Reference to the most famous work of Swiss painter Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901), who painted five versions of his dreamlike Isle of the Dead throughout his career. The painting's various incarnations were very popular throughout Europe around the turn of the century, Freud being one of many who possessed a print of it.
In 1895 Alfred Dreyfus (1859-1935), a French artillery officer, was wrongfully convicted of passing military secrets to the Germans, and sentenced to lifelong solitary confinement at the infamous penal colony on Devil's Island, off the northern coast of South America. His Jewish background made him a target of institutional prejudice, his superiors moving repeatedly to suppress evidence which might have proven his innocence.
As Freud's reference attests, the so-called 'Dreyfus Affair' became the focus of international attention and widespread outrage, incited by influential figures like the novelist Émile Zola. After over a decade of imprisonment, Dreyfus would finally be exhonerated in 1906. Following an unsuccessful assassination attempt, reinstated and promoted, he went on to serve throughout the Great War. At its close he was awarded France's highest decoration, the légion d'honneur.
Online text of Émile Zola's open letter 'J'Accuse...!', published in L'Aurore, (1898)
A further reference to Wilhelm Fliess (See note to page 93).
Freud quotes Horatio from Act I, Scene 5 of William Shakespeare's Hamlet (See note to page 52).
A reference to one of the brief epigrams composed by prolific German writer Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781):
"It is a strange arrangement,"
Said Clever Hans to Cousin Fritz,
"That only the rich in all the world
Have the most money"
Online text of original German
In William Shakespeare's Othello, Desdemona's handkerchief is the chief tool Iago uses to bring about his commander's ruin. Given by Othello as a token of love, it is misplaced in Act III, Scene 3, allowing Iago to manipulate it into the hands of Cassio, an honourable lieutenant. This becomes the sole kernel of evidence around which Iago builds his relentless insinuations that the two are having an affair, ultimately leading Othello to murder his beloved.
Fully annotated online text of the play
Commonly used as a synonym for the wise and beautiful Greek goddess Athena, 'Pallas' can also refer to the equally virginal daughter of sea-god Triton who, in one version of the myth, raised both girls as sisters until Athena felled Pallas in mortal combat. According to some sources Athena then commemorated her death and likeness in the Palladium, a sacred statuette which became the lucky charm of the decidedly unlucky city of Troy (See note to page 104).
Online edition of 1st-century BC 'bible' of myth the 'Bibliotecha', as translated and annotated by J.G. Frazer, (1921)
Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930) was a Norwegian scientist and diplomat who led an unsuccessful expedition to reach the North Pole between 1893 and 1896. Based on a theory stating that objects caught in the shifting ice of the Arctic Ocean would gradually drift across or near to the pole itself, he intentionally allowed his ship the Fram to become frozen in place. When the waiting became intolerable, he left the rest of the crew to set out by dogsled with shipmate Hjalmar Johansen (1867-1913), and together they set a new record for the farthest northern point yet reached. Although the expedition was ultimately a failure, the huge popular success of Nansen's account brought him both international celebrity, and considerable wealth.
Online photographic database of Nansen's life and work at the National Library of Norway
Named for the experiments of Italian physicist Luigi Galvani (1737-1798), who animated dead matter and popular excitement with his use of electrical current, 'galvanic' therapy was once a common resort in the treatment of nerve-related disorders. The term could indicate several types of treatments, including the use of slightly electrified acupuncture needles, or a short 'galvanic bath' in slightly electrified water. All were intended to reduce inflammation and aid blood-flow, soothing condititions such as sciatica – generalised discomfort in the lower body resulting from irritation to the spinal roots of the sciatic nerve.
The Wiener Prater is a large public park in the second district of Vienna – originally used as a hunting ground by various noble owners, it was opened and developed for public use from the 18th century onwards.
Offical website of the 'Prater'
The Tiber is the main river of Rome. The mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian was erected on its banks between 135 and 139 AD, housing not only his own remains but those of succeeding Roman emperors until early in the next century. The building was variously looted or repurposed over the years, ultimately converted into the fortress now known as the Castel Sant'Angelo - the Pont Sant'Angelo bridge connects it with the opposite bank.
Narcissus is the botanic name for the flower more commonly known in English as the daffodil. Its name was either taken from or given to the Narcissus of Greek myth who, unwittingly falling in love with his own image, pined his life away beside the pool which reflected it. 'Narcissism' was coined as a term for pathological self-love by criminal psychologist Paul Näcke, and later adopted into Freud's portrait of the mind as a trait present in the development of all personalities.
Online edition of Ovid's 'Metamorphoses', as translated by Sir Samuel Garth, John Dryden, et al (1st-century AD)
Online edition of Freud's essay 'On Narcissism', as translated by James Strachey, (1914)
An adage popular in a number of languages for at least a millenium – sometimes linked to the 'Millarium Aureum', a gilded monument which once stood in the Forum of Rome, from which all major roads throughout the Empire were said to be measured.
Freud's boyhood idol Hannibal (248–circa 183 BC) was a Carthaginian general who fought in the second of the Punic Wars, which ended with the destruction of Carthage and Rome's emergence as one of the dominant powers of the classical world. He famously led an invasion force into Italy across the Alps, winning several major victories against Rome's armies and becoming a target of hatred and fear throughout the Republic. Hannibal's father was in fact called Hamilcar, not Hasdrubal as is here claimed – as well as correcting it in later editions Freud observed and analysed this mistake, alongside several others from the same work, in Chapter Ten of his Psychopathology of Everyday Life.
Online edition of Freud's 'Psychopathology of Everyday Life', as translated by A.A. Brill, (1901)