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Conci, M. (2013). German themes in psychoanalysis. Part one. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 22(4):195-198.

(2013). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 22(4):195-198


German themes in psychoanalysis. Part one

Marco Conci

At the IIIrd Meeting of the International Association for the History of Psychoanalysis organized in London in July 1990 by Alain de Mijolla, I had the good fortune to meet the American sociologist Edith Kurzweil and to read her fascinating book The Freudians. A comparative perspective (1989). A quadrilingual university professor with a personal experience of psychoanalysis, she based her book on her “participant observation” (H. S. Sullivan) of the life and trends of the major psychoanalytic communities of the time (New York, London, Paris, Frankfurt, and Vienna), having had her own life teach her to “automatically check translations and to compare cultural customs and phenomena” (1989, p. x). This allowed her to show not only how psychoanalysis is an internationally recognized (scientific) discipline, but also how its reception and development greatly differed from one country to another – not only because of different historical, social, and cultural conditions, but also because of a series of unconscious issues, of which psychoanalysts themselves were often not conscious.

In other words, Edith Kurzweil contributed to creating some of the necessary premises for the kind of international dialogue that we as psychoanalysts need even more than other professions, from which we can profit in a measure that we have not yet fully realized, and whose realization always was the priority of this journal – an international journal in English produced by an editorial board of non-native speakers.

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