Help save Sigmund Freud’s library

Donate or Adopt a Book and help save the library that shaped the creation of the ‘talking cure’

Freud's Library Appeal Delgado 1C9A0680

Throughout his life Freud was a passionate reader who immersed himself in a broad range of subjects far beyond the narrow confines of the medical sciences. Indeed, when asked what the essential qualities for a future psychoanalyst were, his daughter Anna wrote that along with a love of truth, a psychoanalyst should be a ‘great reader’ who needs to be acquainted with the ‘literature of many cultures and countries.’

Freud’s thirst for knowledge was insatiable. His reading in fields as diverse as anthropology, religion and sociology, allowed him to develop a nuanced and complex vision of the human subject which became refined and focussed through his psychoanalytic practice: written texts and cultural phenomena informed clinical material and vice-versa. It was in the reading of the works of 19th Century archaeologist’s such as Heinrich Schliemann that Freud’s famous ‘archaeological metaphor’ found its early inspiration. The central tenet of psychoanalysis, the Oedipus complex, was fashioned under a sustained engagement with Sophocles’ great Attic tragedy Oedipus Rex, which Freud translated as part of his matura examination at school.

The books in Freud’s library represent not only a fascinating document of the sources of his inspiration, but also an enduring resource for scholars and explorers looking to delve into the Freudian universe.


Sigmund Freud Library Conservation Appeal

Every donation, however large or small, will help to preserve Freud’s entire library collection of over 1,600 books that are in our care here at 20 Maresfield Gardens. Some of the most fragile volumes are in urgent need of conservation and are available for ‘adoption’. Please donate or adopt a book and save Freud’s precious library for future generations. Thank you for your generous support.


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