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Viktor Tausk (March 12, 1879, Žilina - July 3, 1919) was a pioneer psychoanalyst and neurologist. A student and a colleague of Sigmund Freud, he was the earliest exponent of psychoanalytical concepts with regard to clinical psychosis and the personality of the artist.


Tausk had been a lawyer and writer when he began to study medicine in Vienna around 1910. [1] He joined the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society and soon began to contribute papers.

In 1919 after he had stepped out from Freud's shadow, Tausk published a paper on the origin of a delusion common to a wide array of schizophrenic patients, namely that an alien device, malignant and remote, had influenced their thoughts and their behavior. This device was referred to as the Influencing Machine and the paper was called On the Origin of the "Influencing Machine" in Schizophrenia. It is the most well known of his publications, reaching beyond his own field of research into others, such as literary theory for example.

Freud and deathEdit

On the morning of July 3, 1919 after Helene Deutsch had stopped Tausk’s treatment after Freud had demanded it, and after a complicated relation with Sigmund Freud and Lou Andreas-Salomé, Tausk committed suicide.

Freud wrote to Salomé that "I confess that I do not really miss him; I had long realised that he could be of no further service; indeed that he constituted a threat to the future." [2]

Selected bibliographyEdit

  • Victor Tausk. Sexuality, War and Schizophrenia: Collected Psychoanalytic Papers (Philanthropy and Society) (1990) ISBN 0-88738-365-3

Books on Viktor TauskEdit

See also Edit


  1. Clark, Ronald W (1980). Freud: The man and the cause, Cape and Weidenfeld & Nicolson., p286
  2. Cited in Clark (1980), p399

External links Edit

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