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(1969). Correspondence: Freud's Pseudo-Parapraxis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 50:249-250.

(1969). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 50:249-250

Correspondence: Freud's Pseudo-Parapraxis


Just recently the correspondence between Sigmund Freud and Arnold Zweig has been published for the first time (Sigmund Freud, Arnold Zweig, Briefwechsel, edited by Ernst L. Freud; Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer, 1968). From the wealth of valuable information, I should like only to point out an interesting detail, which is a parapraxis on the part of Freud. This was duly noticed and almost immediately analysed by himself (pp. 81–82). The real mistake in the parapraxis has, however, eluded not only the editor but even Freud himself. His interpretation of the parapraxis would certainly have been somewhat different from that which he gave, had he been able to notice where and in what he really had commited a parapraxis. Instead of this he has attributed a mistake to himself which, in all fairness, he never committed, obviously in order to conceal, unconsciously, the one which he did commit.

In his letter of 3.4.1934 to Zweig, Freud quotes a joke as if it had been made by Xenophon. It is a well-known fact that the famous war-lord, historian and philosopher relates in his book Anabasis ('Retreat') that when his 10, 000 men, after long wanderings through Asia Minor at last reached the coast of the Mediterranean, they exclaimed with strong emotion (in Freud's text: 'erschüttert'): 'Thalassa! Thalassa!' (The sea! The sea!).

Freud adds to this: '[At which] Xenophon, who just stood there, made the remark: "One could also say: 'thalatta, thalatta'.

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