Cover image for The enigma of Anna O. : a biography of Bertha Pappenheim
Title:
The enigma of Anna O. : a biography of Bertha Pappenheim
Author:
Guttmann, Melinda Given, 1944-
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Wakefield, R.I. : Moyer Bell ; Berkeley, CA : Distributed in North America by Publishers Group West, [2001]

©2001
Physical Description:
413 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes stories by Bertha Pappenheim.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781559212854
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library DS135.G5 P344 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

The enigma of Anna O. was one of the most famous of the case studies in Sigmund Freud and Joesph Breuer's seminal book, Studies on Hysteria. Until 1953 when Freud's Biographer revealed her identity, no one was aware that the real woman behind the anonymous pseudonym was the renowned German Jewish Feminist, Bertha Pappeneim. Born to a wealthy orthodox Jewish family in Vienna, Pappenheim was related to some of the most recognizable names in Jewish society - the Warburgs, Guggenheims and the Goldschmidt-Rothchilds. When her father became ill, the then twenty-one year old developed strange symptoms and was treated by the family physician, Joseph Breuer. The treatment consisted if Bertha relating her dreams and her own fairy tales, a process she termed the talking cure, which later became the basis for Freud's theories of psychoanalysis.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

A sheltered Victorian "hysteric" turned Jewish feminist pioneer, Pappenheim was "Anna O.," the subject of one of Sigmund Freud's and Joseph Breuer's Studies on Hysteria, published in 1895, the same year she became the director of a Frankfurt orphanage for Jewish children. Although Pappenheim later refused to speak about her psychoanalytic experience, Guttmann suggests that Pappenheim "invented" the psychoanalytic "talking cure" alongside Breuer, whose sessions with Pappenheim led him to identify catharsis as crucial to psychoanalysis. That her contribution has gone uncredited until now is, in Guttmann's view, an ironic emblem of the patriarchal culture that Pappenheim ultimately sought to reform through social work and philanthropy. Guttmann is most secure in Pappenheim's well-documented years of energetic work on behalf of Jewish women and girls in Frankfurt between the turn of the 20th century and the 1930s. Her reconstructions of Pappenheim's early life among the affluent Viennese Jewish bourgeoisie, especially as Breuer's patient, are less convincing because, lacking primary materials, Guttmann relies heavily on speculation (the wildest concerns Pappenheim's relationship with Breuer). Guttmann, a professor of speech, theater and media studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a performance artist, is sensitive to the salutary powers of creativity and spirituality. In excerpts from Pappenheim's writings and in Guttmann's treatment, Pappenheim becomes less of an enigma but remains intriguing. Illus. not seen by PW. (on sale Apr. 30) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Bertha Pappenheim (1859-1936), a distinguished German Jewish social worker, writer, and feminist, is also widely known as "Anna O.," who coined the term "talking cure" in psychoanalysis. She was the subject of one of the case studies in hysteria published by Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud in 1895. In this first comprehensive biography, Guttmann (speech, theater, and media studies, CUNY) includes texts by Pappenheim stories, essays, poems, lectures, letters, and prayers, some published for the first time. Pappenheim ran an orphanage, fought the white slave trade and Jewish prostitution, translated Wollstonecraft, argued against Zionism, corresponded with Martin Buber, Felix Warburg, and other luminaries, and suffered at the rise of Hitler. Guttmann's homework and fieldwork are impressive, her admiration of Pappenheim justifiably strong, and her text inviting and important. Recommended for general libraries and essential for collections in feminism, Jewish studies, psychoanalysis, and social work. [The Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, will receive a portion of the proceeds from this book's sales. Ed.] E. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Guttmann's often personal reconstruction of Bertha Pappenheim's life offers a chronologically detailed biography of this fascinating, famous, yet generally misunderstood woman. Of the Viennese Orthodox Jewish elite, Pappenheim was first thrust into public gaze as Anna O., the patient of Breuer and an inspiration for Freud. Scholars have long known and debated Pappenheim's contributions as an object of psychoanalytic scrutiny, as a social activist working for the well-being of women and children, as a feminist within fin-de-siecle German and Jewish communities, and as an imaginative writer. Guttmann's contribution is her effort to bring the various fragments explored by others together into a well-rounded, human portrait of this creative figure that moved among Central Europe's cultural elites and reflected that world's preoccupations, fears, and hopes. Of particular note is her attempt to grapple with Pappenheim's mysticism, a philosophic and religious characteristic shared by most European intellectuals prior to WW II, but particularly common among European Jews. While Pappenheim is never truly situated in a solidly constructed and specific historical context, Guttmann has written a highly readable and intriguing work that will stimulate the scholar and the general reader alike. B. Burkhard University of Maryland University College


Google Preview