Child Abuse in Freud's Vienna: Postcards from the End of the World
NYU Press, 1995 - 275 pages
On the cusp of the twentieth century, in the most cosmopolitan city in the world, there a sensation that entranced the city's populace as nothing had before?a sensation that cast a great and disturbing shadow over the city, and then vanished, leaving no more trace than a shadow would. Child Abuse in Freud's Vienna is the story of that forgotten sensation in this fabled city.
In the autumn of 1899, Vienna's attention was focused not on its extraordinary cultural life, but on child abuse?specifically, two cases of child murder and two of abuse. While Sigmund Freud was anxiously awaiting the publication of The Interpretation of Dreams, in which he first theorized about the Oedipal hostilities between parents and children, every day's headlines proclaimed the ugly reality of child abuse. Focusing on the four cases that dominated the pages of the newspapers, Larry Wolff's riveting narrative paints a picture of a great city enthralled by a spectacle it desperately wished to ignore.