A Case of Hysteria, popularly known as the Dora Case, affords a rare insight into how Freud dealt with patients and interpreted what they told him. The 18-year-old ‘Dora’ was sent for psychoanalysis by her father after threatening suicide; as Freud’s enquiries deepened, he uncovered a remarkably unhappy and conflict-ridden family, with several competing versions of their story. The narrative became a crucial text in the evolution of his theories, combining his studies on hysteria and his new theory of dream-interpretation with early insights into the development of sexuality. The unwitting preconceptions and prejudices with which Freud approached his patient reveal his blindness and the broader attitudes of turn-of-the-century Viennese society, while his account of ‘Dora’s’ emotional travails is as gripping as a modern novel.
This new translation is accompanied by a substantial introduction which sets the work in its biographical, historical, and intellectual context, and offers a close and critical analysis of the text itself.