The Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Sándor Ferenczi, Volume 2: 1914-1919

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle - Kenneth Baker
Freud's extensive correspondence with his disciples offers an inside vantage point on the psychoanalytic movement...[and] no colleague wrote to Freud on more intimate terms than Sándor Ferenczi...Absorbing...Like the first volume of the Freud-Ferenczi correspondence, Volume 2 has been meticulously prepared. Footnotes to each letter explain literary and biographical references, translate Latin phrases and occasionally even explain jokes. Axel Hoffer's introduction offers enough background to make this second volume worth reading on its own.
Medical History - Sander L. Gilman
The experience of the Hungarian psychoanalyst Sándor Ferenczi as an almost combatant is well documented here...From a scholarly point of view, the correspondence is rich in its discussions of the major anthropological texts which Freud worked on during [World War I] as well as pragmatic questions of technique. Ferenczi's discussion of his own analytic work is such that this volume serves as a natural parallel to the published clinical diaries. And the deviations from 'orthodox' approaches are noted by Freud...The most fascinating part of the correspondence was its tone. Only in Freud's letters with Karl Abraham, who was very much more of his own generation, does one get the bantering quality which marks an exchange between equals...As with the first volume, this volume is the final result of a project begun by Michael Balint in the 1950s. The editing and notes are impeccable and the translation fluid. It is imperative that we continue to get such exchanges to clarify and document Freud's life and world. They will also have a wide range of other readers. When is volume three going to appear?
Choice
An excellent introduction by the American analyst Axel Hoffer [to these letters] places the emotional interchange between Freud and Ferenczi (whose mutual creativity regarding analytic understanding flourished) in personal, historical, and professional context...An exciting read for all interested in the underpinnings of the cradle of psychoanalysis and the history of ideas, and for scholars interested in correspondence of the period.
Virginia Quarterly Review
This comprises the second volume of the three-volume collection of the Freud-Ferenczi correspondence, and should be of great interest to those wishing to chart the road of this rocky friendship. Brilliant moments of self-analysis and analysis are contained here, analyses that clash, fall apart, and reconstruct before the reader's eyes. The volume offers crucial insights into the psychoanalytic method and into the thin line between friendship and the analyst/analysand relationship.
Medical History

The experience of the Hungarian psychoanalyst Sándor Ferenczi as an almost combatant is well documented here...From a scholarly point of view, the correspondence is rich in its discussions of the major anthropological texts which Freud worked on during [World War I] as well as pragmatic questions of technique. Ferenczi's discussion of his own analytic work is such that this volume serves as a natural parallel to the published clinical diaries. And the deviations from 'orthodox' approaches are noted by Freud...The most fascinating part of the correspondence was its tone. Only in Freud's letters with Karl Abraham, who was very much more of his own generation, does one get the bantering quality which marks an exchange between equals...As with the first volume, this volume is the final result of a project begun by Michael Balint in the 1950s. The editing and notes are impeccable and the translation fluid. It is imperative that we continue to get such exchanges to clarify and document Freud's life and world. They will also have a wide range of other readers. When is volume three going to appear?
— Sander L. Gilman

San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle

Freud's extensive correspondence with his disciples offers an inside vantage point on the psychoanalytic movement...[and] no colleague wrote to Freud on more intimate terms than Sándor Ferenczi...Absorbing...Like the first volume of the Freud-Ferenczi correspondence, Volume 2 has been meticulously prepared. Footnotes to each letter explain literary and biographical references, translate Latin phrases and occasionally even explain jokes. Axel Hoffer's introduction offers enough background to make this second volume worth reading on its own.
— Kenneth Baker

International Journal of Psycho-Analysis
The second volume of the Freud-Ferenczi correspondence commences with the beginnings of World War I, and the events of that period form a background to the correspondence, which carries on through to December 1919. The letters, as in Volume 1, give a vivid and fascinating story of the interaction between Ferenczi and Freud, including Ferenczi's periods of analysis with Freud, and the intensely personal correspondence between the two.
Medical History
The experience of the Hungarian psychoanalyst Sándor Ferenczi as an almost combatant is well documented here...From a scholarly point of view, the correspondence is rich in its discussions of the major anthropological texts which Freud worked on during [World War I] as well as pragmatic questions of technique. Ferenczi's discussion of his own analytic work is such that this volume serves as a natural parallel to the published clinical diaries. And the deviations from 'orthodox' approaches are noted by Freud...The most fascinating part of the correspondence was its tone. Only in Freud's letters with Karl Abraham, who was very much more of his own generation, does one get the bantering quality which marks an exchange between equals...As with the first volume, this volume is the final result of a project begun by Michael Balint in the 1950s. The editing and notes are impeccable and the translation fluid. It is imperative that we continue to get such exchanges to clarify and document Freud's life and world. They will also have a wide range of other readers. When is volume three going to appear?
— Sander L. Gilman
San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle
Freud's extensive correspondence with his disciples offers an inside vantage point on the psychoanalytic movement...[and] no colleague wrote to Freud on more intimate terms than Sándor Ferenczi...Absorbing...Like the first volume of the Freud-Ferenczi correspondence, Volume 2 has been meticulously prepared. Footnotes to each letter explain literary and biographical references, translate Latin phrases and occasionally even explain jokes. Axel Hoffer's introduction offers enough background to make this second volume worth reading on its own.
— Kenneth Baker
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674174191
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1996
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 6.64 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

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

Eva Brabant is a psychoanalyst and historian in Paris.

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

Peter T. Hoffer teaches German Language and Literature at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science.

Axel Hoffer, M.D., a practicing psychoanalyst in the Boston area, is on the faculty of the Psychoanalytic Institute of New England, East, and of the .Harvard Medical School.

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Table of Contents

Translator's Note

Note on Transcription of the Original Correspondence

Abbreviations of Works Cited

Introduction by Axel Hoffer

Correspondence

Works by Freud and Ferenczi Cited in the Text

Index

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2000

    The real Freud and the genuine Ferenczi

    If you are tired of the images of Freud as idealized by his official biographers or those debased by his critics, you may try this first hand account of how he related to his most loyal student, friend and analysand. You will also understand why Ferenczi and his long-buried ideas have recently been taken seriously by both psychoanalysts and historians of psychoanalysis. You will witness how the two great men soothed each other, at times of fear, worry and depression. Also, the seeds of the fateful demise of their friendship were also sown in the letters recorded in this volume. Don't miss it!

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