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Katan, M. (1964). Fetishism, Splitting of the Ego, and Denial. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 45:237-245.

(1964). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45:237-245

Fetishism, Splitting of the Ego, and Denial

Maurits Katan

This title enumerates the three main subjects with which Freud (1927) deals in his article on Fetishism. In 1938, when writing on a different theme (Katan, 1939), I elaborated the point that Freud, in his then recent publication 'Constructions in Analysis' (1938a), had touched on a concept which was also present in 'Fetishism' and was clearly discussed in his critical neurological study on Aphasia (1891) before he had even opened the field of psychoanalysis. Using examples from Hughlings Jackson, Freud pointed out that certain aphasic speech-remnants retained the memory of emotional events which had occurred immediately prior to the development of the gross lesion. Freud described a similar process as taking place in the development of the fetish and also in certain reactions to constructions in analysis. I shall return to this point later.

Not only is 'Fetishism' linked up as a major stepping stone in Freud's important line of thinking on the subject of reactions in danger situations, but in addition Strachey has emphasized its importance in still another manner. He points out that fetishism had already caught Freud's interest for a long time—for example, in his study of Leonardo da Vinci (Freud, 1910p. 96)—and also that the concept of denial could be traced back to the article on the defence neuropsychoses (1894). I want to add that the idea of the splitting of the ego also has its precursor. In my opinion, this idea is visible, although dimly, in Freud's analysis of Schreber's autobiography.

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