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Freud letters reveal Rome phobia

Sigmund Freud's neurotic attitude to travel is laid bare in a series of letters to go on display in London.

india Updated: Mar 22, 2007 12:40 IST


Sigmund Freud's neurotic attitude to travel is laid bare in a series of letters penned by the father of psychoanalysis which go on show in London from tomorrow.

"Midday, opposite the Pantheon," he wrote in a missive to his wife from Rome, published in the Guardian newspaper.

"This is what I have been afraid of for years." Freud was reportedly terrified that he would be overcome by the weight of culture and history in the city, although other destinations apparently proved more soothing. The Austrian was a big fan of Blackpool, a seaside resort in the northwest of England, and told of his exploits beachcombing and rock pool hunting in an 1875 letter.

"One feels oneself like a hero who has performed deeds of improbable greatness," he wrote.

On a return visit to nearby Lytham St Anne's in 1908, he added "I enjoy it much better here than anywhere else... England in general is for holidays and eating, there is more pleasure in human contact here than elsewhere." Freud later mentioned his love of Blackpool in the landmark 1900 work "The Interpretation of Dreams".

Another letter written to his wife during a trip to New York details a visit to a new skyscraper but adds that he was not impressed because he has seen more beautiful landmarks, "though of course nothing bigger or wider". The exhibition -- entitled "Reisemalheurs", or the woes of travel -- goes on show at the Freud Museum, in Hampstead, northwest London, until April 22.

First Published: Mar 21, 2007 19:47 IST

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