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Grosz, S. (1998). Back to Freud's Texts, Making Silent Documents Speak. By Ilse Grubrich-Simitis. Translated by Philip Slotkin.: New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1996. Pp. 322. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 79:405-406.
(1998). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 79:405-406
Back to Freud's Texts, Making Silent Documents Speak. By Ilse Grubrich-Simitis. Translated by Philip Slotkin.: New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1996. Pp. 322
Review by: Stephen Grosz
This study of Freud's texts, originally published in German in 1993 and skilfully translated here by Philip Slotkin, is an important event in the development of our understanding of Freud's ideas and writing. The original German edition Züruck zu Freuds Texten, Stumme Dokumente sprechen machen was the subject of a thoughtful review in these pages by Mark Solms (1994, Ilse Grubrich-Simitis, Züruck zu Freuds Texten, Stumme Dokumente sprechen machen. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75: 153-159) and readers who would like to have a full summary and discussion of the book's contents should read Solms's longer essay.
Grubrich-Simitis is a training and supervising psychoanalyst in Frankfurt and a member of the German Psychoanalytical Association. During the 1960s and 1970s she worked at Fischer Verlag, Freud's post-war publisher in Germany, as an editor of Freud's collected works. This book grows out of her singular, extensive experience as editor, Freud scholar and clinician. The book's structure reflects its genesis.
Part I is a revised version of Grubrich-Simitis's 1989 essay on the history of the Germanlanguage editions of Freud (I. Zur Geschichte der deutschsprachigen Freud-Ausgaben, Psyche, 43: 773-802; 889-917). There are three chapters, named after the places where Freud was originally published in German: ‘Vienna: from the beginnings until 1938’, ‘London: from 1938 to 1960’ and ‘Frankfurt: from 1960 to the present’. In the first two chapters Grubrich-Simitis demonstrates how deeply involved Freud was in the publication, translation and distribution of his works; she also shows how important it was, personally, to Freud to establish and develop a psychoanalytic press. Chapter Three describes the attempts to prepare a critical edition of Freud in German and how the situation that Strachey complained of—namely, that there is no complete, reliable edition of Freud's writings in German—continues today.
In her original 1989 essay Grubrich-Simitis reported that she was at work on a second essay that would set out the problems that would have