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Ferro, A. (2004). Freud messo a fuoco [Freud in focus] Roberto Speziale-Bagliacca Torino: Bollati Boringhieri. 2002. 312 pp.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(3):767-772.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(3):767-772

Freud messo a fuoco [Freud in focus] Roberto Speziale-Bagliacca Torino: Bollati Boringhieri. 2002. 312 pp.

Review by:
Antonino Ferro

The original Italian title of this book is virtually untranslatable in English. Its deliberate ambiguity means both ‘Freud brought into focus’ and ‘Freud at the stake’, not to mention various other possible interpretations. Reading the book, my own personal musings immediately led me to think of a Freud who was ‘cooked’ rather than a Freud who was left ‘raw’ for too long. Levi-Strauss has told us much about this.

By ‘cooking’ Freud, I mean the work of elaborating and metabolising the thought and figure of Freud, which has to be done so that he does not remain ‘raw’, indigestible and undigested for us, a troubling source of persecution and idealisation. Therefore, by ‘cooked’ Freud, I mean a Freud who does not provide access to fideistic psychoanalytic religions, but who opens up towards a science in perennial transformation. A Freud who has his forerunners; a Freud who allows psychoanalysis to be that probe that constantly expands the field it explores, to quote a beautiful expression from Bion.

I have had the pleasure of reviewing Roberto Speziale-Bagliacca's latest books on various occasions; this time, when asked to write about this biography, I confess to having had certain misgivings. The history of psychoanalysis is not what I am most interested in, and I already feared having to face reading a book that was most probably important, but for me very arduous and perhaps even rather irritatingly hagiographical—as often occurs when analysts write about Freud (to the great joy of his detractors).

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