The Freud Museum


Analysis of a Passion 2

"... your description doesn't tally with the fact that I too have had my splitting headaches and attacks of fatigue like anyone else, that I was a passionate smoker (I wish I still were), that I ascribe to the cigar the greatest share of my self-control and tenacity in work, that despite my much vaunted frugality I have sacrificed a great deal for my collection of Greek, Roman and Egyptian antiquities, have actually read more archaeology than psychology, and that before the war and once after its end I felt compelled to spend every year at least several days or weeks in Rome, and so on."
Letter to Stefan Zweig, 7.2.1931.

Freud once described his collecting as an 'addiction', like his addiction to cigars. Here he makes a similar comparison. He emphasizes the compulsive character of his urge to travel, while his addiction to nicotine is thought to promote 'self control'.

In the Interpretation of Dreams Freud showed that his love of Rome, and the need to go there, was not simple. A conflict was involved which related to essential aspects of his own identity as a Jew and a German.

"It was on my last journey to Italy..., that finally - after having seen the Tiber and sadly turned back when I was only fifty miles from Rome - I discovered the way in which my longing for the eternal city had been reinforced by impressions from my youth... I had actually been following in Hannibal's footsteps.... But Hannibal, whom I had come to resemble in these respects, had been the favourite hero of my later school-days. Like so many boys of that age, I had sympathized in the Punic Wars not with the Romans but with the Cathagenians. And when in the higher classes I began to understand for the first time what it meant to belong to an alien race, and anti-semitic feelings among the other boys warned me that I must take up a definite position, the figure of the semitic general rose still higher in my esteem... Thus the wish to go to Rome had become in my dream-life a cloak and symbol for a number of other passionate wishes."
The Interpretation of Dreams, 1900.

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