The Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Sándor Ferenczi: 1914-1919

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 1993 - Psychology - 397 pages
0 Reviews

Volume I of the three-volume Freud-Ferenczi correspondence closes with Freud's letter from Vienna, dated June 28, 1914, to his younger colleague in Budapest: "I am writing under the impression of the surprising murder in Sarajevo, the consequences of which cannot be foreseen!' "Now," he continues in a more familiar vein, "to our affairs!" The nation-shattering events of World War I form a somber canvas for "our affairs" and the exchanges of the two correspondents in volume 2 (July 1914 through December 1919). Uncertainty pervades these letters: Will Ferenczi be called up? Will food and fuel-and cigar-shortages continue? Will Freud's three enlisted sons and son-in-law come through the war intact? And will Freud's "problem-child," psychoanalysis, survive?

At the same time, a more intimate drama is unfolding: Freud's three-part analysis of Ferenczi in 1914 and 1916 ("finished but not terminated"); Ferenczi's concomitant turmoil over whether to marry his mistress, Gizella Pálos, or her daughter, Elma; and the refraction of all these relationships in constantly shifting triads and dyads. In these, as in other matters, both men display characteristic contradictions and inconsistencies, Freud restrained, Ferenczi more effusive and revealing. Freud, for example, unswervingly favors Ferenczi's marriage to Gizella and views his indecision as "resistance"; yet several years later, commenting on Otto Rank's wife, Freud remarks, "One certainly can't judge in these matters...on behalf of another." Ferenczi, for his part, reacts to the paternal authority of the "father of psychoanalysis" as an alternately obedient and rebellious son.

The letters vividly record the use--and misuse--of analysis and self-analysis and the close interweaving of personal and professional matters in the early history of psychoanalysis. Ferenczi's eventual disagreement with Freud about "head and heart," objective detachment versus subjective involvement and engagement in the analytic relationship--an issue that would emerge more clearly in the ensuing years--is hinted at here. As the decade and the volume end, the correspondents continue their literary conversation, unaware of the painful and heartrending events ahead.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Translators Note
vii
Correspondence 1
xxxiii
Works by Freud and Ferenczi Cited in the Text
381
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1993)

Sigmund Freud was the founder of psychoanalysis, simultaneously a theory of personality, a therapy, and an intellectual movement. He was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Freiburg, Moravia, now part of Czechoslovakia, but then a city in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. At the age of 4, he moved to Vienna, where he spent nearly his entire life. In 1873 he entered the medical school at the University of Vienna and spent the following eight years pursuing a wide range of studies, including philosophy, in addition to the medical curriculum. After graduating, he worked in several clinics and went to Paris to study under Jean-Martin Charcot, a neurologist who used hypnosis to treat the symptoms of hysteria. When Freud returned to Vienna and set up practice as a clinical neurologist, he found orthodox therapies for nervous disorders ineffective for most of his patients, so he began to use a modified version of the hypnosis he had learned under Charcot. Gradually, however, he discovered that it was not necessary to put patients into a deep trance; rather, he would merely encourage them to talk freely, saying whatever came to mind without self-censorship, in order to bring unconscious material to the surface, where it could be analyzed. He found that this method of free association very often evoked memories of traumatic events in childhood, usually having to do with sex. This discovery led him, at first, to assume that most of his patients had actually been seduced as children by adult relatives and that this was the cause of their neuroses; later, however, he changed his mind and concluded that his patients' memories of childhood seduction were fantasies born of their childhood sexual desires for adults. (This reversal is a matter of some controversy today.) Out of this clinical material he constructed a theory of psychosexual development through oral, anal, phallic and genital stages. Freud considered his patients' dreams and his own to be "the royal road to the unconscious." In The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), perhaps his most brilliant book, he theorized that dreams are heavily disguised expressions of deep-seated wishes and fears and can give great insight into personality. These investigations led him to his theory of a three-part structure of personality: the id (unconscious biological drives, especially for sex), the superego (the conscience, guided by moral principles), and the ego (the mediator between the id and superego, guided by reality). Freud's last years were plagued by severe illness and the rise of Nazism, which regarded psychoanalysis as a "Jewish pollution." Through the intervention of the British and U.S. governments, he was allowed to emigrate in 1938 to England, where he died 15 months later, widely honored for his original thinking. His theories have had a profound impact on psychology, anthropology, art, and literature, as well as on the thinking of millions of ordinary people about their own lives. Freud's daughter Anna Freud was the founder of the Hampstead Child Therapy Clinic in London, where her specialty was applying psychoanalysis to children. Her major work was The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense (1936).

Sandor Ferenczi (7 July 1873 - 22 May 1933) was a Hungarian psychoanalyst, a key theorist of the psychoanalytic school and a close associate of Sigmund Freud whod latter wrote that Ferenczi made "all analysts his students," a fitting tribute to a towering figure of psychoanalysis. In 1910, at Freud's suggestion, Ferenczi proposed the founding of the International Psychoanalytic Association, and in 1913 founded the Hungarian Psychoanalytic Society. In 1916 he underwent a brief personal analysis with Freud, and in 1918 was elected president of the International Psychoanalytic Society. Ferenczi's early contributions to psychoanalysis have been so fully assimilated that their origin is often forgotten, although his later writings, which were more speculative and deviated from Freudian orthodoxy, have been less widely accepted. He is acknowledged to have been a gifted therapist. He proposed a number of innovations in technique including at first these centered on the so-called "active" technique, while his later study of reactions of disappointment and mistrust that the child suffers in his relationship with his parents inspired a few of his pupils, notably Alice Balint (1949), to investigate early parent-child relationships.

Eva Brabant is a psychoanalyst and historian in Paris.

Ernst Falzeder, a psychologist in Liezen, Austria, has published widely on the history of psychoanalysis.

Patrizia Giampieri-Deutsch is a psychoanalyst and a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Vienna.

Bibliographic information