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Jelliffe, S.E. (1924). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis. Psychoanal. Rev., 11(2):201-215.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: International Journal of Psycho-Analysis
1. Manifestations of the Female Castration Complex. KarlAbraham.
2. Pleasure in Sleep and Disturbed Capacity for Sleep. M. J. Eisler.
3. Communications: A Few Don'ts for Beginners, E. M. Cole; A Symbolism of Appendicitis, W. H. B. Stoddart; A Simple Lapsus Linguae, Chas. Daly; The Unconscious Root of Aesthetic Taste, S. Herbert; A Spermatozoa Phantasy of an Epileptic, F. P. Muller.
1. The Female Castration Complex.-The psychological phenomena which we ascribe to the so-called castration complex of the female are so numerous and multiform that even a detailed description can not do full justice to them. These questions are made still more complicated by their relations to biological and to physiological processes. This present study, the author tells us, does not pretend to cover the entire field. He would limit his discussion to a psychological consideration of clinical material.
Many women, he says, suffer temporarily or continuously during childhood or later from the fact that they were born female. The wish to be male constantly appears in dreams and in neuroticsymptoms and appears so often as to warrant the generalization of its universality. This wish often is conscious but not infrequently it remains unperceived. The explanations so frequently given for this desire to be a male are usually rationalizations. Thus the real underlying motives are concealed. The inability to repress with sublimation the feeling of being at a disadvantage with the boy by the poverty of the external genitals therefore gives rise to strong charges of libido which must find some expression. Out of this there arises a typical castration complex in which the female genital is treated as a wound. This wounding is often projected towards the male as its author, hence the frequent impulse to castrate the male.
With the discovery of the male genitals the girl's narcissism is injured. In this period every child holds to its own place and covets what others have. Envy arises and is made up of two components at least; a hostile feeling towards the possessor, and an impulse to rob it of its possessions. This is a primaryphase of a sadistic anal erotism. The child is often told it will have what it envies when it grows up, but a phallus of her own she can never have promised her; she must later reconcile herself to the fact of her physical “defect,” and to her female
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sexual rǒle. If she can gainpleasure from her genitals in this early stage the renunciation is apparently easier. Barring this autoerotic manifestation the adjustment is not so simple. Abraham sketches the pathway it frequently takes through the initial association between defecation and the child's notion of it as a gift of parts of its own body: Movements-gift-penis and to this the idea of procreation, the child, is often added. Furthermore, the complex is again influenced by menstruation and defloration (wounds). From these many-sided determinations it is recognizable why traces of the castration complex should be quite universal in women. Often seen in mild degrees, at times marked pathological expressions are observed. To these latter the author would devote some attention.
In doing so he first calls attention to Freud's analysis of the “Taboo of Virginity.” Defloration must first be carried out by the priest, a displacement to avoid the ambivalent hatred towards the husband who might have deflowered her. This reaction (varying in degree) in human marriage relations is well known to any real observer. Abraham gives some examples. Psychoanalysis shows that the reaction has a legitimate placing in the evolution of the marriage relation. Although the retaliation is referred to the acute event of defloration, it is referred back to the injustice suffered at the hands of the father in not having given the gift of gifts, the penis. She acts aggressively towards the husband (strangling, etc.) in revenge for the father's omission. A group of women are unable to break through the repression in this “archaic” sense. They advance only as far as the homosexual phase. They adopt the male role with other women. Professional careers, intellectual occupations, male characteristics, attitudes, etc., may reflect in minor degrees this same homosexual component in its masculine accentuation. In the women's movement of to-day this type of expression is quite apparent.
The neurotictransformations of the castration complex in women the author divides into two groups. In the one there is a strong emotionally toned, but not consciousdesire to adopt the male rǒle, i.e., on the basis of the phantasy of possessing a male organ. In the second group the phenomena expressed show the rejection of the female role and the repressed desire for revenge of the favored male sex. Intermediary forms are so frequent as to forbid making a formal classification. The types mentioned represent only the ambivalent possibilities of expression of the phenomena.
Thus the “wish fulfilling” and “revenge” types may be so labeled in accordance with the relative preponderance of the underlying mixed mechanisms. These appear chiefly in the aggressive homosexual and revenge types. Their negative, repressed, ambivalents are also to be found, but more subtly disguised. The mechanisms of “wish fulfillment” type are seen in neurotic phantasies of the possession of a penis,
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being a female napoleon (“Winnie and the Wolves” of the Saturday Evening Post. Abstract as reference) and very frequently in the dream life of the female. Abraham gives some examples. The author states that enuresis nocturna, among other determiners, has this castration complex. Women with this symptom often resist the acceptance of the female functions. This is also manifested in the “wetting” of the man during intercourse, especially when they take the male position.
