Betty Friedan’s Sigmund Freud Footnotes

Sigmund Freud, by Max Halberstadt (cropped).jpgThe footnotes in Betty Friedan’s seminal 1963 classic The Feminine Mystique are as good as the text:

“During the years Freud was germinating his sexual theory, before his own heroic self-analysis freed him from a passionate dependence on a series of men, his emotions were focused on a flamboyant nose-and-throat doctor named Fliess. This is one coincidence of history that was quite fateful for women. For Fliess had proposed, and obtained, Freud’s lifelong allegiance to, a fantastic ‘scientific theory’ which reduced all phenomena of life and death to ‘bisexuality,’ expressed in mathematical terms through a periodic table based on the number 28, the female menstrual cycle. Freud looked forward to meetings with Fliess ‘as for satisfying hunger and thirst’. He wrote to him: ‘No one can replace the intercourse with a friend that a particular, perhaps feminine side of me, demands.’ Even after his own self-analysis, Freud expected to die on the day predicted by Fliess’ periodic table, in which everything could be figured out in terms of the female number 28, or the male number 23, which was derived from the end of one female menstrual period to the beginning of the next.”

Footnote 20, for Chapter 5 The Sexual Solipsism of Sigmund Freud, The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan, 1963.

Photograph: Max Halberstadt, 1921.