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sigmund freud biography
freud brief chronology

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THE LIFE OF SIGMUND FREUD
A BRIEF CHRONOLOGY



1856        6 May, Birth at Freiberg, Moravia

1859        Move from Freiberg to Leipzig

1860        Family settles in Vienna

1865        Enters Leopoldstädter Gymnasium school

1873        Hears extract of essay 'On Nature' (attributed to Goethe) read out

                at a lecture. This decides him to abandon law as a career and

                enter the University of Vienna to study medicine.

1877        First publications. (On intersexuality in eels and on Petromyzon).

1881        Graduates as M.D.

1882        Engaged to Martha Bernays.

1882-5     Works in Vienna General Hospital.

1884-7     Researches into the clinical uses of cocaine.

1885-6     Studies under Charcot at the Salpêtrière, Paris. Charcot provides

                new insight into hysteria and uses hypnosis.

1886        Sets up private practice; marries Martha Bernays.

1887        Treats nervous diseases in his practice; introduces hypnotic suggestion.

1891        Writes 'On Aphasia', about language disorders and neurology.

1893-6     Works with Josef Breuer on case histories (including that of

               ' Anna O') which later becomes Studies on Hysteria (1895).

1895        'Project for a Scientific Psychology'; an attempt to work out a psychology

                based on neurological terms (contained in the letters to his confidant

                of the period 1887-1902, Wilhelm Fliess).

1896        First use of the term 'psychoanalysis'; death of his father.

1897        Freud's self-analysis begins, leading to the abandonment of the

                trauma theory of neurosis (developed with Breuer), recognition

                of infantile sexuality and the Oedipus complex.

1899 November

                The Interpretation of Dreams published. Freud's favourite book

                containing dozens of dream analyses on the way, as Freud says, to "the royal

                road to the unconscious".

1901       The Psychopathology of Everyday Life

                Introduction of "Freudian slip".

1902        Founding of the Wednesday Psychological Society

1905        Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality ; 'Dora' case published

                (although the events of the case history date from the late 1990s).

                Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious.

1906        Freud becomes friend and colleague of the Swiss adherent of psychoanalysis, Carl

                Gustav Jung

1908        Salzburg: first international meeting of psychoanalysts.

1909        Freud and Jung travel to the U.S.A. and give the Clark Lectures:

                first lectures on psychoanalysis in America. (Freud is not

                enamoured of America; sees it as a "big mistake".)

1912        Jung returns to U.S.A.

1912-3     Freud publishes Totem and Taboo which explores how culture

                and society are rooted in the prohibition against incest, an

                assertion contrary to the development of Jung's studies.

1914        Secession of Jung from the official psychoanalytic movement.

1915-7     Introductory Lectures given.

1919        Freud observes soldiers traumatized by the war.

1920        Death of Freud's daughter, Sophie.

                Publishes Beyond the Pleasure Principle which deals, in part,

                with the paradigmatic actions of Sophie's son Ernst in his

                nursery. Introduces new theories of the 'compulsion to repeat' and

                the concept of the 'death instinct' as well as the revision of the

                1900 theory of dreams as wish fulfilments.

1921        Publishes Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego .

1923       The Ego and the Id. Deals with a new account of the structure of

                the mind, revising the one to be found in The Interpretation of

                Dreams. Freud diagnosed as suffering from cancer.

1926        Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety. Freud makes anxiety the

                cornerstone of his developmental theory.

1927       The Future of an Illusion . A consideration of the origins of

                religion. Freud, here, explicitly states his atheism.

1930        Civilization and its Discontents . A profoundly pessimistic account of the

                irreconcilability of personal drives and the demands of society.

        1932        Why War? 1933         Freud's books (along with other psychoanalytical works) publicly

                 burned by the Nazis in Berlin.

1936         Freud's 80th birthday. Honoured by the Royal Society in Britain

                 who make him a corresponding fellow.

1938         Nazis invade Austria. Freud and his family manage to get exit visas.

                 Moves to 20, Maresfield Gardens, London NW3. Continues work, seeing patients

                 and finishing Moses and Monotheism and An Outline of Psychoanalysis.

1939 23 September

                 Dies in London from the cancer that had dogged him since 1923.
 

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