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Hinshelwood, R.D. (2002). Editorial. Psychoanal. Hist., 4(1):1-1.

(2002). Psychoanalysis and History, 4(1):1-1


R. D. Hinshelwood

This issue of the Journal is selected from papers originally presented at the VIIIth International Meeting of the International Association for the History of Psychoanalysis at Versailles, 20-22 July 2000. We are extremely grateful to Alain de Mijolla, who has organized the series of international meetings, for permission to publish these papers in English. Alain signals in his Foreword his enthusiasm for psychoanalysis and its history. He showed a remarkable restraint, in the millennial year, for not organizing yet another opportunity to crystal-gaze into the future; and also to dispel the fin de siècle gloom which seems to have overtaken psychoanalysis in recent years. Perhaps it is the wisdom of historians to know that we cannot predict the future, in the human sciences; we can only live it. Despite the view that those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it, historians also know more than anyone that the lesson we learn from history is that no one learns the lessons of history.

What, therefore, might be the point of doing history as this meeting enthusiastically did? Perhaps for psychoanalysts, history is the need for a past that makes sense, can be lucidly articulated, and forms a coherent narrative. Is it a sense of continuity in our professional selves that leads us, as we get older, to take more interest in the past?

With the help of other members of the Editorial Board who were present at the meeting—Rotraut de Clerck, Nicolas Gougoulis and Malcolm Pines—I have taken six of the nearly 100 papers presented. Of course, this does not represent the full fruitfulness of the meeting. Rather it is a choice that gives an idea of the breadth of interest within the International Association for the History of Psychoanalysis. I have, in a sense, seen this issue as a celebration of the Association, and it is a great pleasure to do this and to acknowledge the achievement of the Association and of Alain de Mijolla over the years.

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