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Studies in Hysteria

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2005


    This new translation, by Nicola Luckhurst, of Freud's Studien über Hysterie is a remarkable achievement, surpassing James Strachey's classic translation. What makes it better? It stays very close to the text - obviously. Paradoxically, this means that the text is rougher, and more open. Luckhurst's translation preserves Freud's physical metaphors, the peculiarity of style and with this the feel that Freud is developing a new language for his new science, psychoanalysis. In this translation, Freud is not the dour, august professor but the young explorer discovering sexuality and desire. Luckhurst has an exquisitely sensitive ear for Freud's language. For example, she picks up a number of metaphors related to pregnancy, labor, and childbirth that had disappeared in Strachey's translation: 'These metaphors, often neutralized in earlier translations, seem important in that they indicate an unconscious feminine identification - by which I mean Freud's empathy (or counter-transference) for his patients as women and as mothers. Recovering these metaphors may allow hysteria to signify differently, as we hear Freud's patients dis-identify with their maternal or pregnant self, and project it into the psychoanalyst.' For anyone interested Freud and psychoanalysis, the Translator's Preface is worth the price of the book. In sum: this new translation of one of the founding texts of psychoanalysis is a great read - and it will change the way we read Freud.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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