Sigmund Freud is Awarded the Goethe Prize

A gifted writer, Freud won the coveted Goethe Prize for literature in 1930.

He recieved a stipend of 2,500, of which he gave $250 to his aging friend Lou Andreas-Salome.

Why literature? Adam Phillips, the editor of a new translation of Freud's work, asserts that Freud should be read like 'any great novelist'. Take his case of Dora, which has been compared to the twentieth-century novels of Marcel Proust, Henry James, and James Joyce, and to the plays of Henrik Ibsen. Rather than moving only in chronological sequence, Freud moves back and forth, presenting multiple analytic perspectives by using modern techniques such as theoretical digressions, dramatic flashbacks, and warnings to the reader.

The first volumes of Freud's Collected Works appeared in 1925, time of his conflicts with Otto Rank (birth trauma). Freud was honored with the Goethe Prize for Literature (1930) and was elected Honorary Member of the British Royal Society of Medicine (1935).

In 1932, Freud received the Goethe Prize in appreciation of his contribution to psychology and to German literary culture. One year later (on 30 January 1933), the Nazis took control of Germany, and Freud's books were prominent among those burned and destroyed by the Nazis.

The award accorded to Freud in 1930 is noteworthy for two reasons: first, its nature and the correspondence to which it gave rise; second, Freud's commemorative essay on the occasion that describes his 'inner relations as a man and a scientist to Goethe.' Founded in 1927 by Frankfurt, Goethe's native city, the annual prize in his honor was given to one whose creative work would be 'worthy of an honor dedicated to Goethe's memory.'