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Freud, Nietzsche Author(s): LORIN ANDERSON Reviewed work(s):

Source: Salmagundi, No. 47/48 (Winter-Spring 1980), pp. 3-29 Published by: Skidmore College

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Freud, Nietzsche



Freud'sreticence regarding the worksof Nietzschehas oftenbeen


enquiry, inducesmoresilence.Since he said little, whatisthereto say?

WhenMichel Foucault, for example,speaking on Nietzsche, Freudand

Marx in the early1960's, was asked to commenton this problem, he



rather enigmatic."1 Something else is

mentionNietzschearealmost invariablyaccompaniedby hisfrankand cheerfuladmissionthatheis ignorant ofNietzsche's thought. In 1908,

two meetings oftheVienna PsychoanalyticSociety, a group made up of

Freud and

According totheminutesofthefirst meeting, heldin April, Freud began


philosophy: its abstractnatureis so

renouncedthe study of philosophy. He doesnotknowNietzsche'swork:

it were smothered by an excess of

interest.In spite ofthesimilaritieswhich manypeople have pointedout,

and just as

quicklydropped. His very silence inhibits

only confirmthathe too had been "struck by the astonishing

ofFreudon Nietzsche, eveninhis correspondence. Itisinfact

striking. Those statementsin whichFreud does

his followers, were devoted to discussing Nietzsche.

comments by first emphasizing "his own peculiarrelationship to

unpleasant to him, thathe has

occasional attempts at


he can

Reaffirming his ignorance at thesecond

meeting in October, "Prof.Freud would liketo mentionthathe has neverbeenableto studyNietzsche,partly becauseoftheresemblanceof

Nietzsche'sintuitive insights to ourlaborious


give whatsoeveron hisownwork."

theassurancethatNietzsche'sideas havehad no influence

investigations, and partly

ideas, whichhas alwaysprevented Freudfrom

1 Michel Foucault, "Nietzsche,Freud, Marx,**Nietzsche, Cahiers de Royaumont, Philosophic No. VI (Paris: Minuit,1967),p. 198. My translation.



gettingbeyond thefirsthalf page wheneverhe hastriedtoreadhim."2

Psycho-Analytic Movement

(1914), Nietzsche'sname came up in a passage concernedwith

precursors and originality:


yearslater, in his Historyof


The theory of repressionquitecertainly cametome independently

of any othersource


Schopenhauer's Worldas Willand

about the struggleagainstaccepting a distressingpiece of reality

coincideswith myconcept of

again I owethechanceof


of reading theworksof Nietzsche, withthedeliberate object ofnot

being hampered in working

psychoanalysisbyany sortof

be prepared

the many instancesinwhichlaborious psychoanalyticinvestigation can merely confirmthetruthswhichthe philosopherrecognizedby


and fora long timeI imagined it to be

until Otto Rank showed us a passage in

Whathe says there

repression so completely thatonce

making a discovery to my not being well-

In later years I havedenied myself the verygreatpleasure

out the impressions received in

anticipatory ideas.I had thereforeto


andI am so, gladly - to forgo allclaimsto priority in

Similarly, inhis AutobiographicalStudy(1925), after againdenyingany acquaintance with Schopenhauer'sphilosophy, he added: "Nietzsche,

theother philosopher whose premonitions and insights often agree in

themost amazing mannerwiththelaboriousresultsof

have long avoidedforthis very reason.After all, I was lessconcerned

about anypriority thanaboutthe preservation of myopenmindedness [ Unbefangenheit]:94

psychoanalysis, I


anotherdimensionis added to the enigma: Nietzscheneither

spoken ofnor read; Nietzsche assiduously avoided.Butnotforlackof admiration.At one point in his biography of Freud, ErnestJones presents a listofthemenFreudconsidered great, menhe didnotrank

himself among- "Goethe, Kant, Voltaire, Darwin, Schopenhauer,

2 Herman Nunberg and Ernst Federn,eds., Minutes of the Vienna Psychoanalytic

Society(New York:InternationalUniversities Press, 1962 [Vol. I], 1967 [Vol. II]), I,


3 Sigmund Freud, On the Historyof

32. Hereafterreferredto in thetextas Minutes.


Psycho-AnalyticMovement, ed. James

Strachey(New York: Norton,1966),pp. 15-16.

4 I have followedthetranslationof WalterKaufmannin his

Nietzsche: Philosopher,

Psychologist,Antichrist, 3rded. (New York:Random House, 1968),pp. 182-83, note


Nietzsche."5At theOctober meeting oftheVienna Society, Freudhad

expressed the opinion that "the

Nietzschehad neverbeenachieved byanyone, noris it likely everto

reached again."(Minutes,II, 3 1-32.) AndtoArnold Zweig,


attain."6Nietzscheadmired and avoided: but in this he was no exception;Schopenhauer was also ignored, as has already beenseen.In fact Freud claimed to remain unacquainted with much of the

anticipatory literature pertaining to hiswork.As he explained ina letter to Wilhelm Fliess, "I do notwantto read becauseitstirs up too many thoughts and stintsme of the satisfactionof discovery."7 And to a

