The myth of Freud's ostracism by the medical community in 1896-1905: Jeffrey Masson's assault on the truth

Hist Psychol. 2002 May;5(2):115-34. doi: 10.1037/1093-4510.5.2.115.


The story recounted by Jeffrey M. Masson of the medical community's outraged response to the seduction theory is treated as historical fact in some of the recent literature on Freud's early psychoanalytic experiences. In this article the evidence adduced by Masson in The Assault on Truth (1984) to buttress his account of Freud's supposed ostracism is critically examined. It is concluded that this evidence fails to substantiate Masson's version of events, that there is abundant evidence that refutes it, and that he has ignored the historical research that demonstrates that the notion that Freud's early psychoanalytic writings received an irrationally hostile reception is a myth.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Historiography*
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Physicians / history*
  • Professional Role / history*
  • Psychoanalysis / history*
  • Psychoanalytic Theory*

Personal name as subject

  • Sigmund Freud
  • Jeffrey Masson