Arthur Schnitzler (1862–1931) was a central figure of Viennese modernism, living and working in the Habsburg metropolis at the same time as Sigmund Freud (1856–1939). The talk will introduce the productive, but also extremely ambivalent intellectual and personal relationship between Freud and this literary writer. In a famous letter to Schnitzler, Freud admitted to the so-called ‘doppelganger anxiety’ he felt towards the other man. And indeed, Freud’s texts contain several references to Schnitzler’s work. A medical doctor himself, Schnitzler remained sceptical about some of the key assumptions of psychoanalysis. His writings, however, have been read as literary case studies that subtly illuminate the complex pitfalls of human relationships. Taking its cue from this particular relationship between Freud and Schnitzler, the talk will explore the intersections between literature and psychoanalysis more broadly and discuss whether literature can become a source of psychoanalytic insight or vice versa.

Marie Kolkenbrock is a Research Associate and Affiliated Lecturer at the German and Dutch Section of the University of Cambridge and at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Theory of Biography in Vienna. She holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge (2014), as well as a BA and MA from the Freie Universität Berlin (2004 and 2008 respectively). Her monograph Stereotype and Destiny in Arthur Schnitzler’s Prose: Five Psycho-Sociological Readings was published in 2018. She was lead curator of the recent exhibition ‘Ein gelernter Österreicher’: Arthur Schnitzler und der Erste Weltkriegat the Austrian National State Archive in Vienna. For more information:

In English
Organized by

Wilhelm Brüggen (BIPP), Monika Englisch, and Andreas Gehrlach (HU Berlin); a cooperation of the BIPP, the Department of Cultural History and Theory of the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, and the ICI Berlin

Further details:

The lecture series Psychoanalytic and Cultural Theory devotes itself to the influence of psychoanalysis on cultural theories at large as well as to particularly poignant applications of psychoanalytical research to current cultural phenomena. The central psychoanalytic concepts of Freud and his successors are to be taken up in an open and non-partisan perspective fashion and applied to the cultural, political, and economic phenomena encountered today. Whereas early psychoanalysis dealt primarily with the family as it was shaped by bourgeois Victorian society, current research increasingly focuses on extreme kinds of individualization, social uncertainties and threats, as well as on new digital and technological cultural techniques. The series would like to develop, new, critical, and innovative readings of psychoanalytic theory and combine them with concepts and ideas from the humanities and from cultural critique.

Lecture Kolkenbrock

The event, like all events at the ICI Berlin, is open to the public, free of charge. The audience is presumed to consent to a possible recording on the part of the ICI Berlin. If you would like to attend the event yet might require assistance, please contact Event Management.