studenthe wrotein 1909thathe was

predecessors. Ifweevermeet up above they will certainlygreet meillas a

plagiarist. Butitissucha pleasure to investigate the thing itselfinsteadof reading theliteratureabout it."8 The logic is curious. Even Freud does not seem convinced, as he

sketcheshis imaginary sceneofaccusationsof

shunnedforthat veryreason, Nietzscheavoided precisely to theextent thathis insights bear upon the problemsconfrontingpsychoanalysis, all in the name of the pleasure of discovery or the preservation of openmindedness. But openmindedness does not require empty- headedness.Behindthese explanations is to be seen a conception of originality concernednotso much (at leastnot entirely) with being the firstto think something as with being innocentat the origin, and with

remainingpure of thoughtthroughout an investigation. Prioritiesare

thenofno account;theymayafterwards be lavishlyassigned or ignored,

depending upon


creation. Ignorance assuresthatone is thefatherof all one's ideas.9


degree of introspection achieved by



whichI couldnot

myyouth he signified a nobility to

"reallyveryignorant about my

plagiarism:germane texts

one's mood. With

equivalent, and evena

ignorance, duplication remainsone'sown

discoveries and

5 Ernest Jones, The Life and Work ofSigmundFreud, 3 vols. (New York:Basic Books, 1953-57),III, 415.

6 Letterof May 11, 1934, trans,in Jones,III, 460.

7 LetterofOctober 8, 1895, in

Bonaparte et al. (New York:Basic Books, 1954),p. 126.

8 Letterto Oskar Pfister,July12, 1909, trans,in Jones,II, 443.

9 In hisLeonardoda

Vinciand a Memoryof His Childhood, ed. James Strachey(New



OriginsofPsycho-Analysis: Letters

to Wilhelm Fliess, ed. Marie

"There is no doubt thatthe creativeartistfeels

York: Norton,1964), Freud says:

towardshisworkslikea father." (p. 71) As withotherstatementsinthe work, thisone

appears to be more autobiographical than


works.Freuddecidesthatitis because"hisfatherhadnotcaredabouthim."Thiswork

hereafterreferredto in thetextas Leonardo.

biographical, becauseFreudmust go

on, in

paragraph, to try to

explainwhy Leonardodoes notfeelthis way towardshis



Whenitcameto establishing the priority ofFreud'sown discoveries, however,precedence was of much greater concern. Squabbles over


throughout his career.And such incidentswere

complex ofrelatedattitudes.Freud's preference for developing hisideas

insolitudecouldbeturnedintoan exaggeration ofhisactualisolationin orderto enhancethesenseofhisachievement:evenEinstein"had the support of a long seriesof predecessors fromNewton onward, whileI

hadto hack everystep of my own waythrough a tangledjungle alone."10 The slow process of development thathisideasunderwentfromfirstto finalformulationled himto fearthatsomeoneelsewould get windof

themand develop themfasterthanhecould - an

example, in relationto his pupil, VictorTausk. He did not

the originality of otherswhen it touched upon his psychoanalytic

theories, as was

roleheviewedas limitedto the

He compared them"with dogs.

chewit independently in a corner.But it is my bone!"11He moreover refusedto accept theideas ofothersintheir original formwithoutfirst

reworking and reformulatingthem,explaining, "I

feel myway

untilI have founda point of contactwiththem

complicatedpaths."12 Buthe is also to be found labeling ideas

accusations and denials of plagiarism followed Freud



ongoingconcern, for


oftendemonstratedwithhis followers, whose proper

application ofhisown originalfindings.


take a bone fromthetable and

do notfindit easy to

intounfamiliartrainsof thought, and generally havetowait

by way of my own


incomprehensible, or unintelligible at those verypoints that they draw

uncomfortably close to his own.All in all it might be said thatFreud sufferedfromthat"autochthonous conceit," to borrowfrom Nietzsche, of "trying to re-inventtheelementsof philosophy and science."13 In the course of these evasions, reformulationsand suppressions, Freud was inclinedto forget Wheresome of his ideas originated, to

appropriate ideas without due

disclosetheideas of

Fliess' theory of bisexuality).Alternately, he would recognize these

acknowledgment, to indiscreetly


to himin confidence (as in thecase of

10 Letterto Marie Bonaparte, Jan. 11, 1927, trans,in Jones,III, 131.

11 Quoted inPaul Roazen, FreudandH isFollowers (New York:NewAmerican Library,

191, froman interviewwithHeleneDeutsch.See ibid.,p. 570, foradditional


references confirming thisattitude.

TheLetters of

Sigmund FreudandKarl Abraham,1907-1926 (New York:Basic Books,1965),p. 345.

