The Schmooze

News from Uncle Siggy: Freud’s Ever-Present Influence

In May, Viggo Mortensen, an actor of Danish-Canadian ancestry, will start filming David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method,” in the role of Sigmund Freud. Gentile actors have frequently played Freud: Max von Sydow in “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” (1993); Alec Guinness in “Lovesick” (1983); Montgomery Clift in “Freud” (1962); and Farley Granger in “The Wound Within” (1958). Yet Freud’s Judaism is ever-more prominent in recent books, such as “The Jewish World of Sigmund Freud” and “Freud and Italian Culture”.

The former book is a product of a 2006 Center for Jewish History conference, “Freud’s Jewish World.” One chapter, “The Neue Freie Presse Neurosis,” by Leo Lensing, discusses Freud’s complex dealings with the Austrian Jewish journalist Karl Kraus. Both Kraus and Freud defended the Jewish-born naturalist Theodor Beer (1866-1919), who was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1905, but the two differed on the merits of psychoanalysis. In 1913, Kraus coined the satiric term “Freudknaben,” a pun in German which means, Lensing explains, “both ‘Freud’s boys’ and ‘boy prostitutes.’”

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News from Uncle Siggy: Freud’s Ever-Present Influence

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