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Young Dr. Freud
Theories Analysis Family
Perspectives: Culture
Vienna, Austria
Vienna, Austria
(Vienna State History Museum)
 
Vienna, Austria, the glittering capital of the Empire of Austria-Hungry, was home to Sigmund Freud most of his life. With a booming population and a dazzling array of new public buildings, as the nineteenth century drew to a close, the ancient city was bursting with pride and confidence.

Freud knew its splendid palaces and boulevards, its parks and markets. But he ignored its festive air and effervescent gaiety. While others dreamed of champagne and waltzes, young Freud dreamed of fame.

As Freud grew to manhood, he rarely indulged in the pleasures of Viennese society.
As Freud grew to manhood, he rarely indulged in the pleasures of Viennese society. Studying as if he were on some kind of mission, he seldom frequented the cafes and never dallied with girls.

Vienna was changing all around him. By the time Freud was 41, married and a father of six, the Austrian capital was filled with an intoxicating air of cultural ferment.

Like Freud himself, Viennese artists, including Kokoschka and Kilmt, at the dawn of the twentieth century were turning inward, penetrating beneath the surface of consciousness to reveal buried layers of tumultuous feelings. Their efforts to comprehend the irrational mirrored Freud's own. But Freud never showed any interest.

BERGMANN: He was not really at home with the artists of his generation. I think he felt that they were a little strange. There was in him the bourgeois.

Vienna was eager to join the ranks of Europe's leading cities and showcased its latest innovations during the Vienna World Fair in 1873, which was eagerly attended by young Freud.
The sciences also experienced a boom during Freud's first few decades in Vienna. Between the years 1859 and 1880, Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, Alfred Noble invented dynamite, and Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. Vienna was eager to join the ranks of Europe's leading cities and showcased its latest innovations during the Vienna World Fair in 1873, which was eagerly attended by young Freud.

Jewish immigrants in Vienna
Jewish immigrants in Vienna
(Vienna State History Museum)
 
But with Vienna's prosperity also came growing a prejudice against the newly-arrived Jews of eastern Europe, and when the populist, anti-Semitic Karl Lueger was elected as the city's new mayor in 1897, Freud and his fellow liberal, middle-class Jews were revolted.




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