12 Hilda Abrahamand Ernst Freud,eds., A


13 Friedrich Nietzsche,Philosophy in the TragicAge of the Greeks, trans.Marianne

Cowan (Chicago:HenryRegnery,1962),p.




traits,pay randomand extravagant tributeto predecessors, and worry



Asidefromtheconcernwith originality, withthecontaminationofhis

pristineperspective, Freud offeredanotherreason for not

Nietzsche.The style of presentation

approach to and formulationof his

insights" -

opposed the grave andlabored investigations of psychoanalysis:play vs. work. By meansofluckand artistic genius, Nietzschehad occasionally danced across the path now being cleared by means of controlled

observationand analysis: the shimmering allure

of origins,preceding all discoveriesof his own and to whichhe could


sterility and fatherlessness (there is nothing leftto father, all has been

fathered already), so also the light-hearted(frivolous) sirenofintuitive

speculation of artistic and philosophical thinking in general threatenedinsomeinsidiousmannerto encroach upon the ponderous

edifice being constructed through his scientific enquiries.

Consequently thedistancebetween psychoanalysis and philosophy

was always to be emphasized.

present at thefirstVienna Societymeeting on Nietzsche"thathe has

renouncedthe study of philosophy"onlyagreed withtheviewsofothers

at the meeting. Edward Hitschmann, who led the evening'sdiscussion,

began by making

philosophy: "

hopelessness of all philosophy as a themeof discussion,taking the relativity of all philosophy as our point of departure. A philosophical system is a product of an inner urge, not very differentfromartistic


by his personal characteristicsand experiences."{Minutes,I, 355-56,

Thusa philosopher'ssubjective views may be determined


morethan that, Nietzsche'sentire


psychological"premonitions and

put Freud off. To Nietzsche'snimble intuitionsFreud

add modificationsand confirmations, filledFreud withfearsof



Freud's assurancesto his followers

it clear how far he separated himselffrom

Moebiusdidwith pyschology, so wecould adopt the


357.) This themeof the subjectivity of philosophy Freud specifically



Salomé on theneedtoresist "purephilosophy": "itis really essentialto

to be one of the most interesting issues raised by


he would enlighten Lou Andreas-

14 Jonesadds this insight: "Whereasin his

neurological workFreud's bibliographical

referenceshad been scrupulously exact and comprehensive, when it came to his

analyticalwritings thiswas



Roazen hasdealtwiththe subject matterofthis paragraph inFreudand His Followers,

pp. 190-202, and passim.

BrotherAnimal: The Storyof Freud and

no longer so. Rank once jokingly remarkedthatFreud

other analysts'writings on thesame principle as the Emperor

fancy ofthemoment." (II, 41

distributed decorations,according to themood and

For the relationship ofFreudand Tausk, see Paul Roazen,

Tausk (New York: Knopf,1969).



struggleagainst theneed peculiar to thinkersforan ultimate unity in

things,recognizing this need as the product of a profoundly anthropomorphic root and custom and, furthermore, as a possible hindranceordistractioninthedetailedresearchof positive science."15It was metaphysics, not epistemology, that specifically irritatedFreud:"I believethatone daymetaphysics willbecondemnedas a nuisance, as an abuse of thinking, as a survivalfromthe period of the religious Weltanschauung."16 Butsuchviewsas these onlyput Freudon theside of Nietzsche, notin opposition. So did his opinion that philosophers who go about questioning the value of lifeare ill: "The momentone


neitherofthemhas any existence."17 Nietzsche represented another danger in that his insightfulness threatenedto underminetheeffortof psychoanalysis to establishitself

about the sense or value of lifeone is sick, since objectively

as a science.How to stop this? By making all philosophicalactivity

suspect,by makingphilosophers themselves suspect.

Hitschmann's approach. Even less delicatewas Isidor Sadger, who "emphasizes thattheborn philosopheris, byvocation, an obsessional neurotic." (Minutes, I, 357.) Freud, who elsewherehad defined

metaphysics as "a projection of so-called endopsychicperceptions,"

described Nietzsche's

perception."(Minutes,I, 149;II, 31.) His own insights he would likely

have characterizedin differentterms. Moreover,

repeated deferenceto Nietzsche'sintuitive brilliance, this must be

measured against hislow

the very existenceof intuitive knowledge: "thereare no sources of

knowledge of theuniverseotherthantheintellectual working-over of

carefully scrutinizedobservations -

research - and alongside of it no knowledge derivedfrom revelation,

intuitionor divination

perspicacity once again as "endopsychic

We have seen




of intuition; forhe elsewheredenied

in other words,

what we call

maysafely be


15 Lou's reconstructionfroma conversationat Freud's,February23,

Journal of Lou Andreas-Salomé, ed. StanleyLeavy(New

1913, in TheFreud

York:Basic Books, 1964),p.


16 Ernst Freud,ed., Letters of Sigmund Freud (New York: Basic Books, 1960),p. 375.

17 In thishe is

onlyrepeating Nietzsche, who wrote: "Judgements, value judgements

come intoconsideration only as symptoms- in themselves

try to grasp this astonishing becausehe is a

concerninglife, foror against, can inthelastresortneverbe true: theypossess value

only as symptoms,they

such judgements are stupidities. One mustreachout and

finesse, thatthevalue oflife cannotbe estimated.Not by a livingman,

party to the

anotherreason." Twilightof the Idols, trató.R.J.

