chapter  4
13 Pages

Inner emigration

On the run with Hannah Arendt and Anna Freud
WithLyndsey Stonebridge

This chapter 'Stateless Persons', in the middle of the Arendt biography, is echoed directly by 'Another Life' in the Anna Freud book. Like those of so many key thinkers of the last century, these are lives bisected by the before and after of exile. For Anna Freud, inner emigration is already the psyche's default position: for the ego, both the inside world and the outside world are always at some level difficult to tolerate. Arendt would have been uncomfortable with the comparison implied by the two biographies, not least because she tended to assume that psychoanalysis encouraged the very self-absorbed and apolitical inner emigration she found so deeply suspect. Anna Freud offers an excavation of that mind which drills down into the very places that Arendt assumed were off limits, even to totalitarian politics: the unconscious, fantasy and the nursery.