Love in Vienna
The Sigmund Freud–Minna Bernays Affair
by Barry G. Gale
November 2015, 250pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-4220-7
$53, £40, 45€, A76
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-4221-4
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Did Sigmund Freud have an affair with his sister-in-law, Minna Bernays? Recently discovered evidence suggests that he did.

For many decades, critics and supporters of Freudian theory have debated the exact nature of Freud's relationship with his sister-in-law. This book examines the arguments pro and con in light of recently exposed evidence—the first study to do so in depth.

For many decades, controversy has surrounded the exact nature of famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud’s relationship with Minna Bernays, his sister-in-law. Why did Freud and Bernays travel alone together on many occasions? Why did she seem to be so much closer to Freud than his own wife, Martha? The idea that Freud and Minna Bernays had a long-standing affair—an allegation that Freudians typically deny—was first mentioned by Carl Gustav Jung, an early supporter of Freud’s and later a critic. Love in Vienna: The Sigmund Freud–Minna Bernays Affair provides the first comprehensive look at the relationship and offers conclusions as to its nature and the implications for Freud’s life and work.

Organized logically, the book provides background information regarding the two chief antagonists in the story, Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung. It then presents and critically analyzes arguments for and against there having been an affair. Finally, it looks closely at Freud’s relationships with both Minna Bernays and his wife Martha, Minna’s sister, and offers conclusions as to the exact nature of Freud’s relationship with Bernays.

Beyond fascinating those studying Freud or his theories, this work’s subject matter and insights will appeal to readers interested in the history of psychology, psychoanalysis, and psychiatry; the intellectual history of Europe; the history of sex and manners; the history of ideas; the fin de siècle period in Vienna; and the history of medicine.


  • Presents the first comprehensive examination of the close relationship between Sigmund Freud and Minna Bernays and their probable affair, providing a detailed assessment of arguments pro and con
  • Suggests that Minna Bernays might have lied about her affair with Sigmund Freud, and that Carl Gustav Jung—whom many Freudians have accused of having fabricated the story of a Freud/Minna affair—merely conveyed what Minna had told him
  • Draws on newly available sources, including the 61-page, 1953 Kurt Eissler interview of Jung released by the Freud Archives (Library of Congress) in 2013 after being embargoed for 60 years and dozens of letters between Freud and Minna from the Hirschmüller and Tögel collections—material that has been professionally translated from German into English for the first time
  • Provides a fascinating portrait of Freud as a man of simmering sexuality, with amorous interests in both men and women
Barry G. Gale, PhD, taught at Cambridge University as a member of Darwin College and served as professorial lecturer at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, a division of The Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Evolution Without Evidence: Charles Darwin and the Origin of Species and Belle Vue: Sigmund Freud, Minna Bernays, and the Meaning of Dreams, a finalist for both the 2014 Eric Hoffer and Indiefab awards. Gale was a National Science Foundation Dissertation Fellow to Cambridge University, where he taught in the History and Philosophy of Science Faculty (Cavendish Laboratories), and he is a member of the National Press Club in Washington, DC. He has broad public speaking experience with general and specialized audiences and has participated in numerous print, television, and radio interviews regarding his books. Gale received his bachelor's degree from Northwestern University and his master's degree and doctorate from the University of Chicago in the history and philosophy of science.


"I recommend this book very highly to anyone interested in the subject . . . . [I]t is the most thorough, thoughtful, and incisive summary of this intriguing debate thus far and will likely remain the single most important book on this subject for many years to come."—Dr. Daniel Burston, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, July 1, 2016

"I enthusiastically commend this book to anyone interested in this intriguing subject—the origins of the rumor, the rumor’s reception, the rebuttals and counterrebuttals that ensued over the following decades, and so on."—PsycCRITIQUES, July 11, 2016

"Gale gives his readers a rare insight into the relationship that Freud appeared to treasure most: his ambiguous relationship with [Minna] Bernays."—Metropole, October 10, 2016

"In the history of psychoanalysis, Freud's alleged sexual relationship with his sister-in-law Minna Bernays and Jung's alleged affair with Sabina Spielrein have become sensations, driving debates among defenders and doubters and spawning a considerable literature. Barry G. Gale's [Love in Vienna is] . . . a recent contribution to this genre. . . . The book is a scholarly discussion of the literature about the 'affair' written since [Ernest] Jones (1953) first mentioned rumors about it. Gale [is] convinced (1) that Minna slept with Freud and confessed this to Jung; (2) that Jung told the truth [about the affair] to [Dr. John] Billlinsky; and (3) that Billinsky's reportage [he interviewed Jung in 1957] was faithful."—Dr. Henry Z. Lothane, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, January 6, 2017

"Love in Vienna is a meticulously researched monograph and Barry Gales is to be congratulated on the depth and detail of his investigation."—The Victorian, January 23, 2017
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