Are we repressing?

Journalists love anniversaries, but I'm surprised that hardly anyone has noticed a significant one: this month is the centennial of Freud's first and only visit to America.

Sigmund Freud hated America. He couldn't stand being called "Sigmund" by his informal hosts. He believed that Americans had channeled their sexuality into an unhealthy obsession with money. And he seethed at his own need for the dollars that we had in such unseemly abundance. "Is it not sad," he wrote to a German friend after World War I, "that we are materially dependent on these savages, who are not a better class of human beings?"

But while Freud loathed all things American (except its currency), the feeling was anything but mutual. "No nation outside of Germany and Austria was more hospitable to psychoanalysis than America," notes Mark Edmundson in "The Death of Sigmund Freud" (2007). Freud may even have anticipated the eagerness with which Americans would embrace his theories. "We are bringing them the plague," he reportedly told colleagues when disembarking in New York. "And they don't even know it."


Read the rest here.


Presented by

Daniel Akst

Dan Akst is a journalist, essayist and novelist who wrote three books. His novel, The Webster Chronicle, is based on the lives of Cotton and Increase Mather. More

Dan Akst is a journalist, novelist and essayist whose work has appeared frequently in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Wilson Quarterly, and many other publications.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Business

Just In