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10. Shryock, R. H.: “The Beginnings: From Co- ed.: One Hundred Years of American Psy-
lonial Days to the Foundation of the Ameri- chiatry. New York: Columbia University
can Psychiatric Association,” in Hall, J. K., Press, 1944.

Great Paths Cross: Freud and James

at Clark University, 1909


The historic meeting of Freud and James forget one little scene that occurred as we
at Clark University, where Freud presented were on a walk together. He stopped suddenly,
his first exposition of psychoanalysis in handed me a bag he was carrying and asked
America, is described. The reactions of these me to walk on, saying that he would catch me
up as soon as he had got through an attack of
two great men to the encounter are re-
angina pectoris which was just coming on. He
called, and the author speculates as to the
died of that disease a year later; and I have al-
possible outcome of further dialogue be- ways wished that I might be as fearless as he
tween them had the illness and death of was in the face of approaching death.
James not intervened.
James’ letters(6) written shortly after
their meeting did not mention any exchange

O N SEPTEMBER 5, 1909,
Sigmund Freud
of ideas
for Freud
with Freud.
His earlier
abated, but
gave his first exposition of psychoanal-
not so for the psychoanalytic movement it-
ysis in America at Clark University, Worces-
self. His attitude toward psychoanalysis con-
ter, Mass. Granville Stanley Hall, president
tinued to be optimistic:
of Clark and a new friend of psycho-
analysis, was hosting Freud and his col- Speaking of “functional” psychology, Clark
leagues. William James, then 70 years of University, of which Stanley Hall is president,
had a little International Congress the other
age and professor of philosophy at Har-
day in honour of the twentieth year of its exis-
vard, journeyed from Boston to attend the
tence. I went there for one day in order to
lectures. Through Hall, an old associate
see what Freud was like, and met also Jung of
from the days of physiologic psychology at Zurich, who. made
. . a very pleasant impres-
Harvard, William James and Sigmund Freud sion. I hope that Freud and his pupils will
met for the first time. push their ideas to their utmost limits, so that
Their meeting seemed casual and un- we may learn what they are. They can’t fail to
planned. The reactions of these two great throw light on human nature; but I confess
psychologists toward each other is recorded that he made on me personally the impression
in Freud’s autobiography(2) and the letters of a man obsessed with fixed ideas. I can make
of William James(6). nothing in my own case with his dream theo-
Freud’s(2) memory of the event was ries, and obviously “symbolism” is a most dan-
gerous method. A newspaper report of the
James’ stoic attitude towards symptoms of a
Congress said that Freud had condemned the
fatal illness: American religious therapy (which has such
Another event of this time which made a extensive results) as very “dangerous” because
lasting impression on me was a meeting with so “unscientific.” Bah!
William James the philosopher. I shall never In another letter dated September 19,
1909, James(6) made similar comments
Dr. Simon was formerly with the Department about the meeting with Freud.
of Psychiatry, University of Miami School of
Medicine. He is now in private practice at 1616 -. My day at Clark University was very en-
Eighteenth Street, N.W., Washington, D. C. 20009. joyable, not only in meeting you, but in seeing

Amer. J. Psychiat. 124: 6, December 1967 [139]


new faces; especially Titchener’s, whom I had I cannot agree with the comment in Al-
never yet met, and who made on me a very len’s(l) recent biography of William James
pleasant impression. I strongly suspect Freud, that Freud’s theory of the unconscious held
with his dream theory, of being a regular hal- little interest for James. In 1901, eight years
lucine. But I hope that he and his disciples will before their encounter, James wrote with
push it to its limits, as undoubtedly it covers
great enthusiasm about the new ideas of
some facts, and will add to our understanding
Freud and his co-workers. In his famous
of “functional” psychology, which is the real
psychology. treatise, The Varieties of Religious Ex-
perience, James(3) relied heavily on the
Jung and Ernest Jones were less ambiva- workings of the unconscious to explain the
lently received by James. Jung(S) many
central experience of conversion and other
years later returned the compliment: “.
religious phenomena:
(He) made me realize that the horizons of
human psychology widen into the unmeas- In the wonderful explorations by Binet,
urable.” Janet, Breuer, Freud, Mason, Prince, and
Jones( 4) recalled the meeting with Wil- others, of the subliminal consciousness of pa-
liam James at Clark University as follows: tients with hysteria, we have revealed to us
whole systems of underground life, in shape of
His pathetic encounter with William James, memories of a painful sort which lead a para-
then fatally ill, Freud has himself described. sitic existence, buried outside of the primary
William James, who knew German, followed fields of consciousness, and making irruptions
the lectures with great interest. He was very there-into with hallucinations, pains, convul-
friendly to us and I shall never forget his part- sions, paralyses of feeling and of motion, and
ing words, said with his arm around my the whole procession of symptoms of hysteric
shoulder: “The future of psychology belongs disease of body and of mind. Alter or abolish
to your work,”-a remarkable saying when by suggestion these subconscious memories, and
one reflects on his puritanical background. the patient immediately gets well. These . . .

