Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To see translations of this article…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

When there are translations of the current article, you will see a flag/pennant icon next to the title, like this: 2015-11-06_11h14_24 For example:


Click on it and you will see a bibliographic list of papers that are published translations of the current article. Note that when no published translations are available, you can also translate an article on the fly using Google translate.


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

Sutton, P. (2011). Freud's Requiem: Mourning, Memory and the Invisible History of a Summer Walk Matthew von Unwerth, Continuum, 244 pp, £16.99 ISBN 0-8264-8032-2, Published March 2006. Free Associations, 12(1):116-119.

(2011). Free Associations, 12(1):116-119

Book Review

Freud's Requiem: Mourning, Memory and the Invisible History of a Summer Walk Matthew von Unwerth, Continuum, 244 pp, £16.99 ISBN 0-8264-8032-2, Published March 2006

Review by:
Paul Sutton

This review marks a series of returns that are themselves marked by mourning and memory, the concepts that feature at the centre of Freud's brief essay ‘On Transience’, the starting point for Matthew von Unwerth's literary perambulation of Freud's life and work. These returns are both intellectual and biographical. They signal the re-emergence of a transformed Free Associations that nonetheless retains the memory of its predecessor (through a process of transformative and creative mourning that will feature in this introductory edition and in the launch issue that will follow it), but they are also symptomatic of a rather more personal revisiting of ‘On Transience’, the essay from which and around which my own doctoral thesis germinated and was formed. Freud's essay also marks, for me, the site of a specific memory (and mourning) of a love now lost, just as for Unwerth it came to enable, through the writing of Freud's Requiem, a ‘making sense of’ and a reclamation of ‘lost aspects of our lives’.1

‘On Transience’ was written as a contribution to a special collection on Goethe, Das Land Goethes/Goethe's Land, during the First World War and in it Freud combines the psychoanalytic theme of mourning with an exploration of transience. He describes an episode in which a poet and a somewhat reserved friend, thought to be Rainer Maria Rilke and Lou Andreas-Salomé respectively, are unable to enjoy a scene of beauty because ‘it was fated to extinction’ (Freud 1916, p. 288). However, for Freud it was precisely ‘beauty's “scarcity value in time” that gave what is precious its worth’ (Unwerth 2006, p. 2). Thus as Unwerth notes ‘the poet was correct, of course, that all earthly things must pass away […] but rather than subtract from their beauty, Freud protested, this evanescence only added to beauty's increase’ (2006, p. 2).

[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.