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Argentieri, S. (2014). Introduction to: “The Compulsion to Confess and the Compulsion to Judge in the Analytic Situation” by Stefano Fajrajzen. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(5):973-976.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(5):973-976

Key Paper

Introduction to: “The Compulsion to Confess and the Compulsion to Judge in the Analytic Situation” by Stefano Fajrajzen Related Papers

Simona Argentieri

The biography of Stefano Fajrajzen corresponds perfectly to the classic image of the first-generation psychoanalyst: born in a small town somewhere in Mitteleuropa in the early years of the last century to a humble Jewish family; scholarly and polyglot, fascinated from a very young age by the revolutionary theories of Sigmund Freud; persecuted by Nazism, a citizen of the world by vocation and necessity; he studies and practises medicine and psychiatry on both sides of the Atlantic, while at the same time undergoing three psychoanalyses; finally arriving in Italy where he founds one of the first pioneering institutional centres.

And yet this audacious and subversive appearance is hard to reconcile with the individual himself. Small and fragile in build, shy and mild-mannered, he always spoke in a gentle and measured tone of voice. A conciliator by nature, he treated his interlocutors with courtesy and the utmost respect, even when disagreeing with them. He was typically described by those who knew him as a good, fair-minded man. He hardly ever spoke about the exceptional range of his learning, his cosmopolitan experience or his encounters with the great proponents of psychoanalysis; and on the rare occasions when he did present some of his scientific work, he never showed off about it. He would rather listen than talk about himself.

I myself, who was one of his most devoted students, learned an enormous amount from him, and on his death received his entire scientific library from his beloved wife, Elvira, as a gift to the Italian Psychoanalytical Association; yet I was given few confidences about his private life.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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