If Freud never wrote on hysteria as a Jew engaged in a Jewish cause, we still have to find the reason for his radical break with the degeneracy paradigm around 1894-5. In my view, the explanation for Freud’s theoretical departure lies in his clinical practice. These were the years in which he started to work with Josef Breuer, examine patients and treat them in the ‘talking cure’. By looking carefully at his patients’ symptoms, Freud realized that contrary to common medical wisdom, ‘hysteria behaves as though anatomy did not exist or as though it had no knowledge of it’. Hysterical paralyses, he discovered, did not make sense in terms of the affected limb’s anatomical or physiological structure. No organic causes could be found which would explain such paralyses. Their boundaries did not follow any known pattern, and from a neurological standpoint there was nothing wrong with these patients. The nerves, as it were, were in order, and hence one could not really speak of nervous diseases. But rather than concluding that these patients were malingerers, as so many of his colleagues did, Freud tried to find an alternative explanation for these phenomena, which seemed to be beyond the conscious control of hysterics.