clinical records sound like fairy-tales when one

Background first reads them, yet it is impossible to doubt
Years before their encounter at Worces- their accuracy; and, the paths having been
ter, the widely read James was familiar once opened by these first observers, similar
with Freud’s work. However, Jones(4) tells observations have been made elsewhere. They
throw, as I said, a wholly new light upon our
us indirectly that Freud’s reading tastes
natural constitution.
may have left him somewhat unfamiliar
with James’ writing: “It is hardly likely At first blush it appears Freud and James
that Freud, who was not very given to read- held many ideas in common. Both were
ing books on psychology, would have been physicians steeped in the physiologic tradi-
at that time familiar with William James’ tion of their time. Empiricism, combined
detailed criticism. - .
with magnificent intellectual capacity, dis-
Freud nevertheless seemed knowledge- tinguished their scientific endeavors. In ad-
able enough of the contributions made to dition, James had long had a personal in-
psychology by William James. In a passage terest in psychopathology, undoubtedly
quoted by Ernest Jones(4), Freud spoke stemming from his own frightening experi-
with little enthusiasm about the theory of ence with severe depression as a young man.
emotion propounded simultaneously but in- Each man also underscored the importance
dependently in 1887 by William James and of instinctual behavior in man. Not by ac-
the Danish physiologist, C. Lange: cident, Ernest Jones(4) praises Freud’s lit-
Do not suppose that the things I have said to erary ability by comparing it with the style
you here about affects are recognized stock-in- of William James and his brother: “If Wil-
trade of normal psychology. They are on the liam James wrote textbooks of psychology
contrary views that have grown up on the soil as if they were novels and his brother Henry
of psychoanalysis and are native only to it.
wrote novels as if they were textbooks on
What you may gather about affects from psy-
chology-the James-Lange theory, for exam- psychology, Freud may be said to have coin-
ple-is quite beyond understanding or discus- bined the two aims in an enchanting de-
sion to us psychoanalysts. gree.”

[140] Amer. I. Psychiat. 124: 6, December 1967


Freud and James both had an intimate hint of personal antipathy. One wonders if
knowledge of classical literature, and each the powerful personalities of Freud and
displayed a magnificent ability in express- James hindered a free and easy exchange.
ing his ideas lucidly. William James and Sig- Was 17 years’ difference in age a contribut-
mund Freud found a similar interest in the ing problem? Having nursed his thoughts
scientific study of man’s spiritual experi- surrounded by trusted colleagues, Freud may
ences. Jones(4) speaks of the adverse com- have felt a certain reluctance in expressing
ments directed toward Freud for his psy- his new ideas to the friendly but nonpartisan
chological forays into religion and notes American psychologist during their walk.
James’ earlier pioneering effort: “In par- James may have also represented the im-
ticular psychology should keep its hands peding past. Indeed, William James was no
off religion-a claim often opposed from great friend of abstract metapsychology and
William James onward-and this in spite of its cousin-symbolism. To the very end, he
the undeniable fact that religious beliefs, remained true to his own radical empiricism
emotions and attitudes are part of the mind and pragmatism.
of man.” James seemed repulsed by Freud’s per-
Not stopping at religious experience, both sonal vehemence and the proposal of his
men lent credibility to psychical research by novl dream theory. He did not, however,
a scientific interest in all forms of occult reject the whole of psychoanalysis. Wil-
phenomena. Their careers had another in- liam James was the last of the 19th cen-
teresting parallel: each was the most widely tury philosopher-psychologists, untrammeled
read psychologist of his time. by any school of psychology, intellectually
But there were fundamental differences impartial to all ideas that excited his scien-
too. James was a Brahmin of the New Eng- tific curiosity. No better example of objec-
land tradition; yet he received all ideas with tivity exists than his benevolent prophecy for
a sympathetic ear. His character was rest- the future of psychoanalysis.
less and his professional interests extremely A credible explanation of what actually
broad, leading eventually to a career out- happened emerges from Freud’s account: A
side of psychology proper. He gave no pleasant, casual afternoon’s walk was un-
thought to creating a new school of psy- expectedly interrupted by the symptoms of
chology. Jones(4) notes the philosophical James’ impending fatal illness, frustrating
difference between Freud and James: “Most their effort to meet and understand each
students of Freud have been struck by what other. The harbinger of this outcome was
has been called his obstinate dualism; had contained in a colloquium given one year
he been a philosopher he certainly would earlier in Boston by Ernest Jones. That
not have been a monist nor would he small circle contained a number of James’
have felt at home in William James’ plural- friends, although he was conspicuously ab-
istic universe.” sent. (James had just returned to Boston
These were some of the similarities and from Europe but was physically ailing and
differences each man brought to Clark Uni- did not attend.)
versity in the autumn of 1909. An exchange, like the dialogues Freud
and James had with other eminent men,
Reflections seemed silenced by James’ illness. The per-
sonal differences that existed would have
The reader who expects to find memo- probably animated their encounter. No ac-
rable history made by the meeting of Freud count is found in the writings of Freud or
and James comes away disappointed. The James of any further contact. William
recorded memories of each man seem al- James’ death within a year of their meeting
most irrelevant now, leaving one to con- ended that interesting possibility.
clude that only the lightest conversation
passed between these two 20th-century Ti-
tans of psychology.
1. Allen, 0. W.: William James: A Biography.
From William James’ account comes the New York: Viking Press, 1967, p. 466.

