Freud's fascination with H. Rider Haggard, and in particular with She, seems to have been of long duration. Grinstein (1980, p. 395) notes that the object of Ayesha/She's affections, Leo Vincey, is said to have been born in May, 1856, the same month as Freud (and Haggard himself). Grinstein's summary and extended discussion of the two Haggard novels to which Freud refers, She and The Heart of the World (Grinstein, 1980, pp. 395-422) draws attention to many resonances between themes in Freud's self-analysis and Haggard's fiction, suggesting for example that the underlying theme of She underscores both Oedipal rivalry between the young man and the father and "Ayesha's final unattainability" (Grinstein, 1980, p. 403). One may imagine young Freud to have been quite moved by the image of deathless Ayesha's unvieling:

She lifted her white and rounded arms--never had I seen such arms before--and slowly, very slowly, withdrew some fastening beneath her hair. Then all of a sudden the long, corpse-like wrappings fell from her to the ground, and my eyes travelled up her form, now only robed in a garb of clinging white that did but serve to show its perfect and imperial shape, instinct with a life that was more than life, and with a certain serpent-like grace that was more than human. On her little feet were sandals, fastened with studs of gold. Then came ankles more perfect than ever sculptor dreamed of. About the waist her white kirtle was fastened by a double-headed snake of solid gold, above which her gracious form swelled up in lines as pure as they were lovely, till the kirtle ended on the snowy argent of her breast, whereon her arms were folded. I gazed above them at her face, and--I do not exaggerate--shrank back blinded and amazed. I have heard of the beauty of celestial beings, now I saw it; only this beauty, with all its awful loveliness and purity, was evil--at least, at the time, it struck me as evil. How am I to describe it? I cannot--simply, I cannot! The man does not live whose pen could convey a sense of what I saw. I might talk of the great changing eyes of deepest, softest black, of the tinted face, of the broad and noble brow, on which the hair grew low, and delicate, straight features. But, beautiful, surpassingly beautiful as they all were, her loveliness did not lie in them. It lay rather, if it can be said to have had any fixed abiding place, in a visible majesty, in an imperial grace, in a godlike stamp of softened power, which shone upon that radiant countenance like a living halo. Never before had I guessed what beauty made sublime could be--and yet, the sublimity was a dark one--the glory was not all of heaven--though none the less was it glorious. Though the face before me was that of a young woman of certainly not more than thirty years, in perfect health, and the first flush of ripened beauty, yet it had stamped upon it a look of unutterable experience, and of deep acquaintance with grief and passion. Not even the lovely smile that crept about the dimples of her mouth could hide this shadow of sin and sorrow. It shone even in the light of the glorious eyes, it was present in the air of majesty, and it seemed to say: `Behold me, lovely as no woman was or is, undying and half-divine; memory haunts me from age to age, and passion leads me by the hand--evil have I done, and with sorrow have I made acquaintance from age to age, and from age to age evil I shall do, and sorrow shall I know till my redemption comes.'
(Chapter 13)

Haggard's novel was one of the interests Freud and Jung discoverd they had in common a decade later, and Jung's theory of the anima treats Haggard's novel as a precursor.