In 1923, Freud initiated a debate with the pacifist, mystic, and Nobel laureate Romain Rolland, to whom he revealed that he felt a “mysterious attraction.” Their correspondence, which culminated in Freud’s remarkable piece of self-analysis “A Disturbance of Memory on the Acropolis” (1936), provides the point of departure for exploring Freud’s analysis of the oceanic feeling and the ideal of universal love championed by Rolland, as well as the quite different kind of love advocated by Freud. Other themes germane to the late work of Freud are also explored, including the unique epistemic status of Freud’s uncovering method and “gloomy theories,” and the ethical impulse animating his invention of psychoanalysis.

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