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Bak, R.C. (1970). Recent Developments in Psychoanalysis: A Critical Summary of the Main Theme of the 26th International Psycho-Analytical Congress in Rome. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 51:255-264.

(1970). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 51:255-264

Recent Developments in Psychoanalysis: A Critical Summary of the Main Theme of the 26th International Psycho-Analytical Congress in Rome

Robert C. Bak

When the programme committee bestowed upon me the honour of summing up the main theme, I could not help wondering what made me deserve their confidence. Indeed, without false modesty, I am quite sure that a large number of our colleagues are eminently capable of performing this task equally well, if not better than myself. After weighing several possible causes, such as my designation as 'a great scientific toast-master' by my esteemed friend Phyllis Greenacre—whose presence we miss—further, my repeatedly expressed opinion—though not in print—that psychoanalytic discussions consist mostly in gracious bowing and handing little bouquets to each other instead of a tactful but unsparing, objective, critical evaluation of the material presented with respect to its historical position, relevance and heuristic value, motivated the choice. It would indeed be most salutary to the development of psychoanalysis if the discussions would give up their style derived from the minuet, or squaredancing, or dancing of squares, and change to intellectual jostling, of which, fortunately, we saw some examples during this Congress. But I discarded these possibilities and came to the conclusion that I was favoured because the Congress was to be held in Rome and because of my long-standing orientation towards the Italian Renaissance. Perhaps, even, because of my admiration of the Medicis. Of course not for Cosimo Vecchio, 'pater patriae', for his legendary gravity and prudence, but for Cosimo Primo, First Grand Duke of Tuscany, that ruthless tyrant of cold determination who wrested power from his elders at the age of 18.

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