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May, U. (2019). In conversation: Freud, Abraham and Ferenczi on “Mourning and Melancholia” (1915–1918). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 100(1):77-98.

(2019). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 100(1):77-98

History of Psychoanalysis

In conversation: Freud, Abraham and Ferenczi on “Mourning and Melancholia” (1915–1918)

Ulrike May

This article concentrates on Freud’s draft of “Mourning and Melancholia,” written in 1915 and published in 1996. After presenting a summary of the main theses of Freud’s draft, Abraham’s and Ferenczi’s reactions to the text are discussed as well as Freud’s response to their comments. In addition to reviewing Freud’s partial adoption of Ferenczi’s introjection and his reluctance towards Abraham’s “mouth eroticism and sadism,” the article considers the question of whether and to what extent his disciples’ interjections—particularly Abraham’s approach—made their way into the final version of “Mourning and Melancholia.” The article closes by integrating the notion of narcissistic identification, which forms the core of Freud’s understanding of depression, and his study of the “preliminary stages of love,” written the same year, into a conceptualization of the narcissistic relationship between subject and object. Special attention is paid to the clinical relevance of the difference between narcissistic and libidinal object cathexis, which Freud had introduced.

[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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