Amer. I. Psychiat. 124: 6, December 1967 [141]


2. Freud, S.: The Standard Edition of the Com- 4. Jones, E.: The Life and Work of Sigmund
plete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Freud. New York: Basic Books, Vol. 1, 1953,
pp. 210, 373, 422; Vol. II, 1955, p. 57; Vol.
(ed.) London: Hogarth and the Institute of III, 1957, p. 360.
Psychoanalysis, 1953, vol. 16, p. 396. Vol. 20, 5. Jung, C. 0.: Collected Works of C. 0. Jung.
pg. 52. New York: Pantheon Books, 1960, p. 125.
3. James, W.: The Varieties of Religious Experi- 6. Perry, R. B.: The Thought and Character of
ence. New York: The Modern Library, 1929, William James. Boston: Little, Brown and Co.,
p. 230. 1935, pp. 122, 123.

The History of Psychiatry in Residency Training:

Report of Survey II


Early in 1967, 100 teaching centers in the TABLE 1

United States and Canada were surveyed by Results of 1961 Survey of 100 Residency
questionnaire in regard to their attitudes and Training Centers
practices in teaching the history of psychi-
Returned: 85
atry. Eighty-seven responded. Many of the 1. In what way do you regard a course in the history of
centers had been included in a similar study psychiatry:
a) as essentially of academic Interest only.
in 1961. Forty-four U. S. centers, and two (7) 100 85
Canadian, report that they are now offering 7% 8%
b) as largely for the purpose of Board examination.
courses in historical psychiatry-twice as
(1) 1% -
many as in 1961. A verage curriculum time c) as an important or essential part of the post-graduate
is about 20 hours. (residency) curriculum.
(76) 76% 89%
2. a) In the curriculum at your center, is a separate course
devoted to the history of psychiatry?
I N 1961 THE AUTHOR conducted a ques- Yes (22)
22% 25.8%
No (62)
62% 72.9%
tionnaire survey of 100 medical centers b) If so, in what year of the program is it offered?
in order to assess attitudes and practices in First: 11
Second: 3
the teaching of the history of psychiatry to
First and second: 2
residents. The results of that survey were re- Misc.: 5
ported in 1962(4), and are summarized in Required or elective?
Required: 20
Table 1. Table 2 presents a typical reply Elective: 2
to the 1961 survey. After an interval of six How many hours?
1-2 to 72
years, it was decided, early in 1967, to carry Average: 17
out a similar survey in order to detect Conducted by?
changes, if any, and the
direction of changes Psychiatrist: 18
Historian: 2
or trends in teaching the history of psychi- Required reading?
atry. The method employed was essentially Yes: 15
the same as that of the previous study and it No: 6
3. Rather than treating history as a separate subject, do you
is unnecessary to repeat the details here. blend historical Information with your presentation of
However, there were some methodological current theories and technIques?
Yes (64)
differences which must be mentioned. 64% 75%
4. Do you regard the historical, evolutionary perspective as
so important that, more than blending, you present psy-
Dr. Knoff is Associate Professor of Psychiatry, chiatric theory and technique entirely in a historical frame
State University of New York Upstate Medical of reference?
Yes (22) No (51)
Center, 750 E. Adams Street, Syracuse, N. Y.
22% 25.8% 51% 60%

[142] Amer. I. Psychiat. 124: 6, December 1967