Reference to an episode in Chapter 41 of the Old Testament book of Genesis, in which the prophet Joseph interprets Pharaoh's dream as foretelling seven years of plenty followed by seven of famine for Egypt.
The story of a Hebrew sage who, alone and reviled in a hostile land, rises to great fame and power through his skill at interpreting dreams most likely had personal as well as professional significance for Freud.
Online edition of the 'Authorized King James Bible', (originally published 1611)
Austrian physician Josef Breuer (1842-1925) collaborated with Freud on the work which originated many aspects of psychoanalysis, their Studies in Hysteria (1895). The book's foundation was Breuer's case study of a young patient he called 'Anna O.', who presented with various mood disorders and physical symptoms which were then considered hallmarks of hysteria.
The 'talking cure' process which Anna and Breuer developed in their sessions anticipated several key elements of Freudian analysis, including the concept of disturbing memories being at the root of nervous illness. After their eventual estrangement Breuer would come to be depicted by Freud and his followers as something of a stooge, representing the stunned resistance to his theories which supposedly proved their truth.
Online edition of Freud and Breuer's 'Studies in Hysteria', as translated by A. A. Brill, (1937)
The analytical method Freud developed famously required his patients to recline on a couch while allowing memories and associations to arise, supposedly free of outside influence. The analyst was to sit directly behind the analysand's head, a position of invisible authority, occasionally intervening to direct the monologue – still the iconic image of psychoanalysis in popular culture. Freud's couch itself now resides at the London museum in the house where he lived and died after fleeing the Nazis' annexation of Austria in 1938.
Official website of The Freud Museum
'Otto' stands for Austrian pediatrician Oskar Rie (1863-1931), a close friend and occasional collaborator of Freud's from the beginning of his career until the end of his life. Brother-in-law to his sometime rival for Freud's affections, Wilhelm Fliess (See note to page 93).
'Dr M' is Josef Breuer, Freud's sometime mentor whose collaboration with him had resulted in their joint publication of Studies in Hysteria (1895), now seen as the founding text of psychoanalysis (See note to page 80).
Derived in the mid-1800's from a type of leaf chewed for centuries by indigenous South American peoples, cocaine was soon widely touted as a wonder drug across both Europe and the United States. It was not only used to provide pain relief, but advertised as a general revitalising tonic, giving a unique selling point to certain brands of wine and cigarettes. Freud's recommendation came a year earlier than he claims here in his 1884 essay On Coca, which ecstatically celebrated its medicinal uses, while flatly denying that it might be addictive.
As well as enthusiastically partaking himself he recommended it to the successful Austrian physician Ernst von Fleischl-Marxow (1846-1891), who had lost a thumb to infection early in his career and developed a morphine addiction while attempting to manage the chronic pain. Cocaine's own addictive properties, soon to become widely recognised, were demonstrated by Fleischl-Marxow's spiral into heavy use prior to his early death at the age of 45. This passage makes clear that Freud later regarded his experiences with the drug as a source of not only professional embarrassment but personal guilt.
Excerpts from Freud's 'On Coca' (1884), and later related writings
Wilhelm Fliess (1858-1928), a German physician specialising in disorders of the ear, nose and throat, became Freud's close friend and confidant following his alienation from Josef Breuer (See note to page 80). They shared a fascination with the sexual dimension of nervous ailments; Fliess was convinced of a fundamental connection between the nasal and genital organs. He reasoned that surgery performed on the nose might be of some benefit to psycho-sexual disorders.
Freud allowed Fliess to treat not only his own nasal passages, with a mixture of cauterisation and cocaine, but those of several amongst his patients. Famously, the nervous ailments of one Emma Eckstein (1865-1924) led her from Freud's couch to the scalpel of Fliess, whose botched surgery led to infection and blood loss which might well have killed her but for the intervention of a specialist.
Excerpts from 'The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess, 1887-1904', (1985)
The famous style of pottery originating in ancient Greece (pictured left), and produced in several Mediterranean countries, was traditionally termed 'Etruscan' due to its initial discovery in Etruria. The term is more correctly applied to the type of dark pottery actually produced by the Etruscan civilisation (pictured right), the pre-Roman rulers of present-day Italy.