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Rik Loose – A Gross Episode


THE LETTER 17 autumn 1999, pages 63-69


In three letters written  by Freud  in 1908 and  addressed to Jung, references  were  made  to the  addiction of their  colleague,  the  rebellious and  burlesque, Otto  Gross.  It is most  peculiar  that  these  references  are not mentioned in any of the surveys, reviews or texts dealing  with Freud’s ideas  and  theories  on addiction.  Freud’s  remarks  on  addiction in these letters, and indeed  on the case of Otto Gross itself, are interesting enough to  warrant (at  least)  a  brief  discussion.    Gross  was  an  assistant  to  the famous  psychiatrist Kraepelin  and  a patient  of Jung.   Freud  knew  Otto’s father, Hans, who was professor in criminology  in Graz and Prague.  Otto was a psychoanalyst and philosopher and he was also hopelessly  addicted to cocaine and  opium.   Otto’s  addictive  behaviour  became at some  point so  problematic   for  his  entourage that  his  father  decided   to  have  him locked away in a psychiatric institute. Needless to say that the relationship between  father  and  son  wasn’t  the  best  and  it certainly  didn’t  improve after the incarceration. Otto was, and  remained, a troubled and rebellious character.  He was freed after a while and then disappeared from the scene until his death, due to drug addiction, was announced in 1920. In relation to Otto Gross’s addiction Freud writes to Jung the following: …

A Gross Episode

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