1968), "The Problemof

Socrates,"§ 2.

dispute, indeedits object, and notthe judge of it; not by a dead one, for




reckonedas illusions, the fulfilmentsof

statementleaveslittledoubtas tothestatusofNietzsche's "intuitions," or ofFreud'sown observationallabors. Was Nietzscheeven to be taken seriously? Those at the Vienna Societymeetings werefarmoreinterestedin determining and assigning the psychologicalproblems thatwouldmotivateNietzschetowriteas he did (even whenhewroteas a precursor, his"intuited" foreshadowings of

theresearchesofa "scientific discipline"onlyconfirming histroubled nature,suggestingneuroses) than in considering and evaluating the psychologicalinsights offeredin the writings under consideration.

Could it not be said, at any rate, thatsuch chance

scarcely countas discovery untilconfirmed by science?In a letterto

Freud, Arnold Zweig sketchedthe relationship he perceived between Nietzscheand Freudas follows:

wishful impulses."18 Such a

ingenuity would

To me itseemsthat you have achieved everything thatNietzsche

intuitively feltto behis task, withouthis beingreally abletoachieve it withhis poetic idealismand brilliant inspirations. He triedto

explain thebirthof

He longed fora world beyond Good and Evil;by meansof analysis

you havediscovereda worldtowhichthis phraseactuallyapplies.

Analysis has reversedall values, it has conqueredChristianity,

disclosedthetrue Antichrist, and liberatedthe spirit of lifefromtheasceticideal. Analysis hasreducedthewillto

whatlies at

scientist, and furthermorea psychologist who advances stepby

step, you have attainedwhat Nietzschewould so


havedoneitinTotemand Taboo.


power to

And thanksto thefactthat you are a



achievedhimself:thescientific description and explanation ofthe

18 SigmundFreud,

Introductory Lectureson Psychoanalysis; ed. and trans.James

Strachey(New York: Norton,1964), p. 159. (These

wintersof 1915-16and 1916-17.) In thesame

psychoanalysis to the scientific Weltanschauung: "As a specialist science

[psychoanalysis] is quite unfitto constructa Weltanschauung ofitsown:itmust accept

thescientificone." (p. 158)Nevertheless,psychoanalysis is ina position to step inand

objections are raised against the

defendthescientific Weltanschauung,as, e.g.,

viewthatno other knowledge existsthanobservational knowledge. "This

cannotbe too energeticallyrepudiated,"says Freud."It is quite withouta basis, since


theintellectand themindare objects forscientificresearchin

any non-human things.Psycho-analysis has a specialright to speak


lecturesweredeliveredin the Freudsetsouttherelationof



exactly thesame way



Weltanschauung at this point,

since it cannotbe

reproached with havingneglected

precisely in

incidentally, withoutsuch


whatismentalinthe picture oftheuniverse.Itscontributiontosciencelies


psychology sciencewouldbe veryincomplete."(p. 159)

extendedresearchto the mentalfield. And,



humansoul- and, morethan that, since you are a physician,you

have taught and createdthe possibility of influencing and curing it.»

Clearly this comparison reflectedcertainofFreud'sown opinionssince,

in his reply, he warmlyencouragedZweig to develop itintoan essay. Freudhad ofcoursebeen placed ina flattering relationto Nietzsche, in every casemadeto realize, to formalize, whatNietzsche only sensed.But thereis also themannerinwhichhisachievementis characterized; itis

the triumph ofone approach

Freud had not simply

reformulatedthemfromwithinanother discipline and answeredthem


reinventedNietzsche'stask. For in this juxtaposition of Freud the

scientistand Nietzschethe philosopher, itis themethodoftheformer (observation,analysis) that brings to completion the methodless rampancy ofthelatter (premonition,intuition). Freud the scientist: yet this fails to account fornumerousother

statementsin whichFreud

speculation, or for the philosophical orientationof his own later

writings. "As

and ruthlessly checkedit."20LettersfromFreudto hisclosechildhood

friend, Edward Silberstein, have recently been turned up which documentthe extentof Freud's early interestin philosophy. As a

overanotherto thesamesetof


confirmedNietzsche's solutions, he had

methodology. With sobriety he had

means of a more certain

acknowledged an interestin philosophical

a young manI felta strong attractiontowards speculation

prospective studentat the

determinedthathewould studyphilosophy: "Aboutthefirst year atthe

university I

spend it entirely in studying


faculty of philosophy."21 He becamefascinatedwithFranz Brentano, the only teacherdiscussedinhislettersin any detail.Freud'senthusiasm

forBrentano'scoursesincreased through theschool year1874-75, and

his career plans accordingly shiftedto include philosophy. "I and

Panethhavesucceededin establishing closercontactwith him," Freud

wroteon March 7, 1875."I shall

peculiar and in manyrespects idealman

University of Vienna, Freud had already


inthefirst year the

can tell you that I shall

To this end, I am

personally tell you

moreabout this

For themoment only this:

19 Ernst Freud, ed., The Letters of Sigmund Freud and Arnold Zweig (New York:

Harcourt Brace, 1970),pp. 23-24.

