La Chose Genitale
As a practising physician, Freud at first met nothing but trouble and opposition. As soon as he advised the conservative members of the Vienna Medical Society of his newfangled French notions, he was greeted with scorn. Freud recalled an incident that had taken place at one of Charcot’s evening receptions. Freud had been standing near Charcot, who was describing to a colleague a case that had interested him enormously. The case involved a young married couple. The wife was extremely nervous and the husband either impotent “or exceedingly awkward.” Charcot recounted the details of the wife’s disturbance. His colleague was astonished that such symptoms as those he described should appear as a result of such circumstances, whereupon Charcot said suddenly and impatiently: “Mais, dans ces pareils, c’est toujours la chose genitale, toujours—toujours—toujours.” And while saying that, he had crossed his hands in his lap and jumped up and down several times, with the vivacity peculiar to him.