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Britton, R. (1999). Response. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 80(6):1239-1240.

(1999). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 80(6):1239-1240


Ronald Britton

Dear Sir,

You have asked me to respond to the letter from Esterson and I will do so as briefly as I can. Before taking issue in any detail with the points he makes I would like to make clear the purpose of my paper. It was originally part of a symposium intended to review the place of sexuality in psychoanalytic theory today, a hundred years on from the Studies on Hysteria. I chose to write a paper on a theory of my own on hysteria and to include in it a review of the case of ‘Anna O.’ in the light of current psychoanalytic thinking and the information available to us since Freud's death and Jones's revelation of her identity in 1953. I was already familiar with this material and had been stimulated by visiting an apartment she occupied in Frankfurt and the little museum in Neu-Isenburg where she founded ‘Das Heim des Jüdischen Frauenbundes’.

None of Esterson's quotations from Freud is unfamiliar to me and the sources I have used for the story of Bertha Pappenheim's erotic transference, regression and ‘false labour’ are those he alludes to in his letter. The difference that lies between us is in our reading of Freud's public texts, our trust in Freud's veracity in his private communications, and our attitudes to psychoanalytic enquiry. To be frank I have never doubted the eventually revealed, somewhat fragmentary story of the conclusion of

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