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Hoffer, P.T. (1995). Letter. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 76:1046-1047.

(1995). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 76:1046-1047

Letter Related Papers

Peter T. Hoffer

Dear Sir:

I would like to provide some additional factual information which may help to illuminate certain points in Harold Blum’s article ‘The confusion of tongues and psychic trauma’, published in The International Journal of Psycho-Analysis (1994, p. 871).

A major aspect of Dr Blum’s thesis is his assertion that Ferenczi’s fatal illness, pernicious anaemia, had a significant impact on the writing of his controversial ‘Confusion of tongues’ paper. While it is difficult to date the diagnosis of his progressive illness with precision, and while its symptoms likely appeared some time before the paper was written, it should be pointed out that, from Ferenczi’s perspective, the acute stages of the illness did not occur until after he delivered the paper at the International Psychoanalytic Congress in Wiesbaden in September 1932. In a letter to Georg Groddeck of 20 March 1933, Ferenczi wrote (Ferenczi & Groddeck, 1986, p. 87):

My indisposition [Unwohlsein] in Baden-Baden was the beginning of a very dangerous anemia, which almost overpowered me in France, so that I was able to drag myself home only with difficulty and earlier than I had intended. The psychic cause of the decline was, in addition to exhaustion, the well-known disappointment with Freud (my italics; my translation).

It should also be noted that, although the issues of psychoanalytic technique which made the paper so controversial had already been occupying him for several years, Ferenczi did not begin writing it until after mid-June of 1932 (unpublished letter of Ferenczi to Freud, 11 June 1932).

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