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Ida Bauer’s Atout. A Novel of a Difficult Woman

Paper by Katharina Prager and Johanna Gehmacher on the Conference »Herstory Re-Imagined. Women’s Lives in Biographical Fiction and Film«

This paper – structured as a conversation – wants to explore what this new novel contributes or subtracts from previous representations of Ida Bauer by organizing biographical time in interesting ways, and how this troubles or confirms the sex-gender systems within and against which it operates.

In June 2018 Katharina Adler (*1980) published a quite well-received novel on her grandmother Ida Bauer (1882–1945), titled “Ida”. Ida is the real name of one of the twentieth century’s most famous patients treated and studied by Sigmund Freud under the name of “Dora” in “Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria” (1905). Breaking off her treatment at age 18, she robbed Freud, as he later complained, “of the satisfaction of more thoroughly freeing her of her ailment”.
Adler set out to engage with the tensions of Ida Bauer’s representations throughout a century, re-imagining her story oscillating between victimization and idealization: “Slowly, my wish grew to complete this picture of her, yet also to counter it. I wanted to show a woman who couldn’t be dismissed as a life-long hysteric or exploited in a superficial way as a heroine. I wanted to show a woman with strengths and a few weaknesses who struggled to the last to live a self-determined life, despite all the adversities.”
“Ida“ depicts no likeable heroine, but a disgruntled woman arriving in her American exile, angry at her family, a bridge master preoccupied with numerology, and still deeply agitated when she hears the name of Freud.


Organization: Centre for Life-Writing Research, King’s College London

LBIDH Team: Katharina Prager


Di, 17/12/2019 - 13:15
Centre for Life-Writing Research, King’s College London