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Wilson, E., Jr. (1989). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVII, 1983: The Bridge of Don Juan. Jacques Caïn. Pp. 1151-1164.. Psychoanal Q., 58:325.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVII, 1983: The Bridge of Don Juan. Jacques Caïn. Pp. 1151-1164.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:325

Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVII, 1983: The Bridge of Don Juan. Jacques Caïn. Pp. 1151-1164.

Emmett Wilson, Jr.

The author discusses in detail two 1921 texts of Ferenczi, "The Symbolism of the Bridge" and "Bridge Symbolism and the Don Juan Legend." Caïn emphasizes that we must work with caution with these texts, which show their age. The articles responded to a different need from that which we have today, and they come out of a very different psychoanalytic culture and historical context which we know only imperfectly. But we cannot prevent ourselves from a modern reading of the works, which may lead to a completed discussion of the issues involved in the articles. Caïn gives a careful summary of the articles. He feels that Ferenczi left little more to be said about the legend, for in his succinct article are to be found all the interpretations and commentaries on the theme from the sixteenth century onward. Other commentators do nothing but take up one or another of the aspects mentioned by Ferenczi: the double with its superego function, the hysterical mechanisms of seduction, narcissistic homosexuality, the struggle against castration, repetition, and the alternation between the life and death instincts. The symbol of the bridge is central in both of these articles. The work which Ferenczi did on symbolism is quite important, especially his interest in conversion and the symbolic activity of the hysteric. It is helpful if we take the bridge as a symbol or expression of bisexuality. Love, too, is a bridge between the two aspects of sexuality, male and female. Ferenczi's emphasis is on Don Juan's ceaseless repetition of an approach to an object. Pleasure is found by Don Juan in the going across to an object, not in the object relationship itself. The approach gives pleasure like that of an infant, who cannot delay his demands for immediate satisfaction. This immediate pleasure is only later transformed into the pleasure of the present, when the approach is pleasurable not just in itself but because its object is involved in the approach. For Don Juan, however, the approach is his only means of maintaining his internal economy, a movement between two objects, one of which is purely narcissistic, and the other completely external.

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Article Citation

Wilson, E., Jr. (1989). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVII, 1983. Psychoanal. Q., 58:325

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