Strangeness within: The ordinary, the uncanny, and the birth of psychoanalysis

Mukamel, Maya. 2019. Strangeness within: The ordinary, the uncanny, and the birth of psychoanalysis. In: Sharon Gordon and Rina Peled, eds. Vienna 1900: Blooming on the Edge of an Abyss. Jerusalem: Carmel, pp. 437-482. ISBN 9789655408690 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

The chapter traces the consolidation of Freud's perception of the ego as a fluid, dynamic construct, limited in its capacity to apprehend reality and respond to it, and the perception of the borders of the ego as concealing and imaginary. A particular focus is given to the context of the treatment of hysteria in Paris at the end of the 19th century, and in Vienna at the beginning of the 20th century.

While as a clinical phenomenon hysteria represents the fluidity and breakdown of ego's borders, as a cultural and historic phenomenon it signifies a crisis in relation to the possibility of the thinking being to understand its own nature and control it, and a crisis in relation to its gendered identity. It also marks a return to the Romantic German tradition, as a way to cope with these crises. These characteristics mark the birth of psychoanalysis as one of the most significant signs of the crisis of rationalism and identity in Fin de Siecle Vienna.

Item Type:

Book Section


psychoanalysis, Freud, Breuer, Peppenheim, gender, rationalism, romanticism

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)


August 2019Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2019 10:40

Last Modified:

04 Oct 2019 10:40


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