The University of Wisconsin Press

Biography / Memoir / Psychiatry / European Studies / Judaica


Recollecting Freud
Isidor Sadger
Edited and introduced by Alan Dundes
Translated by Johanna Micaela Jacobsen and Alan Dundes

The first English translation of a "lost memoir" by Freud's disciple

“We are indebted to Alan Dundes for rescuing from oblivion this useful aid to understanding Sigmund Freud.”
—Morton I. Teicher, Jewish Journal

Available here for the first time in English, this eyewitness account by one of Freud's earliest students has been rediscovered for twenty-first-century readers. Isidor Sadger's recollections provide a unique window into the early days of the psychoanalytic movement—the internecine and ideological conflicts of Freud's disciples. They also illuminate Freud's own struggles: his delight in wit, his attitudes toward Judaism, and his strong opinions concerning lay, nonmedical analysts.

As a student, Sadger attended Freud's lectures from 1895 through 1904. Two years later Freud nominated Sadger to his Wednesday Psychological Society (later called the Viennese Psychoanalytic Society). Sadger, however, was not part of Freud's inner circle, but more a participant observer of the early years of the psychoanalytic movement and of Freud as teacher, therapist, and clinician.

Sadger was considered one of the most devoted followers of Freud and hoped to become one of Freud's "favorite sons." At the First Psychoanalytic Congress held in Salzburg in 1908, Sadger was chosen to be one of the principal speakers along with Freud, Jones, Alder, Jung, Prince, Rifkin, Abraham, and Stekel, an honor that bespeaks Sadger's early importance in the movement. But Freud and many of his disciples were also openly critical of Sadger's work, calling it at various times overly simplistic, unimaginative, reductionist, orthodox, and rigid.

In 1930 Sadger published his memoir, Sigmund Freud: Persönliche Erinnerungen. With the rise of Nazism and World War II, the book became lost to the world of psychoanalytic history. Recently, Alan Dundes learned of its existence and mounted a search that led him around the world to one of the few extant copies—in a research library in Japan. The result of his fascinating quest is Recollecting Freud, a long-lost personal account that provides invaluable insights into Freud and his social, cultural, and intellectual context.

“Credited as being one of the first practicing doctors of psychoanalysis, Sadger writes with a breathless fondness that makes the science’s dawning years sound like the founding of a new religion.” —Nathan Deuel, Village Voice

Isidor Isaak Sadger (1867–1942), a Viennese neurologist, was one of Freud's earliest and most devoted students. Alan Dundes (1934–2005), was professor of anthropology and folklore at the University of California, Berkeley, and published ten books with the University of Wisconsin Press, including Parsing Through Customs: Essays by a Freudian Folklorist; The Vampire: A Casebook; The Blood Libel Legend; and Cinderella: A Casebook. Johanna Micaela Jacobsen is completing her Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife at the University of Pennsylvania and pursuing her research interests in the history of folkloristics in Germany.

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

cover of Sadger has an old photo of Freud


August 2013
LC: 2004025672 BF
196 pp.   5 x 8 1/2
1 b/w photo

Book icon Paper $19.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-21104-2
Shopping cart ADD TO CART
  Review cart contents
Secure checkout

“[T]he memoir is short and a page turner. As a disciple, [Sadger] is obviously enamored, but just as obviously bitter from criticism by the master. The fascinating result puts the memoirist on the couch with the subject.”
—Choice, April 2005

“[A] valuable find for historians of psychoanalysis and an enjoyable introduction to the very human Freud.”
—E. James Lieberman, American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis

Home | Books | Journals | Events | Textbooks | Authors | Related | Search | Order | Contact

If you have trouble accessing any page in this web site, contact our Web manager.

Updated 9/26/2013

© 2013 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System