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Berman, E. (1995). Confusion of tongues. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 76:1045-1046.

(1995). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 76:1045-1046

Confusion of tongues Related Papers

Emanuel Berman

Dear Sir;

I was delighted to see that you open your Special 75th Anniversary Edition with a paper (Blum, 1994) discussing Ferenczi's ‘Confusion of tongues’ (1932). This can be seen as a symbolic reparation of Jones's decision, 60 years earlier, to avoid the publication of Ferenczi's paper in your journal (a step that may be considered as the most regrettable editorial decision in the journal's history).

I have, however, some doubts as to Blum's main thesis: his view of that paper, and of Ferenczi's related Clinical Diary (Dupont, 1988), as mostly resulting from the affective impact of Ferenczi's fatal illness.

Confusion of tongues’ develops a line of thought which is present in a series of papers starting around 1929 (with ‘The unwelcome child and his death instinct’), before Ferenczi was ill.

Moreover, in reading the Freud-Ferenczi Correspondence (Brabant et al., 1993), which apparently was not yet available at the time Blum wrote his paper, it becomes clear that ‘mutual analysis’, the most radical idea of the Diary, has its origins in Ferenczi's thought over 20 years earlier, during his very first years as an analyst; and that Freud's opposition to it was already clear at that time.

To make my point, I will quote a few sections of the Correspondence dealing with the three central relationships in Ferenczi's life in 1908-1914:

1) With Freud: While discussing the difficulties in their relationship, Ferenczi talks of his ‘idea of companionship between two men who tell each other the truth unrelentingly, sacrificing all consideration’ and his realization that ‘these things didn't move you at all’ (p.

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