20 Jones,I, 29.

21 Letterof July11,1873, trans,inH. Stanescu,"Young


Friend,Silberstein," TheIsraelAnnals

of Psychiatry, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Dec. 1971), 198.



thatunderBrentano'sinfluenceI arrivedat the decisionto take my

Ph.D. in

verygood to graduate

in philosophy and inmedicine.Thiswould notbe thefirstcase. Lotze did thesame and remained subsequently a philosopher."22 Freuddidnotfollow through withthis plan, buthedidnot repudiate philosophy either. "Philosophy," he wrotehisfiancéein 1882, "whichI

"Brentano thought itwouldbe quitepossible and

philosophy and zoology."

A weeklaterFreudmetwithhim.

have alwayspictured as mygoal and refuge inold age,gainseveryday in attraction, as do humanaffairs altogether or any causetowhichI could givemy devotionatall costs, butthefearofthe supremeuncertainty of

mefromthat sphere."23 Insteadhe

wentinto medicine, but"neitheratthat time, norindeedin

doctor."24 Having

my later life,

didI feel anyparticularpredilection forthecareerofa

chosena safe career, he refusedto

all political and local matters keeps


his earlierinterests.As he

wroteFliessin 1896, "I secretly nursethe hope of arrivingby thesame route [medicine] at my own originalobjective,philosophy. Forthatwas

myoriginal ambition.

. ." And laterthat year hereiteratedthis hope to

Fliess with greater confidence:"When I was

longed forwas philosophicalknowledge, and nowthatI am going over

frommedicineto psychology I am in

back upon his career, Freud reflectedthat

young, the onlything I

the process of obtaining it."25

In later


"after forty-oneyears ofmedical activity,myself-knowledge tellsme thatI have never really been a doctorinthe proper sense.I becamea

doctor throughbeingcompelled to deviatefrom myoriginalpurpose; andthe triumph of my lifeliesin myhaving, aftera long androundabout

journey, found myway


back to


earliest path."26 In 1924he setout

thedate afterwhich"I have given freereinto theinclination

."27Buteven earlier, "as

whichI kept downforso long to speculation

farbackas in 1910," ErnestJonesrecalls"his expressing thewishwitha

sign thathecouldretirefrommedical practice anddevotehimselftothe

ultimately the great

problem ofhowmancameto bewhatheis."28Inthe

unraveling of culturaland historical problems -

1920's, in anycase,

22 Letterof March 15, 1875, bothletterstrans,in ibid.,p. 200.

23 Letterof Aug. 16, 1882, trans,in Jones,III, 41.

24 Sigmund Freud, An AutobiographicalStudy, trans. James Strachey(London:

Hogarth,1950),p. 13.

25 Lettersof Jan. 1 and April2, 1896,Originsof Psycho-Analysis,pp. 141, 162.

26 FoundinFreud's"1929

Postscript" to his The QuestionofLayAnalysis, ed. andtrans.


James Strachey(New York: Norton,1969),pp.

27 AutobiographicalStudy,p. 105.

28 Jones,I, 27.



Freud's work did actually turnfromclinicaland psychoanalytic to


speculative concerns

or returnto them, as he saw it.29

What are we to make of all this?Did Freud considerhimselfa

philosopher or not?A philosopher or a scientist? Upon this matter, his study ofLeonardoda Vinci provides some suggestivecommentary. Of

all the possible traits in


development, Freud singled out what he describedas "Leonardo's

doublenatureas an artistandas a

p. 23.) For Leonardo, the"vacillationbetweenartand science" (p. 84)



scientific investigator

." {Leonardo,

not only marks off the successive stages

determines them,dialecticallyadvancing distinct periods.

of his life but actually his career through three

In Freud's view,

the period of scienceand research activity, which

necessarily out of the first period by

followedLeonardo's longer first period of carefreeartistic activity,

"represented thelatestand highestexpansion ofhis personality."(pp.

78-79, 15) Freud had it arise

following Solmi's argument thatLeonardo'sresearchinterests began in

the serviceof art, "in orderto ensure mastery in the imitationof ." (p. 26) However, in "following the lead given by the requirements of his painting," Leonardo moved furtherand further

afieldfromthe study of his

fromtheexteriorofbodies (study of ligjit,shadows,perspective) totheir

interior (study of internalstructureand vital

beyond themintothelawsofmechanicsand all thebranchesofnatural

science - so that "finally the instinct, which had become so




moreon his art, "hefoundhimselfdisturbed by thenewdirectionofhis

interestsand the changed natureof his mental

subjects(plants,animals, human body) -

functions), and then

him away untiltheconnectionwiththedemands ." (p. 26) Consequently, whenLeonardotried

back to focusonce


bring these investigativepowers

activity."(p. 27)

Through all this it is hard to forget Freud's opening image

redirecting his intereststoo


his deathbedfor having failedhis

Leonardo, reproaching himselfon

duty to art by

Leonardo's researches,begun as a meansof emancipating his art, inthe end caused himto feel constrained, to becomelostintheinexhaustible

numberof problems thathenowsaw to liebehindthe premise ofa truly

representativepainting, to paint lessand less, tocarelessandlessabout


to declare themunfinishedin light of what

exclusively to science.

paintings, to

leavehis paintings all unfinished (or at least

a totallyrepresentative

29 In the "1935 Postscript"

to the AutobiographicalStudy, Freud describes the

"significantchange" withcareful precision,(see esp. pp. 132-133.)



