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Langan, R. (2010). Ferenczi's Lucubrations. Psychoanal. Perspect., 7(1):161-164.

(2010). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 7(1):161-164

Ferenczi's Lucubrations

Robert Langan, Ph.D.

Lucubrations, you may recall, are those burnings of the midnight oil, those studious all-nighters so esteemed by scholars (particularly Latinate scholars of the 19th century) in their determined pursuit of bona fide (good faith) truth. Sleep be damned, its interstitial interruption refused. The point is to drive on, to conquer the peak, to reveal the truth, to see at last the vast horizon of the world in its wholeness. The world is held in mind, made in mind, revealed as mind in mind with mind of mind mindful. Sándor Ferenczi (1873-1933), I suggest, thought so.

Look at what he did. Night after night, after seeing his psychoanalytic patients days and sometimes nights, delaying sleep he urgently documented (Ferenczi, 1932) what would become his clinical diary, his laboratory notebook on the nature of experience. Many others (e.g., Aron & Harris, 1993; Rudnytsky, Bókay, & Giampieri-Deutsch, 1996) have reflected on its themes, and content, and contemporary implications. There is the importance of trauma and dissociation. There is the link to mutuality in working with patients; the link to push-me-pull-you elasticity in the psychoanalytic experience. But here, instead of theorizing, I propose an imaginative attempt to join Ferenczi (1932) in his midnight chamber, to join him in the chamber of his mind.

The drapes are drawn. Coals glow in the hearth. A single lamp pools light on the desk where he sits with his papers, fountain pen in hand. Over his pyjamas he wears a brocade dressing gown, and on his head, for warmth, a jaunty beret, soft leather slippers on his feet.

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