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Analysis and Exile

Boyhood, Loss, and the Lessons of Anna Freud

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Analysis and Exile: Boyhood, Loss, and the Lessons of Anna Freud is the story of the childhood and youth of Peter Heller, one of the first children to be psychoanalyzed by Anna Freud and one of the 20 students invited to attend her experimental school in 1920s Vienna. While Anna tries to teach him how to overcome his fears, Peter’s native Vienna slides into fascist barbarism and he is forced to navigate an increasingly dangerous world. When he is eighteen, he flees to England only to be deported to Canada, where he is interned as a German-speaking foreign national; here Jewish refugees and Nazi P.O.W.’s live cheek by jowl. To tell this story, Vivian Heller draws on a wealth of primary sources, including her father’s case history and his internment diary, using novelistic techniques to bring the past alive.

About the Speaker

Vivian Heller is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. She received her PhD in English Literature and Modern Studies from Yale University. She is the author of Joyce, Decadence, and Emancipation, which won the Choice Book Award, and a history of the building of the New York subway, The City Beneath Us. She has published essays and short stories in The Georgetown Review, Confrontation, Bomb, Fence and elsewhere. She has taught at Bennington, Barnard and Bard Colleges, and is currently a lecturer in the Columbia University’s Program in Narrative Medicine and a writing consultant at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.

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