Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To quickly return to the issue’s Table of Contents from an article…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

You can go back to to the issue’s Table of Contents in one click by clicking on the article title in the article view. What’s more, it will take you to the specific place in the TOC where the article appears.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Neu, J. (1973). Fantasy and Memory: The Aetiological Role of Thoughts According to Freud. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 54:383-398.

(1973). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 54:383-398

Fantasy and Memory: The Aetiological Role of Thoughts According to Freud

Jerome Neu

'Hysterics suffer mainly from reminiscences.' This early formulation, though it underwent drastic revision as Freud's psychoanalytic thought developed, contains two elements which remained central. It places one source of psychological disorder in thoughts, and it treats the hysteric as somehow the victim of his or her past. The hysteric is unfree, a prisoner of his individual history. The maxim brings the past into play through thoughts, specifically thoughts about the past, i.e. memories. That our past can influence our present behaviour in devious ways is an important insight, that one of those ways is through thoughts proves an even more important insight. A cluster of questions arises around these points. Is it actually our past, or (better) our actual past, that influences our behaviour in the areas Freud discusses? How is one to distinguish the causal efficacy of reality and fantasy? Is their efficacy 'causal'? How and why is 'memory' brought in as intermediary? How is one to distinguish memory of reality, memory of fantasy, and fantasy of memory? And do any of these distinctions matter to the individual's unfreedom and the possibilities of overcoming it? In this paper I will be taking only some first steps towards answering these questions.


What were the grounds at the beginning of psychoanalysis for believing that there could be an 'analytical' therapy? Why should 'analysis', 'understanding', 'interpretation', 'insight' be of value in treatment? Part of the answer is to be found in the belief that certain disorders are psychological in origin.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.