Remembering Anna O.: A Century of Mystification

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Remembering Anna O. offers a devastating examination of the very foundations of psychoanalytic theory and practice, which was born with the publication of Breuer and Freud's Studies on Hysteria in 1895. Breuer described the case of Anna O., a young woman afflicted with a severe hysteria whom he had cured of her symptoms by having her recount under hypnosis the traumatic events that precipitated her illness. Drawing on the most recent Freud scholarship and on long-secret documents, Borch-Jacobsen demonstrates, however, that Anna O. (Bertha Pappenheim) was never cured by Breuer's talking cure and that both Breuer and Freud knowingly falsified the historical record. Borch-Jacobsen points out the numerous inconsistencies in Breuer's account that suggests that Anna O.'s symptoms were simulated to meet Breuer's theoretical expectations and that her famed reminiscences were in fact fictitious memories induced by Breuer in the course of a hypnotic treatment.