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Tausk, V. (1934). Ibsen the Druggist. Psychoanal Q., 3:137-141.

(1934). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 3:137-141

Ibsen the Druggist

Victor Tausk

One afternoon I met in the studio of a friend—a studio filled with works of art—the poet and writer, B. On the previous evening we had arranged to meet in order to continue a conversation on dramatic art which we had begun in a café. I had succeeded in directing the discussion into psychoanalytic channels while B. was walking up and down the room. Suddenly he came to a stop before a lifesize bust of Ibsen. His face took on an expression of intense concentration, his brow contracted into wrinkles. I did not know what to make of B.'s reaction and waited for a word from him which would release my tension and his. After a moment of anxious reflection B. asked, pointing to the bust:

"Who is that man? He seems so familiar to me."

I could not help laughing heartily.

"This gentleman is the druggist", I said.

Immediately his face expressed relief, but his eyes had an unhappy look as he replied, echoing my answer, "Ibsen".

B., then, had stopped before Ibsen's portrait-bust and had asked who "the gentleman" was. Anyone familiar with B. will find this incident incredible. B. is exceptionally well versed in the history and biography of the arts, and had made a special study of Ibsen. The resemblance of the statue to Ibsen was beyond any doubt. Moreover, B. had often looked at the bust on the same pedestal in the very same room and had often commented on it.

We have before us a severe disturbance of memory.

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