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April 3, 1967

Sigmund Freud and the Art of Letter Writing

JAMA. 1967;200(1):13-18. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120140071009

The study of Freud's letters is a rewarding experience. The sensitive reader feels the pleasure of a personal contact with Sigmund Freud, almost like a personal visit. His letters show, at different times, a young man's passion for life, the maturity of a scientist and discoverer, and finally the wisdom of an aged man who had suffered from life's tragedy which, nevertheless, he accepted with the strength of Moses or Job. The letters give a diary-like account of his life and work—and speak intimately to the reader who has the gift of empathy.

Always he had a simple, direct, personal response to what he experienced. He trusted his perception, he was a true witness of his time and felt a great urgency to write it all down. Once he told Joan Riviere during her analysis, after she had mentioned some thoughts which occurred to her: "Write it, put it down