Sigmund Freud is the author of the lectures and the founder of psychoanalysis. Freud writes the lectures as if he is addressing an audience, although he never intended them to be delivered in public. By the time Freud was working on the new lectures, he was suffering from oral cancer, and as he notes in his preface, “a surgical operation had made speaking in public impossible for me.”
Dr. Herbert Silberer
A psychologist who conducted experiments in 1909 and 1912, which Freud mentions in his first lecture. In these experiments, Silberer tried to turn “abstract thoughts into visual pictures” while in a state of extreme fatigue. Silberer found that the thoughts would disappear and be replaced by a vision that often encapsulated his subjective state at that moment, results that Freud believes confirm his theories.
A German psychoanalyst and pupil of Freud, Abraham conducted research which found that a spider symbolizes the “phallic mother,” and a fear of mother-incest or female genitals. Freud mentions Abraham and this study in his first lecture on dream theory.
A Hungarian psychoanalyst and associate of Freud, Ferenczi produced a study (1921-22) analyzing the bridge as a symbol of: the male organ, the passage between life and death, and broader life transitions. Freud cites this study in his first lecture on dream theory.
A Hungarian psychoanalyst who studied under Karl Abraham as part of the Freudian school in Berlin, Alexander conducted studies on pairs of dreams in 1925 which Freud mentions in his first lecture. The reason Freud cites the lectures is to suggest that wish-fulfillment can be split between two dreams that occur at different moments during the course of a single night.
Herr P. is the name Freud gives to a patient whose case Freud mentions in his second lecture, on occultism and dreams. His case interests Freud because it features several strong indications of thought-transference between Freud and Herr P., all of which suggest the objective existence of this phenomenon.
Burlingham is a psychoanalyst who published a paper (1932) discussing thought-transference between a mother and her young son. Freud mentions the paper in his second lecture as evidence of unexplainable phenomena.
An Austrian psychoanalyst and close colleague of Freud, whose paper (1924) Freud mentions in his lecture on anxiety, Rank researched the significance of the birth event and the anxiety produced by the inevitable separation from the mother. Freud responded positively to Rank’s research at first, but eventually came to criticize Rank’s limited focus.
Ruth Mack Brunswick
An American born psychoanalyst who became a favorite colleague of Freud (and who was picked by him to take over psychoanalytic treatment of the Wolfman, one of Freud’s most famous patients), Brunswick wrote a paper (1928) on female neurosis due to pre-Oedipal fixation, which Freud mentions in his lecture on femininity.
A former student and colleague of Freud, Adler split from psychoanalysis to found a new school of thought known as “Individual Psychology,” which approached mental illnesses through the single lens of inferiority complexes. Freud is explicitly critical of this approach in his lecture “Explanations, Applications, and Orientations.”
Perhaps Freud’s most famous student, Jung split from Freudian psychoanalysis to found a new approach to the unconscious that emphasized its collective nature, as a reservoir of archetypal symbols. Freud indirectly alludes to Jung and is critical of his departure from the Freudian school in his lecture “Explanations, Applications, and Orientations.”
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