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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

February 24, 1991|Chris Goodrich

FREUD, DORA, AND VIENNA 1900 by Hannah S. Decker (The Free Press: $22.95; 299 pp.). Dora--real name Ida Bauer--was first brought to Sigmund Freud's office in 1898 by her father, and when she began a course of treatment with Freud for "hysteria" two years later, at age 18, the inventor of psychoanalysis hoped to use the case to buttress criticisms made of his recently published "Interpretation of Dreams." This description only hints at the complexities in Freud's relationship with Dora--complexities that Freud often did not admit or understand, and which history professor Hannah Decker scrutinizes in order to broaden common understandings of the psychoanalytic process. Decker is not a rabid anti-Freudian, but she clearly does hope to put psychoanalysis in context--in Dora's case, to demonstrate that Freud's failure with her (she left treatment after 11 weeks) was related to many generally unacknowledged factors, such as Freud's countertransference toward Dora, his professional standing, and the anti-Semitism and patriarchal attitudes of turn-of-the-century Vienna.

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