The Secret Mind of Bertha Pappenheim: The Woman Who Invented Freud's Talking Cure (Hardcover)

The Secret Mind of Bertha Pappenheim: The Woman Who Invented Freud's Talking Cure By Gabriel Brownstein Cover Image
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Description


The story of a patient who changed the world, and the mystery of her illness.

In 1880, young Bertha Pappenheim got strangely ill—she lost her ability to control her voice and her body. She was treated by Sigmund Freud’s mentor, Josef Breuer, who diagnosed her with “hysteria.” Together, Pappenheim and Breuer developed what she called “the talking cure”—talking out memories to eliminate symptoms. Freud renamed her “Anna O” and appropriated her ideas to form the theory of psychoanalysis. All his life, he told lies about her. For over a century, writers have argued about her illness and cure.

In this unusual work of science, history, and psychology, Brownstein does more than describe the controversies surrounding this extraordinary woman. He brings Pappenheim to life—a brilliant feminist thinker, a crusader against human trafficking, and a pioneer—in the hustling and heady world of nineteenth-century Vienna. At the same time, he tells a parallel story that is playing out in leading medical centers today, about patients who suffer symptoms very much like Pappenheim’s, and about the doctors who are trying to cure them—the story of the neuroscience of a condition now called FND.

The Secret Mind of Bertha Pappenheim argues for the healing art of listening and describes the new “talking cures” emerging out of neuroscience today.

About the Author


Gabriel Brownstein is the author of three previous books, most recently The Open Heart Club. For his short stories, he’s won a PEN/Hemingway Award and a Pushcart Prize. He’s an English professor at St. John’s University in New York City.

Praise For…


"[A] riveting look at the boundaries between neurology and psychology and the gender dynamics of medicine. This captivates."
 —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"In his much-anticipated book, Gabriel Brownstein excavates Bertha Pappenheim’s life, finally telling the full story of this extraordinary feminist whose work continues to impact countless patients today."—Lilith Magazine

“[A] riveting look at the boundaries between neurology and psychology and the gender dynamics of medicine. This captivates.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“With the heart-racing pace of a novel, Brownstein creates a moving portrait of Bertha Pappenheim as he gives her a voice, a heart, and a soul.”—Jessica Anya Blau, author of Mary Jane

“This is a work of courageous and compassionate reexamination of a Jewish feminist icon who deserves to be much better known. Brownstein excavates trauma and grief, mind and brain, silencing and "the talking cure," and moves us with his portrait of Bertha Pappenheim, her passion and her purpose.”—Anya Kamenetz, author of The Stolen Year

“Brownstein's wonderful book is part intellectual history, part scientific inquiry, and reads like a detective novel. The mystery concerns Freud's most famous patient, and the wildly satisfying twist is that our most fundamental ideas about the human mind grow out of this very case.”—Joe Weisberg, creator of “The Patient” and “The Americans”

The Secret Mind of Bertha Pappenheim braids its fascinating stories together seamlessly. This is a very important contribution to the Pappenheim/Freud literature and to helping people with FND today.  I found the book absolutely riveting.”—Marion A. Kaplan, Professor Emerita of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University

“I adored this book.  Out of a writer’s encounter with his dying psychoanalyst father flashes a revelatory Anna O. who, despite a century’s efforts to erase her real life, leaps through a told and retold history --  passionate women as mere lab specimens,  a circle of brilliant but flawed men, a moment in Vienna. Exhilarating."—Honor Moore, author of The Bishop’s Daughter


Product Details
ISBN: 9781541774643
ISBN-10: 1541774647
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication Date: April 16th, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English