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Quinodoz, D. (1998). Hitchcock's Vertigo: the collapse of a rescue fantasy, by Emanuel Berman (Int. J. Psychoanal., 78: 975-996).. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 79:391-393.

(1998). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 79:391-393

Hitchcock's Vertigo: the collapse of a rescue fantasy, by Emanuel Berman (Int. J. Psychoanal., 78: 975-996).

Danielle Quinodoz

Dear Sir,

Hitchcock's film Vertigo leads us to question the relationship between reality and fantasies through the symptom of vertigo. I am especially interested in this film because I have studied the psychic meanings of vertigo presented by several patients during their psychoanalysis (D. Quinodoz, 1990, Vertigo and object relationship, Int. J. Psychoanal., 71: 53-63; 1994, Emotional Vertigo, between Anxiety and Pleasure, trans. A. Pomerans. London and New York: Routledge, 1997).

The starting point of Scotty's mountain-vertigo is not a pathological one. If we are standing by an abyss we can have vertigo without it being the sign of a pathological disease. Mountain-vertigo appears when different information coming from sensorial organs involved in equilibrium is in contradiction and so difficult to coordinate. For instance, someone standing by an abyss, feels the ground stable under his feet, but at the same time, sees it being one thousand meters below. These two pieces of information are contradictory and we may experience an impression of vertigo. But, generally, someone suffering from this sort of vertigo can learn to control his vertigo. He can learn to eliminate or relativise the extraneous information. But some people, like Scotty, cannot control their mountain-vertigo any more, because they are also suffering from another vertigo, an emotional vertigo from psychic origin. This psychic vertigo, like the somatic one, is linked with contradictory information, but it is emotional information, not somatic.

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