The Life and Work of Joan Riviere traces her journey from dressmaker’s apprentice, and member of the Society for Psychical Research, to Sigmund Freud’s patient and his favourite translator. Marion Bower examines Riviere’s important legacy and contribution to the early development of psychoanalysis.

Riviere was also a close friend and colleague of Melanie Klein and wrote her own highly original and influential papers on female sexuality and other topics, in particular Womanliness as a Masquerade (1929). Her position in the British Psychoanalytic Society was unusual as a direct link between Freud and Klein. Her own papers were extraordinarily prescient of developments in psychoanalysis, as well as the social climate of the time. Riviere’s experience as a dressmaker gave her an interest in female sexuality, and she proceeded to significantly challenge Freud’s views. She also defended Klein from ferocious attacks by Melitta Schmideberg (Klein's daughter) and Anna Freud.

The Life and Work of Joan Riviere will appeal to anyone interested in the history of psychoanalysis as well as Riviere’s highly original perspectives involving feminist thought and female sexuality.

chapter Chapter 1|6 pages

‘A well born lady’

chapter Chapter 2|9 pages


chapter Chapter 3|7 pages

Other worlds

chapter Chapter 4|11 pages


chapter Chapter 5|13 pages

Apprenticeship and marriage

chapter Chapter 6|7 pages

Does housekeeping interest you at all?

chapter Chapter 7|8 pages


chapter Chapter 8|16 pages

Ernest Jones

chapter Chapter 9|11 pages


chapter Chapter 10|8 pages

A devilish amount of trouble

chapter Chapter 11|9 pages

I would be inclined to bet heavily on her

chapter Chapter 12|10 pages

Child wars

chapter Chapter 13|9 pages

Female sexuality and femininity

chapter Chapter 14|8 pages

The road to war

chapter Chapter 15|8 pages

A front-rank analyst

chapter Chapter 16|8 pages


chapter Chapter 17|6 pages

After the war

chapter Chapter 18|5 pages

The internal world

chapter |3 pages