The Freud Museum


The Future

Freud died on 23 September 1939, a few weeks after the outbreak of World War II. It could be said that he spent the last year of his life thinking about the future of psychoanalysis and of humanity. His obituaries stressed the simplicity of the man himself and the importance of his work.

"He is being buried today in the atmosphere he would have wished, one of stark truth and realism; in sheer simplicity, without a note of pomp or ceremony." Ernest Jones, funeral oration 26 Sept. 1939.

"For his discoveries were not, as is so often the case, divorced from the everyday affairs. They were concerned with the very mind of Everyman, with his happiness and more important, his miseries." Edward Glover, The Listener 28 Sept. 1939.

"Freud's work will, when duly appreciated, prove to be of importance, not simply to the student, but to every thinking man. If ever one may venture to acclaim a contemporary as immortal one can do so of Freud....With his death we lose a revered teacher, a wise and inspiring companion, and a man of enduring friendship." Ernest Jones, The Spectator 29 Sept. 1939.

Some months earlier Freud had recorded a statement for the BBC which summarised his life's work.

"I started my professional activity as a neurologist, trying to bring relief to my neurotic patients. Under the influence of an older friend and by my own efforts I discovered some new and important facts about the unconscious in psychic life, the role of instinctual urges and so on.

Out of these findings grew a new science, Psycho-analysis, a part of psychology and a new method of treatment of the neuroses.

I had to pay heavily for this bit of good luck. People did not believe my facts and thought my theories unsavoury. Resistance was strong and unrelenting. In the end I succeeded in acquiring pupils and building up an international Psycho-Analytic Association.

But the struggle is not yet over."

Sigmund Freud, BBC broadcast recorded at Maresfield Gardens, 7 December 1938.

Sigmund Freud, BBC broadcast recorded at Maresfield Gardens, 7 December 1938

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