Freud and Albert Moll: How kindred spirits became bitter foes

Harry Oosterhuis*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article explores the antagonism between Sigmund Freud and the German neurologist and sexologist Albert Moll. When Moll, in 1908, published a book about the sexuality of children, Freud, without any grounds, accused him of plagiarism. In fact, Moll had reason to suspect Freud of plagiarism since there
are many parallels between Freud’s Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie and Moll’s Untersuchungen über die Libido sexualis. Freud had read this book carefully, but hardly paid tribute to Moll’s innovative thinking about sexuality. A comparison between the two works casts doubt on Freud’s claim that his work was a revolutionary breakthrough. Freud’s course of action raises questions about his integrity. The article also critically addresses earlier evaluations of the clash.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberARTN 0957154X20922130
Pages (from-to)294-310
Number of pages17
JournalHistory of Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


  • Albert Moll, plagiarism, priority claims, psychoanalysis, sexology, sexual theory, Sigmund Freud
  • Albert Moll
  • Sigmund Freud
  • plagiarism
  • priority claims
  • sexual theory
  • psychoanalysis
  • sexology

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