expression might encompass). "The artist had once taken the investigator intohisserviceto assist him; nowtheservanthad become


progression fromartto science

stronger and suppressed his master." (p. 27)

It hardly needbe mentionedthatthe

to art bearsa striking resemblanceto Freud'sown

philosophy to scienceto philosophy, or thattheambivalent"double

nature," considered by Freudto

ofLeonardoresembleshis own ambivalence.Freud was well intohis science period whenhewroteof Leonardo,and, inlinewithhis analysis, he had early on attempted toseethis period as an extensionofthe first,

as thecontinuationandevenattainmentofhis philosophicalobjectives


the time,according to Jones, thatFreudhad begunwishing "he could retirefrommedical practice and devotehimselfto the unraveling of culturaland historical problems," about the time, that is, thatFreud

by anothermeans. Composed in 1909-10, the essayappearedjust

progression from

be so significant foran understanding

begananticipating his own "final period" in a returnto philosophical reflection.

By studyingLeonardo,

Freud had an opportunity to reflect upon

Leonardo he could examine

problems of concernto him. Through

originality and creativity; and again the theme appears of creativity

stymied at the hand of knowledgethat, although(or because) it enlightens, does not serve one well. By means of the study - itself



conclusion, this perhapsonly confirmedFreud'sown


ableto explore hisown

rather melancholy conflictingviews,

prefiguring, if anything, the ambiguity withwhichhewas to regard his

returnto philosophy and thestatusofthelater speculativewritings.30 Whateverthe reason, hisbook onLeonardomusthave spoken to Freud


ButwhatofNietzsche?Has hebeenlost sight of?Andif not, whatdo

we conclude?Do we knownow who Nietzscheis to Freud?Or is ita

questionthat,finally, mustremain unresolved,enigmatic - a question that disappears into complex and ambiguous eddieswheneverwe try to


does notmeanwe have come up empty-handed.Perhapsbeyond this point we areleftwith speculative answers.Wedo still have, at anyrate, a

his own works, itwas one of his favorites.31


thoughts and explanations?Perhaps thatis so, which

30 This returnwas not


seen as a

"triumph"; he sometimes regrettedleaving

psychology and could be

Paul Roazen, Freud:Politicaland

3, 111.

extremely severein hisevaluationofhislater writings. See

Social Thought(New York: Knopf,1968),pp.


31 Jones,II, 347.



third reason,givenby

ofNietzsche.TheletterwaswrittenlateinFreud's life, in July1934,long

afterhe had

generallypardoned himself.

to understand anyone without

showing hissexual constitution, and Nietzsche'sis a completeenigma. Thereis even a story thathe was a passive homosexualand thathe contracted syphilis in a malebrothelin Italy."32Particularlystriking in this explanation is notso muchthefactthatittendstocanceltheothers (which indicatethatNietzscheis understoodall too well), sinceFreud

Instead he wrote, "it is impossible

refersto noneoftheexcuseswithwhichhe

Freudina letterto

Zweig,justifying his ignorance

given "free reign" to his speculativeinclinations, and it

seemsto haveinmindmorethe difficulty of understanding Nietzsche's personality than his writings, but that once again, and in a rather

ultimate way, Nietzschehas

felt quite freeto

and hisworkwithinformationat leastas inadequate as hehadavailable on Nietzsche.33 Where Leonardo can be discussed, Nietzschecannot. The rules guiding the permissibility and the fieldof discussionare reversed:a certain symmetrically invertedbondlinksthebook on Leonardoto the

silenceon Nietzsche.

Now the one subject that seems to encompass these opposing

reactionsis Freud'sself-doubt.To suppress Nietzscheisto suppress an

argue the significance ofLeonardo's sexuality tohislife

beendeemed impenetrable. Yet Freudhad

area of uncertainty and insecuritytouching nearest upon hisestimation

of himselfas a creativethinkerand

originality,uncertainty as towhetherhehad infactfoundthe adequate

fieldand bestmeansof

explore this area, but at a safe distance.Nietzschestandstoo close, however, in time, in his interests, in hisformulations.As Paul Federn

expressed itat one ofthe meetings onNietzsche:"Nietzschehascomeso

writer,uncertainty as to his

venting his creativity. To study Leonardo is to

32 Freud-ZweigLetters,p.

85. This story was repeatedlybroughtup attheVienna Society

Nietzsche, and provided thebasisformuch speculation aboutNietzsche.

meetings on

Freudhimself passed theinformationoffas immaterial," evenif true, butthenwenton

to make commentson Nietzsche's personality and even on the nature of his


investigations and

determining factor:"Then one sees how, in his

onlyobject of investigation thatis

stillaccessibleto himand which, in


Completely cutofffromlife byillness, heturnstothe

that take his

homosexuality for granted


and as a

illnessbecomes his fate

anyevent, iscloseto himas a homosexual,i.e., the

Societymeeting: "The lack of understanding of

"Germanic," a

33 Freud had also added, at theVienna

Nietzsche may beduetothefactthatthere really is something un-Germaninhisnature.

