Courtship Letters of Freud and Martha Bernays


Rita K. Teusch, PhD


Book Essay on Sigmund Freud, Martha Bernays: Die Brautbriefe, Band 2. Unser “Roman in Fortsetzunge” [The Letters during Their Engagement, Vol. 2. Our “Novel in Installments”]. Edited by Gerhard Fichtner, Ilse Grubrich-Simitis, Albrecht Hirschmüller,Wolfgang Kloft . Frankfurt a.M.: S. Fischer Verlag, 2013, 613 pp., €48.00.


In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:


In 2011 the first volume of the unedited courtship letters between Sigmund Freud and his fiancée Martha Bernays was published in Germany. With a German title translating as Be Mine as I Imagine You, it contains 230 letters written by the couple during the first year of their engagement. Volume 1 was reviewed by Christian Maetzener in JAPA 60/5 (2012) and by Riccardo Steiner (2013), whose broad review for IJP includes a wealth of historical and contextual information pertinent to understanding the complex emotional and sociocultural situation of the couple.


The second volume of the Freud-Bernays correspondence was published last year. Its title, Unser “Roman in Fortsetzungen,” in English Our “Novel in Installments,” is a phrase used humorously by Martha in describing her eager anticipation of Freud’s letters. Volume 2, which covers the first six months of the second year of the engagement (July through December 1883), includes 277 letters between Freud and his fiancée.


Three additional volumes of the correspondence are to be published in the next few years, each title a quote from the letters reflecting a predominant psychological theme in the period covered: Volume 3: Waiting Quietly and with Surrender, Waiting Struggling and with Exasperation. Volume 4: Traces of Our Complicated Existence. Volume 5: Being with You as You Are <…>


Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, April 2014; vol. 62: pp. 325-343.
Link to Online Publication (fulltext available in the library)


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