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Wilson, E., Jr. (1986). Revue Fran├žaise De Psychanalyse. XLV, 1981: Some Precursors of the Skin-Ego in Freud. Didier Anzieu. Pp. 1163-1185.. Psychoanal Q., 55:700-701.

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Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLV, 1981: Some Precursors of the Skin-Ego in Freud. Didier Anzieu. Pp. 1163-1185.

(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:700-701

Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLV, 1981: Some Precursors of the Skin-Ego in Freud. Didier Anzieu. Pp. 1163-1185.

Emmett Wilson, Jr.

In several previous publications, Anzieu has argued for his theory of the skin-ego. He reviews evidence for this theory from various sources in contemporary science and then defends it by relying on Freud's article on the mystic writing pad. He traces Freud's passage from a topographical model purified of anatomical and neurological references, which acquires, implicitly, a reliance by the ego on the experiences and functions of the skin. Anzieu discusses the psychological schema of word representations as found in "On Aphasia." It was a schema that Freud used until his break with it in Beyond the Pleasure Principle and The Ego and the Id. In these latter works he switched from this asymmetrical double branching schema and began to use that of an envelope as a model. In the mystic writing pad article it is evident how


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much of the ego is dependent upon the surface in the stimulus barrier that the celluloid page represents. The concept of contact barrier was elaborated as early as the Project, but analysts, except for Bion, have neglected the notion. We find this idea later developed into the stimulus barrier of Beyond the Pleasure Principle. Contact barriers have a triple function of separating unconscious from conscious, memory from perception, and quantity from quality. They constitute for Anzieu a surface of inscription. Freud's article mentioned the periodic fluctuation in the cathexis of the system as a source of the sense of time. Anzieu would add that the ego acquires the sense of its temporal continuity to the extent that the skin-ego constitutes itself as an envelope sufficiently sensitive to interactions with its surroundings and yet a container sufficient to hold what becomes the psychic contents.


WARNING! This text is printed for the personal use of the PEPWeb subscriber and is copyright to the Journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to copy, distribute or circulate it in any form.
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Article Citation

Wilson, E., Jr. (1986). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLV, 1981. Psychoanal. Q., 55:700-701

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WARNING! This text is printed for the personal use of the subscriber to PEP Web and is copyright to the Journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to copy, distribute or circulate it in any form whatsoever.