Core Curriculum : Contemporary Civilization

Freud > Totem und Taboo

Freud, Totem und Tabu

Sigmund Freud, Totem und Tabu

Autograph document, Essay II, section 3

Columbia Health Sciences Library Special Collections

Click here for item information


Sigmund Freud wrote this manuscript of Totem und Tabu around 1912-1913, when he was still living in Vienna. He gave this section of the manuscript to his Hungarian disciple Sandor Ferenczi. After Ferenczi's death his family held on to the manuscript, which was nearly destroyed in 1945 when the family home caught fire during the Soviet capture of Budapest. Ferenczi's literary executor's son later donated it to Columbia University's Health Sciences Library.

Totem und Tabu, a study in cultural anthropology and psychoanalysis, postulates that civilization arose at the moment that a primal horde rose up against a dominant patriarch, slaying and eating him, and thus, that the Oedipus complex is at the root of civilization. Freud wrote the work under the influence of Sir James Frazer's The Golden Bough, which finds similarities in the myths of several cultures.

Columbia University Libraries / Rare Book & Manuscript Library / Butler Library, 6th Fl. / 535 West 114th St. / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-5590 /