I was recently asked to talk about my novel, Vienna Triangle at a Psychoanalytic Conference (IFPE) "Daring to Speak:Languages Spoken and Unspoken." The theme of the conference seemed particularly appropriate to my novel.
I was in Rome reading Thomas Mann’s Lotte in Weimar when I got the idea for Vienna Triangle. Mann was describing how the great Goethe sucked the life out of people close to him and used them for his own purposes. This made me think of Freud and Viktor Tausk. I wondered next if genius couldn’t tolerate the existence of great talent in its vicinity. Since my artist mother thought of hewrself as a genius this had some resonance for me. Also, Helene Deutsch who briefly analysed Tausk and adored Freud, was my mother’s analyst (I’ve written more about my family’s involvement with psychoanalysis in The Last Good Freudian.) As I researched my story, I came to feel that Freud played an important role in Tausk’s suicide and subsequent cover-up where no analyst dared talk about him.
I had experienced a minor attempt to cover-up damaging material myself. A prominent analyst had offered to write a blurb for The Last Good Freudian but felt it necessary to call colleagues in New York to apologize for endorsing a book which told such distressing stories about analysts. Her colleagues told her I had probably made them up, at worst, if the things I described really happened, they certainly didn’t happen now. And finally, not to worry, no one would review or speak of it, it would be swept under the rug.
My book leads its young narrator on a journey of discovery. The truth when she finds it turns out to be both leathal and life-affirming.
Causes Brenda Webster Supports
Doctors Without Borders
The Nature Conservancy
Women Support Women