When Stefan Zweig published his biographical essay on Sigmund Freud in 1931, he depicted him as a faultless and almost over- correct citizen and scientist. Freud responded to Zweig's work with the comment that on the whole he was satisfied with his portrayal, apart from two points in which he differed from the "petty bourgeois" way of life:
He had two passions, he wrote to Zweig: he had been a "passionate smoker" and for all his lack of pretension "had made many sacrifices for his collection of Greek, Roman and Egyptian antiquities and had in fact read more archaeology than psychology".
Akhenaten, Photo from Freud's collection
"Akhenaten", Photo from Freud's collection
What Freud missed in Zweig's portrait and what he himself saw as small differences from the self-controlled, dispassionate scientist had however a greater significance than simply as a private pleasure in collecting antiquities. Not only did antiquities decorate his consultation rooms, they also served as signposts through the theory of the unconscious. Once he told an analysand, Hilda Doolittle: "...statuettes and images help fix evanescant ideas or prevent them disappearing completely." The numerous antiquities arranged on his desk and in his rooms were a means of fixing ideas in memory as well as serving as a metaphor for psychoanalysis.
Ptah, Freud's collection
Egypt, Late Period, 716 - 332 BC.

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