Freud's love-hate relationship with Vienna: A Review

Article by Lilian Furst.

A glance at the winter issue of "The Virginia Quarterly Review":
Freud's love-hate relationship with Vienna

As a Jew who was not native to Vienna, Sigmund Freud was a "Zugeraster," or outsider, and his relationship with the city in which he spent 77 years of his life was tenuous at best, writes Lilian Furst. Ms. Furst, who is a professor of comparative literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, recounts the "political and social turmoil in the late 19th century" that helped shape the anti-Semitic atmosphere in which Freud was shunned. "In a milieu very intent on appearances, on the maintenance of decorum and respectability," she writes, Freud "infringed a taboo by speaking openly about sexuality." "The Viennese," explains Ms. Furst, "openly resented the Zugeraste who poured into their city, often poor and with large families. They saw them as alien elements diluting and even polluting their cherished space." However, "Jews played a disproportionate role in Vienna's economic, professional, and cultural life ... [and] thus occupied a curiously contradictory position in Vienna: They were both central to the city's life and marginalized." Upon his removal to London in 1938, Freud himself wrote, "The triumphant feeling of liberation is mingled too strongly with mourning for one had loved the prison from which one has been released." Ms. Furst comments, "Nowhere is the conflict in Freud's mind about Vienna more clearly voiced than in this avowal of mixed love and mourning for the city that had become a prison to him." The article is not available online, but information about the journal may be found at

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