Blumenthal, Ralph. "Did Freud's Isolation, Peer Rejection Prompt Key Theory Reversal?" New
York Times, 25 August 1981, pp. C1, C2.
This, this second of Blumenthal's articles in the Times, is a bit more speculative than the
announcement made last week of the future publication of the Freud-Fliess correspondence.
Blumenthal has talked to Masson about the content of the letters and Masson has speculated to
him about what some of the letters mean. Masson suggests that Freud changed his theory on
childhood seduction for other than scientific reasons. He suggests that Freud bowed to peer
By September of 1897, Freud abandoned the environmental theory for the intensely
psychological theory. The environmental theory had it that fathers actually did rape their
daughters. The intensely psychological theory had it that the girl "phantasized" her assault, that
the rape wasn't real. Freud could then blame the child for her own self-destruction and save the
father. The question becomes: Why did Freud reverse his earlier view? Masson's speculations as
to why Freud changed his mind are given as his isolation and rejection by his peers.