letters to the Dutch psychoanalyst Jeanne Lampl-de Groot between 1921 and 1939. These letters are personable, lively, and compassionate and convey his respect and caring for Jeanne, who was his patient, pupil, and eventually his esteemed professional colleague. The letters are sociohistorical documents that contain Freud’s thoughts about pertinent issues in psychoanalysis and the interwar sociopolitical situation in Vienna and Germany.

    Jeanne Lampl-de Groot was an internationally known psychoanalyst who published extensively on psychoanalytic theory and practice. She regularly wrote long letters to Freud when residing outside of Vienna, seeking his advice on personal and professional matters and discussing with him her evolving ideas about psychoanalysis, including her disagreement with Freud about female sexual development. It is unfortunate that Jeanne had her letters to Freud destroyed because it sometimes makes Freud’s somewhat elliptical responses difficult to place in context. For example, it is quite probable that she wrote detailed descriptions of her husband’s emotional issues, which Freud then merely alluded to. Because we don’t know the specifics of what she wrote, his responses remain ambiguous, and therefore problematic to translate. Nonetheless, Freud’s responses do reveal a great deal about Jeanne and her passion for psychoanalysis. The book also includes several of her letters to her parents, which allows the reader to get to know Jeanne’s intelligent, thoughtful voice, her thoughts about the evolving science of psychoanalysis, her experience during her psychoanalysis with Freud, and her concerns about the rise of anti-Semitism in Austria and Germany.

    This book introduces to its readers a very personable Freud and provides insight into his thoughts about the development of critical psychoanalytic concepts such as the death drive, masochism, lay analysis, and his changing views on the length of a psychoanalysis. We also hear about historical events in the 1920s and 1930s as we witness Freud and Lampl-de Groot move through their personal and professional lives with dignity and perseverance.

    Series Editor Foreword by Gabriela Legorreta


    Jeanne Lampl-de Groot: October 16, 1895 to April 4, 1987

    "My dear Jeanne": Sigmund Freud’s Letters to Jeanne Lampl-de Groot (1921-1939)

    Letter Fragments from Jeanne Lampl-de Groot to her Parents (1921-1923)



    Name Index

    Subject Index


    Gertie Bögels is a former psychiatrist at the Nijmegen University Medical Center and former co-editor of the Dutch Tijdschrift voor Psychoanalyse. Her publications include works on biography and psychoanalysis, narrative and imagination, child analysis, and intergenerational symptomatology.

    "Gertie Bögels makes accessible 76 carefully annotated letters written by Sigmund Freud to Jeanne Lampl-de Groot between 1921 and 1939. They show him as a colleague, a helper, a scientist, and a critical observer of the current political situation. Unfortunately, Lampl-de Groot had her letters to Freud destroyed. Nonetheless, the book deftly places her personality and the details of her life in historical context, and the reader will get to know her as a young woman making a place for female identity, not only in psychoanalytic theory but also as an active participant in the political debates within the international psychoanalytic movement of the time." - Stephan Hau (Psychoanalyst, IPA), Professor for Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychology, Stockholm University

    "What a beautiful book! It introduces us to an elderly Freud captivated by a young, ambitious Dutch woman who becomes a noted analyst and one of his confidantes. I was particularly impressed by Freud’s creativity and grandfatherly cordiality as he works tirelessly on into old age while bearing the pain and complications of his cancer with dignity." - Marc Hebbrecht, MD, psychiatrist, training analyst of the Belgian Society of Psychoanalysis

    "Over his lifetime, Sigmund Freud wrote thousands of letters to important contemporaries, colleagues, and friends, including more than 70 letters to Jeanne Lampl-de Groot. These letters give us a vivid glimpse into his relationship with a promising young doctor, who later became a close friend of the Freud family, and a female Nestor of the Dutch Psychoanalytic Society. The letters also reflect the cultural and political upheavals that marked the interwar years." - Suzy Schipper, psychoanalyst; clinical psychologist; member, Dutch Psychoanalytic Society

    Bögels’ beautifully and expertly edited and annotated book Sigmund Freud: Letters to Jeanne Lampl-de Groot 1921-1939 presents for the first time Sigmund Freud’s correspondence between 1921 and 1939 with the renowned Dutch psychoanalyst Jeanne Lampl-de Groot. This major contribution to the psychoanalytic literature shows a personable, supportive, and deeply engaged Freud, who as Jeanne’s psychoanalyst, friend, and mentor also provides astute commentary on psychoanalytic developments and societal issues, including the rising Austrian/ German anti-Semitism. Additionally, Bögels introduces Jeanne Lampl-de Groot through her intelligent, passionate letters to her parents, and we learn how her innovative conceptions on female psychosexual development influenced Freud. - Rita Teusch, Ph.D. Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst, Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute