FREUD AND THE ÉMIGRÉ. AUSTRIAN ÉMIGRÉS AND EXILES AND THE LEGACY OF PSYCHOANALYSIS IN BRITAIN FROM THE 1930S THROUGH THE 1970S, 9 november 2018.
“Freud and the Émigré” addresses the seminal role of Sigmund Freud and his writings, as well as the part played by his students in the construction of Viennese heritage abroad through their influence on the creative license of Austrian émigrés and exiles in Britain. Émigré and exiled art historians, artists, authors, sociologists, and philosophers upheld Freud’s celebrity aura as a “memory image” of a lost Viennese home, and as such a nostalgic icon of their coming of age in Vienna, as well as an idealized recollection of a turn of the century “Intellectual Vienna”. These émigrés, who would become significant international thinkers and producers, further applied Freud’s lessons in their creative endeavors as they adapted to new experiences abroad, contributing to the renewal of British culture. Thus, in many ways Freud was a touchstone of Austrian culture and intellect even as Austrians were forced out of their homeland during the crises approaching the mid-century. How did their Freudian heritage help Austrian cultural producers come to terms with political and social exclusion, Nazi Germany’s brutal persecutions and the horrors of World War II? After such traumatic losses of belongings, homes, and homeland, and with the subsequent hardships they faced as they integrated into British culture, can we better understand their reclamation of identity and re-location of self through their attachment to and investment in Freud’s lessons? How did these émigrés and exiles develop new, hybrid Viennese-British identities and a pointedly Freudian cultural language?