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Steiner, R. (1991). 'To Explain our Point of View to English Readers in English Words'. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 18:351-392.

(1991). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 18:351-392

'To Explain our Point of View to English Readers in English Words'

Riccardo Steiner


The paper is closely related to my previous one, entitled 'A world-wide international trade mark of genuineness?' published in this journal in 1987. It deals with the prehistory of Strachey's translation of Freud. Working on Jones's papers, some related literature, some other translations of Freud of those years, and on the unpublished correspondence between Freud and Jones, I hope to have been able to show that in order to understand the specificity, the historical cultural reasons behind the translation of Freud into English done later on by Strachey, one has to consider in detail the period between the return of Jones to England in 1913, the re-foundation of the British Psycho-Analytical Society in 1919 and the foundation of the International Press and of the International Journal of Psycho-Analysis in 1919–1920.

All those initiatives are interlinked and Jones's attempts to achieve an hegemonic control of the translation of Freud and his efforts to lay the foundations of the way Freud had to be translated into English, the cultural reasons for his policy based on the use of ancient Greek and Latin radicals to render Freud's technical language, emerge in full. Particularly important were Jones's first attempts to build a Code of technical terms in 1914 and a Glossary in 1918 and his active role as a translator of Freud.

The historical evidence shows that the project to publish a Standard Collected Edition of Freud's work has also to be attributed to Jones at the beginning of the twenties. All these initiatives and organizational achievements are studied with reference to the cultural and, to some extent, even socio-political background of the England of those years.

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