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Kubler, A. (2006). From the Editor. Fort Da, 12(1):1-3.

(2006). Fort Da, 12(1):1-3

From the Editor

Alan Kubler, Ph.D.

This piece of writing began a while ago, catalyzed by the request of graduate students to fill out more fully the generational lineages of psychoanalytic and psychodynamic thinkers and their major contributions. What and who should they absolutely read? What are the books and papers that represent and speak for the beginnings of psychoanalysis? The beginnings were in creased texts and novels that had already been read and absorbed in whatever way books are digested. Which texts are the important ones and what makes them important? Blood lines often take me back to sitting in history classes as a child in an English school, where the need to know the kings and queens and their lines of succession to the throne is essential. But history classes were always a hit or miss experience, depending on whether the teacher could bring the dead to life. Returning to the contributions of the kings and queens of psychoanalysis made me reflect on which of these elderly texts still possessed vitality and originality, and which would still be worthy of publication.

I suppose the sine qua non for acceptance and publication in psychological journals is originality, but originality is an elusive commodity. The question of whether we ever say anything truly new is a vexing one that Winnicott (1945) spoke about in his folksy and inimitable reflections on his own creative endeavors as the collecting together of odds and ends cemented by clinical experience and then exposed to the light of already existing knowledge. The rereading of this text always reminds me that originality need not merely lie in the presentation of new information but, as Winnicott acknowledges, in the capacity for a text to present a new view of the old with each rereading. But this raised another question — what makes a book worth rereading? What is there in the assembly of those odds and ends that invite us back to revisit these old literary friends?

I remember the first time a friend mentioned that he was reading a particular novel for the second time. I listened with curiosity while an inner voice wondered why anybody would do that, when there were so many unread novels awaiting on the bookshelf. My bookshelves now are occupied by books that have been handled, creased, underlined, and then dog-eared — and all of these share a space with the as of yet unread and untouched.

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