Sigmund Freud’s Most Famous Psychoanalytic Drama and the Man Who Dreamed and Played the Role of the Wolfman1

  • Siamak Movahedi


Freud’s case history of the Wolfman is a condensation of multiple stories and multiple plots within plots, all for the purpose of concealing Freud’s desire to inflict a fatal attack on the views of Jung and Adler, who had had the audacity to question his theory of infantile sexuality. In that sense, the case is a reconstruction motivated by a personal agenda—so why does the psychoanalytic community insist on reading the Wolfman’s case history as an illness story rather than a literary construction enjoying a political plot? Similar to characters in a novel, the Wolfman is more of a fictional character. Literary critics have argued that in Freud’s case histories, the narratives tend to belong progressively less to the patient and more to Freud. In the Wolfman’s case, however, the analysand cooperated with Freud by playing the role that had been assigned to him. He had also cooperated with Freud in dreaming Freud’s fantasy or fear of being devoured by some of his competitive wolf-like followers (the silent wolves sitting on the tree).3 In this sense, the nontherapeutic process, rather than the analysis, benefited the Wolfman by providing him with an identity and offering him a degree of self-respect and a sense of importance in the history of psychoanalysis.