Hysterical: Anna Freud's Story
Author: Rebecca Coffey
Publisher: She Writes Press
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Anna Freud was Sigmund Freud’s youngest daughter. She was devoted to him: his collaborator, companion, and nurse; as Coffey points out in her introduction, she “never stopped parroting [his] ideas.” Anna was also a lesbian, and while not "out" in the modern use of the term, she spent five decades in a relationship with another woman, Dorothy Burlingham, a woman she co-mothered children with.
If you know Freudian theory, you know Freud considered lesbianism a gateway to mental illness (and always the fault of the father). You might also know that due to what Freud considered an "inherently erotic relationship" between analyst and analysand, it was strictly verboten to engage in psychoanalysis with a family member. Despite this decree, Freud analyzed Anna during two distinct parts of her young adulthood.
How did Anna manage to live a full life and become a guiding force for analysts, educators, and humanitarians, all while devoting herself to her wary father as he aged and died? Hysterical is Anna Freud’s fictional autobiography; in it she tells her full story for the first time.