Young Anna Freud is sexually attracted to other girls. Unfortunately, in the early 20th century, lesbianism is still widely considered to be a symptom of “hysteria,” a psychological disorder marked by paralysis and other extreme symptoms.
Anna’s father, Sigmund Freud, has long believed that fathers are at fault for any daughter’s lesbianism. But he also takes pride in being the world’s leading expert on hysteria, so he can’t ignore what he believes to be the screamingly crazy roots of Anna’s “disorder.” Unfortunately for Anna (and women everywhere), Sigmund believes that any and all hysteria is caused when a woman’s innate and unconscious desire to be sexually violated goes unmet.
Worried about her lack of male suitors, Sigmund psychoanalyzes Anna to ready her for a womanly life. In analysis, Anna tries hard to accept her father’s ideas. But when she meets Dorothy Burlingham, heir to the Tiffany fortune, she can’t help but fall in love. The novel HYSTERICAL is Anna’s fact-based, full-life story of father-daughter conflict, sexual coming of age, and life with Dorothy.
Author Rebecca Coffey is an award-winning journalist, documentary filmmaker, and radio commentator. Also a humorist, she is the author of Nietzsche’s Angel Food Cake: And Other “Recipes” for the Intellectually Famished (Beck & Branch, 2013) and Science and Lust(Beck & Branch, 2018).