Remarks below originally appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of the library newsletter, which can be read here.
In the course of her research of Marie Bonaparte’s and Lou Andreas-Salome’s biographies for a Freud Museum event, BPSI archival researcher, Susan Quinn, suggested we add the Andreas-Salome and Anna Freud correspondence to our collection: “…als käm ich heim zu Vater und Schwester”. Lou Andreas-Salomé Anna Freud, Briefwechsel 1919-1937. (“… as if I came home to father and sister”. Lou Andreas-Salomé – Anna Freud, Correspondence 1919-1937). This unique publication documents an extraordinary friendship between two women after they met each other through Sigmund Freud. Anna, 26 years old, had just finished analysis with her father and Lou Andreas-Salome, 60, had already been established as a prolific writer and a legend who inspired Rilke and Nietzsche, and was one of the first psychoanalysts to write about female sexuality. The letters span nearly two decades and reflect the struggles of Anna’s and Lou’s lives, their psychoanalytic ideas, as well as cultural and political events of the era. Published only in German so far, the volume is bound to become an important resource for historians and biographers. Cited below are excerpts from a letter Anna wrote following Lou’s stay in Freud’s household (p.10-12), generously translated for our readers by Cordelia Schmidt-Hellerau, PhD:
Anna Freud to Lou Andreas-Salome, Dec 26, 1921:
“My dear Lou,
I have to start my letter with many greetings from house companions: Betti again wants to kiss your hand and say thank you, and Fanny wants me to tell you that she thinks every day of you. But the whole house thinks of you often: early in the morning when it would be time to bring you your breakfast; at snack time when someone is needed to eat the crusts; and in the evening with Papa; and Sunday evening when we clean the dishes. Even the hot water in the kitchen is offended that nobody really appreciates it like you did. And if the house, which had you just for a bit, thinks of you that much, it’s most understandable that I do so, much more often. It is as if, while you were here, I put on a lot of weight and can now slowly feed on it while still savoring how good it all was<…>
<…> I’m a bit embarrassed that it’s so easy for me to say du (informal, instead of Sie) and Lou. If the others knew (fortunately they don’t) they would think of me as brazen, but I don’t think of it that way. And now since you have to listen to me, I will list everything for which I’m grateful to you: first of all that you came at all, of course, and then that you are unlike anyone I’ve ever known. And also that I could be with you so much and get to know you, and that you remember me kindly, and finally I’m grateful for your letter, which was the most wonderful Christmas event. And as regards this “bit of me” I want to add something: if ever you thought you could use all of me, (even if only it were in a Bavarian village, where you should be taken care of like this summer), then promise to let me know; I’ll be always somewhere and would quickly come and do what you want. I know you won’t believe it, but I always imagined that this to-be-in-the-world is something hostile, and good and beautiful are only those I can love.
Finally again all greetings from all within and outside the house, Papa, Mama, and Aunt Mathilde and Robert, Mausi and Edith and grandma, who always asks about you.
My saying goodbye is as heartfelt as it is reluctant … And if you don’t mind, I send you a kiss.
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