We just havenotsucceededin understanding Nietzsche's personality."Minutes,p. 30.

imply that only Germanic personalities could be

It is doubtfulthatFreudmeantto

understood bypsychoanalysis. In anycase, Leonardo certainly was not

factabout whichFreuddid

not complain.

Freud, Nietzsche


closeto ourviewsthatwecan ask only, 'Wherehashenotcomeclose?'" {Minutes,I, 359.) Nietzsche's anticipations threatentoturnFreudintoa verifyingdrudge(althoughZweig knowshowtoturnconfirmationsinto the significantachievements). Freudrefusesto compete with Nietzsche; nordoeshecaretouse him, to "stand on his shoulders."Instead, he barricadeshimself against

Nietzsche's stylus. Nietzscheis notto be spokenof, notto be read.For

the path on which

Nietzscheonce playfullysang and danced.

Freud might findhe has only been




Justhow well


Freudwas with Nietzsche, how muchof

Nietzsche'sworkhereadand whatuse hemade ofwhathe read:these are mattersabout whichFreud has littleto say, and it may wellhave

been them, ratherthan the works of Nietzsche, that he wishedto suppress. Wereitnotforthesurvivalofa fewlettersandthe publication


brought to light sinceFreud'sdeath- evidenceof Freud's familiarity

withNietzsche's thought would have disappearedvirtually withouta

trace. For Freud's

part, accidental.Considerthe followingpassage froma

fiancée, dated April

accumulatedfor14 years, all scientificabstractsand manuscripts of my

work;only some family lettershavebeen spared. All my old friendships

and relations presented themselves again


theirhands on

somehow, wedon'twantto makeittoo easy forthem."34Freud's timing hereisas curiousas thedrasticnatureofthisscorched-document policy

Societymeetings-material, thatisto say,onlygradually


the effacementof his

past was scarcely


28, 1885: "I

destroyed all

my notesand letters

and silently took the deadly

I cannotmatureandcannot die,worrying aboutwhowill lay

old papers. The biographers shouldworkit out

itself, sincein 1885hewas still unpublished and unknown. Already he appears benton covering his tracks, on perpetuating the myth thathe


that his achievement represented the highest sort of genius and


ill-read, thathe had

createdin a void, thathe

was unprecedented,

ButFreudreadNietzsche.He didnot actuallydeny thathehad.What

orthathe had been

hedeniedwas thathe had read very muchof him,

34 SigmundFreud,Letters,1873-1939, ed. Ernestand Lucie Freud, 2nded.



35 See John Gedo and


George Pollock, eds., Freud: The Fusion of Science and

Humanism (New York: InternationalUniversitiesPress,1976),pp. 12, 239 note2.



influencedin anywayby whatheread.Ata Vienna Societymeeting he hadconfessedto being unabletoreadmorethanhalfa page orso froma

work by Nietzschewithout having to stop. Yetvariousreasons suggest thathis knowledge ofNietzscheextended beyond thecontentsofa few

half-pages. For a

Nietzsche'sideas agreed withtheresultsof

awareofthecontentsofthoseideas?The very factthattwo meetings of

theVienna Society werededicatedto Nietzsche -

to twoofhisbooks - wouldindicatean alreadyexistingfamiliarity,by


andthisis borneout by thediscussions.Freud's disciples do not appear

so unacquainted withNietzscheas Freudhimself professed tobe. Adler "stressesthat among all greatphilosophers whohaveleft something for

posterity, Nietzscheisclosestto our way of thinking."(Minutes,1,358.) Federn, Friedmanand Frey offersome examples: "hewas thefirstto

discoverthe significance of abreaction, of repression, of

illness, oftheinstincts - the normalsexual onesas wellas thesadistic

instincts"; "the significance of forgetting, ofthe ability to forget; orthe

factthathe regards illnessas forth." (I, 359; II, 29)

start, how could Freud have knownthat many of

psychoanalysis unlesshewas

and more specifically

participants, withthe importance of Nietzscheto psychoanalysis;

flight into

and so

an excessive sensitivity to life,

Throughoutthis, as one would expect,

Freud does not seem less

knowledgeable than his students.To Federn's query, "Where has

[Nietzsche] notcomeclose?"Freud had,

somewhat defensive)reply: "Nietzschefailedto recognize infantilismas

wellas themechanismof


claims of neurosesin Nietzschewiththe assertionthat"thereis no

evidencewhatsoeverof a neuroticillness." (II, 31) Such

suggest familiarity with Nietzsche -

connectionswithNietzsche's works, when tallied, reveala remarkably

long and continuous history. The Silberstein correspondence, which has demonstratedthe

seriousnessof Freud's

seventeen-year-old Freud already,

Vienna,quite familiarwithNietzsche's published work.36Between1873 and 1877 Freud was a memberof the Lesevereinder deutschen Studenten, a readingsociety of young Germannationalists who, inthe 1870's, "sawinthemovementtoward pan-Germanism closerlinkswith the cultureof Goetheas well as a more genuineexpression of their

for example, a quick(ifperhaps

Later on, hecountered

as they


should, for Freud's

youthfulphilosophicalinterests, also showsthe

in hisfirst year at the

University of

36 Ibid. Nietzsche'sThe Birth of Tragedy was first published in 1872.


politicalidentity."37Taking Schopenhauer,Wagner and Nietzscheas their inspirationalleaders,they regardedpast political activity as

excessively rationalin its appeals, and as insufficiently concernedwith man's emotional, creativeand artisticside. The group's members became politically radicalized through theirenthusiasmoverGerman cultureandshareddreamsof overturning the"stable bourgeois worldof


