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Ferenczi, S. (1926). To Sigmund Freud on his Seventieth Birthday. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 7:297-302.

(1926). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 7:297-302

To Sigmund Freud on his Seventieth Birthday

S. Ferenczi

The duty has fallen to me of conveying to Sigmund Freud on the occasion of his seventieth birthday the greetings and warm congratulations of this JOURNAL. It is not an easy matter to fulfil this honourable task. Freud is far too outstanding a figure for one who belongs to the circle of his followers and fellow-workers to be able to estimate him in comparison with other great personalities in the evolution of human culture and describe him in relation to his contemporaries. Moreover, his work speaks for itself; it needs no commentary, above all no eulogy. The creator of a science that is austerely honest and wages war on all hypocrisy would certainly dislike the dithyrambs with which it is customary on such occasions to acclaim the leader of a great movement. An objective description of his lifework, however—an enticing theme for an enthusiastic disciple—is superfluous, since the master himself has devoted to this purpose more than one essay which for detached and concrete presentation could not be surpassed. He has never withheld from publicity anything that he knows about the origin of his ideas; he has spoken frankly and fully about the vicissitudes his views have undergone and about the attitude of the present generation towards them. So far as his personality is concerned, he has completely taken the wind from the sails of that modern method of enquiry which attempts to gain fresh insight into the development of a scientist's views by studying the intimate details of his private life. In his Traumdeutung and Psychopathologie des Alltagslebens Freud has undertaken this task himself in a way that was previously unknown, and has not only indicated new lines of research for this kind of enquiry, but given for all time an example of a candour quite ruthless towards himself.

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