Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To sort articles by author…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

While performing a search, you can sort the articles by Author in the Search section. This will rearrange the results of your search alphabetically according to the author’s surname. This feature is useful to quickly locate the work of a specific author.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Bernfeld, S.C. (1951). Freud and Archeology. Am. Imago, 8(2):107-128.

(1951). American Imago, 8(2):107-128

Freud and Archeology

Suzanne Cassirer Bernfeld

Rousseau called the pre-history of civilization “the child-hood of man”; an expression that was generally used in the nineteenth century, especially by German romantic poets and philosophers. Freud, his attention focused on the childhood of his patients, put forward a variation of Rousseau's idea. He calls early childhood the pre-history of the human being. It too has its relics. Covered by the oedipal repressions, the undamaged memories of early childhood lie buried under strata of amnesia, and are hidden in the unconscious. Just as an archeologist may excavate the fragments of former civilizations, the psychoanalyst by a painstaking process is able to recover the memories of an earlier day. This comparison, which is very often used in Freudian writings, is a remnant of the primitive ideas he had formed about his own childhood. Throughout his life he was interested in archeology and ancient history, and his archeological studies and collections were to him an “unsurpassed comfort” in the efforts of mastering problems and conflicts.1 If this is remarkable, it is even more astounding that these interests remained undiminished through all the different stages of his own development as well as that of psychoanalysis.

Freud often refers to his own childhood. But since he uses his early memories as illustrations and elucidations of his ideas, these references are scattered through the seventeen volumes of his works. In 1944 this material was collected and integrated in a paper on “Freud's Early Child hood”.2 Since then, Freud's letters to Dr.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.