Heinrich Braun, had beena closefriendofFreud'sintheir Gymnasium



in him.39"In 1877 Braun was one of the joint signers of a letterto Nietzsche declaring devotionto hisoutlookand offering tofollowinthe

wake of hiscriticismofliberal

Anotherof Freud's friends, Josef Paneth, withwhom he studied philosophy and attendedBrentano'slecturesin 1874-75,reappears a


leadingparticipant in the readingsociety,

atthat time, had"arouseda numberof


littlelateras a directlinkto Nietzsche.PanethmetNietzschein Nizza and spent a good deal oftimewithhimbetweenDecember 26, 1883and March 26, 1884.No doubtassuredthatFreudwouldbe interested, he

was thoughtfulenough to keep Freud informedof his impressions of

Nietzsche.Freudmakesa referencetothisto Zweig in 1934:"A friendof

mine, Dr. Paneth, had got

writeme a lot about him."41 The young Freud was thus aware of Nietzsche virtually fromthe

momenthisfirstbookwas published. WhetherFreudcontinuedtoread Nietzscheinthelastdecadesofthe19th century isunknown.Buthedid

receivePaneth'slettersin 1884.Andin 1900he againapparently took up his study of Nietzsche, forina letterto Fliessin February ofthat year,



Historyof the Psycho- myself the very great


pleasure of reading theworksofNietzsche."Butwhatismeant by "later

years "? Freud acquired Nietzsche'sworksin 1900withthe intentof reading them.He read and discussedNietzschein 1908at theVienna Societymeetings: thosewho attendedthe first meeting on Nietzsche

to knowhiminthe Engadine and he usedto

acknowledgedhavingjust purchased the worksof Nietzsche,


to findwordsformuchthatremainsmutewithinme."42


Freud had writtenin his

"In later

Movement (1914), "I have denied

37 HarryTrosman, "Freud'sCultural Background," in

38 Quoted in ibid.

39 Letters of SigmundFreud,p. 379.

40 Trosman,p. 58.

41 Letterof May 11, 1934, trans,in Jones,III, 460.

42 Quoted in

ibid.,p. 58.

Max Schur, Freud: Living and Dying(New York:InternationalUniversities

Press,1972),p. 202.



presumably had read in preparation at least the third essay of the

GenealogyofMorals, and likely had reador perused thefirsttwo essays also, whilethosewhoattendedthesecond meetingpresumably hadread Ecce Homo, From 1912 on, another directtie to Nietzschewas

establishedwhenLou Andreas-Salomécame to Viennato

Freud. Her knowledge of Nietzsche's thought, both from their discussions together and fromher reading of his works (she had

published FriedrichNietzscheinseinen Werkenin 1894), made hera valuable source of informationon Nietzsche.And a source readily


endureduntilLou's death in 1937.

"describedheras the only real bondbetweenNietzscheandhimself."43

As a resultof thissomewhattediousrecitationof evidence - made necessary in view of Freud's own misleading statementsand equally

misleadinglapses - I thinkitis

professions of ignorance

concerning Nietzsche's writings thanhisclaimsto havenotbeenwell-


suchdisclaimers seriouslywhen, forFreud'sseventieth birthday, hesent

himan expensive editionofNietzsche'sworks.As Roazen writes, "On


Rank was emphasizing a predecessor and anticipator ofFreud's.Itwas

as ifRank's

readintherelevant philosophical literature.OttoRankwas not


study with

since she and Freud quickly formeda friendship that


afterher death, Freud

necessary to concludethatthereis no

present was loyal

gift were saying,'you

and humble, and yet italso meantthat

accuse me of

taking from you when

look what you have takenfromNietzsche.'"44

This brings us to themore

interestingissue, whichis not simply what

FreudknewofNietzsche's thought butwhathedidwithwhatheknew.

Nietzsche's "intuited

"discoveries"were pointed out by Freud'sfollowersand admitted by

Freud himself. Rather than continuing here with additional

comparisons in that area,


but one fromFreud'slater speculativeperiod wherehe has turnedhis attentionto broadercultural problems. Let us look at thecentralideas

at some




anticipations" of Freud's psychoanalytic

letus takeanother approach and compare a

workof Freud'swithone ofNietzsche's - not a

ofCivilizationand Its Discontents (1930) and,followingthat,

fromNietzsche's analysis ofbad

conscienceinthe Genealogy

Morals (1887), twoworks dealing withthefoundationsandfunctions

43 Letterof February11, 1937,quoted in Jones,III, 213.

44 Freud and His Followers,p. 412.

Freud, Nietzsche


Freud argues thatcivilizationis premisedupon a trade: protection

againstnature, the regulation of social relationships, and orderin

exchange fora

sacrificeof instincts, ofindividualfreedom.

Perhaps we

enterson th