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Vida, J.E. (2017). The Cut and the Building of Psychoanalysis, Volume I: Sigmund Freud and Emma Eckstein, by Carlo Bonomi, Routledge, Sussex and New York, 2015, 288pp.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 77(1):83-86.

(2017). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 77(1):83-86

Book Reviews

The Cut and the Building of Psychoanalysis, Volume I: Sigmund Freud and Emma Eckstein, by Carlo Bonomi, Routledge, Sussex and New York, 2015, 288pp.

Review by:
Judith E. Vida, M.D.

This is the first of two metaphorically archeological volumes by the Italian psychoanalyst, Carlo Bonomi, who for decades has been digging beneath the foundational hagiographies of psychoanalysis. The second, Volume 2: Sigmund Freud and Sándor Ferenczi is not yet available, though there is an English précis of Volume I and a tantalizing table of contents of Volume 2 on Dr. Bonomi's website. Although identified as Volume 65 of the relational perspectives book series, Volume I is not easily obtainable. The language of the text has some awkward usages and is occasionally garbled, which, along with some careless copy-editing, makes the whopping price something of a sore point.

But … so what? These comments morph into mere cavils when held up to the potent content of this whirlwind of scholarship, destined to forever alter your understanding of Sigmund Freud, the birth agonies of psychoanalysis, and the hitherto unacknowledged origins in trauma of the entire psychoanalytic enterprise.

I first met Carlo Bonomi in 1993, in Geneva where we had both been invited to speak by André Haynal and Ernst Falzeder at the conference 100 Years of Psychoanalysis: Contributions to the History of Psychoanalysis. I was speaking of Sándor Ferenczi as an inventor whose intuitive insights transcended the practice of his contemporaries; Carlo Bonomi (1994) was presenting “Why have we ignored Freud ‘the paediatrician'? The relevance of Freud's paediatric training for the origins of psychoanalysis.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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