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10 The Story of "Emmy von N.": A Critical Study with New Documents [1977] EVERYONE who has read the Studies on Hysteria (1895) by Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud knows that this work begins with the detailed story, reported by Breuer, of the illness and treatment of a young hysterical woman, "Anna O.," whose real name was Bertha Pappenheim.1 The Studies on Hysteriathen continues, under Freud's signature, with theclinical observations of four other hysterical women.The first of these patients is pseudonymously named "Emmy von N." In the intellectual history of psychoanalysis, Emmy von N.'s story marks the beginningof a long evolution that would lead the young Freud from Breuer's cathartic method tohis own therapeutic method, the free associative technique of psychoanalysis. Her case is of interest and importance for other reasons, too. Up until now, almost nothing has been published about this enigmatic case.The credit belongsentirely toOla Anderssonfor first investigating the case, including questioning several witnesses who had known the patient personally and reconstructing other parts of her life story following her treatment by Freud. But Andersson, out of respect for the patient's family, did not actually reveal Emmy von N.'s name, but only informed a small group of psychoanalysts of the results of his investigation in a report that has remained unpublished.2Since Andersson's work,however, theidentity of Emmy von N. has been widely diffused.3 The patient in real life was Fanny Moser, the widow of a great industrial businessman of Schaffhausen , Switzerland. In this article, I will continue from the investigations of Ola Andersson.I will begin with a summaryand critical examination of the case-historical account of Emmy von N.'s neurosis, according to the "L'histoire d"Emmy von N.': Etude critique avec documents nouveaux," L'evolution psychiatrique, 42, no. 3 (July—September 1977), 519-40. 1 Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud, Studien uber Hysterie (Vienna, Deuticke, 1895), 3789 . 2 Ola Andersson, "A Supplement to Freud's Case History of 'Emmy von N.' in Studies in Hysteria, 1895" (Unpublished essay obligingly provided by the author). 3 See notably Karl Schib, "Heinrich Mosers Briefwerk," Schaffhauser Beitriige zur vaterlandischen Geschichte, 47 (1970), 80. 274 T H E G R E A T P A T I E N T S way that Freud recorded it in 1895. Then I will place this medical episode within the chronological course of events of the patient's life.Finally, I will attempt tosketch the distinctive familial, social, and cultural environment of the patient in order to make more comprehensible her particular neurosis. Among the materials I will use, special attention will be paid to two unpublished documents.The first one is Fanny Moser's guest book.This is a beautiful album, made of fine-quality paper with a spun leather binding and metallic fasteners, decorated with fancy armorial bearings. It contains many signatures and inscriptionswritten by Fanny Moser'sguests at one of her villas, in Au, close to Wadenswil, on the shores of Lake Zurich.4 The first inscription in the guest book isdated 1888 and thelast one September 10, 1924. The second source consists of the detailed autobiography of Mentona Moser, Fanny Moser's younger daughter. Unfortunately, this autobiography, a copy of which is housed at the Schaffhausen Archives, remains unfinished.5 Freud's Account of the Case in 1895 Freud's professional discretion compelled him to label his patient with a pseudonym and to make her place of residence Livonia, instead of Germanic Switzerland. He may also have changed the chronology of the case for the same reason. Freud's report begins on May 1, 1889. Emmy von N. had spentsix weeks in Vienna, where she was undergoing a treatment with one of the best-known physicians in the city. At one point, this doctor referred her to Freud for further treatment. Emmy von N. was 40 years old at the time, although she looked younger. She had a strained appearance, and she spoke with difficulty, in a low voice, with pauses in her speech. Freud also noted the continuous mobility of her fingers and the frequent twitches of her face. Every few minutes, her face momentarily took on an expression of horror and disgust,and she would exclaim, "Keep still. Don't say anything. Don't touch me," as if she were defending herself against some fear or hallucination. Nonetheless,Emmy von N.'s speech wascoherent . The patient reported that she was the thirteenth of fourteen children. Her...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400863426
MARC Record
OCLC
889252753
Pages
428
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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