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Freud, S. (1928). Fetishism. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 9:161-166.

(1928). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 9:161-166


Sigmund Freud

In the last few years I have had an opportunity of studying analytically a number of men whose object-choice was ruled by a fetish. One must not suppose that these persons had sought analysis on account of a fetish; the devotees of fetishes regard them as abnormalities, it is true, but only rarely as symptoms of illness; usually they are quite content with them or even extol the advantages they offer for erotic gratification.

For obvious reasons I cannot go into the details of these cases in a published paper; nor can I show how the selection of individual fetishes is in part conditioned by accidental circumstances. The case of a young man who had exalted a certain kind of 'shine on the nose' into a fetishistic condition seemed most extraordinary. The very surprising explanation of this was that the patient had been first brought up in an English nursery and had later gone to Germany, where he almost completely forgot his mother-tongue. The fetish, which derived from his earliest childhood, had to be deciphered into English, not German; the Glanz auf der Nase [ shine on the nose] was really 'a glance at the nose'; the nose was thus the fetish, which by the way he endowed when he wished with the necessary special brilliance, which other people could not perceive.

In all the cases the meaning and purpose of the fetish turned out under analysis to be the same. It revealed itself so unequivocally and seemed to me so categorical that I should expect the same solution in all cases of fetishism.

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