Other parts of the body, by displacement, take on the erotic stimulus. The nose swells, the eyes become congested. The idea of the “fixed stare” has in many instances the connotation of an erection. (One patient seen by the abstracter, in his opinion, developed a “progressive myopia” as a resultant of this homosexual, sadistic-“I want to be a man and have a penis”-mechanism.) Abraham makes a pertinent comment on a related phenomenon (p. 14) and further (p. 15) states that a great multiplicity of symptoms may be referred to this group. [Not the least insignificant of these are the anal erotic “enema-taking” ceremonials of both orthodox medical practice and the “Oom Paul” devotees. See Berkeley Owen's paper on the “Anal Erotic in the Hindu Religions” -previously abstracted.] The author calls attention to the “my child” attitude of many women. “They can do it alone.” “Immaculate conception” is the “archaic” component. The “anal erotism” is here well exemplified, and extreme“obstinacy” is a well known part of the character make-up of such individuals. Self-overestimation is a very striking feature in their expressionism.
The author now turns to the “revenge” type. Two tendencies are here observable, even though repressed. These are the longings for revenge on the man, and to take, even by force, his penis from him. Vaginismus is one of the forms (the most important, practically) in which this shows itself. “You can't come in,” “I take it away from you” in this mechanism. (This has been a frequent mechanism in the author's experience. It is often shown in subtle form in virginal old maids, servants, behind the symptomatic act of hiding all forms of receivers, ash trays, etc.) Kleptomania in some of its forms has this determiner. (In the same form, such servants, lose things, put them in out of the way places where their mistresses can not find them; they steal from their mistresses, in unconscious phantasy, the “unconsciously” longed for penis of the husband.) Abraham shows very pertinently how, in dreams, the castration wish shows itself in “being run over,” “losing a leg,” “an arm,” etc. Anxiety ideas about similar deprivations often have a similar motivation. Certain women are attracted to maimed individuals from a related motivation. The mutilated man has a special attraction because he has lost what the woman symbolically envies, i.e., a “penis,” “a leg,” “an arm,” “a finger,” “blindness” (the Enchanted Cottage), etc. The attraction of some gentile women for the Jew (circumcised) or other
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“inferior “can be hereby understood. A further motivation for some cases of” frigidity” on the part of the female, as a piece of unconscious tactics, is elucidated by the author. (1) I rob you of what you lack because I lack it. (2) I rob you of nothing; I even promise you what have to give. (3) I do not give you what I have promised.
Here the unconscious motive to dominate, by disappointing the male partner, is manifest. The male, by his “precipate ejaculation” is the ambivalent analogue of the “female's frigidity.”
The frigid woman (relatively expressed) is a widespread expression. Actual anesthesis (denial) is rare, but relative disinterest is frequent. Contact is perceived, but its pleasurable connotation—arrival at orgasm— is absent. The normal positive reaction to the male activity, as an absolute affirmation, is lacking. They immediately turn, after a very brief affirmation, to a complete negation of the entire procedure. Only with conception is a positive yes to the act given. The child is the “gift,” i.e., the granting of the denied organ, i.e., the penis. The wound is now healed. The child is the recompense. The negative form is revealed in the nonconceiving female. They remain male. They will not (unconsciously) be female and have children. The man must be humiliated. They will not have children. Abraham gives an example (paralleled by many analytical experiences) wherein the woman, forced by a quarrel with the male to give in, foregoes her frigidity, and reveals the conscious and unconscious prostitution of the woman. Frigidity is a necessary condition of the prostitute behavior. The male, as well as the female Don Juan, must constantly change the love object. The male avenges himself, on all women, for his primary disappointment, and the female avenges herself on every man for the gift she had expected from her father and did not receive. “Her frigidity signifies a humiliation of all men and therefore a mass castration in the sense of her unconscious; her whole life is given up to this tendency.”
The author next develops the theme that the frigid woman unconsciously strives to diminish the importance of that part of the body denied her, there is another form of refusal of the man which strives for the same aim with the opposite means. In this form of refusal, the man is nothing else than a sex organ and therefore consists only of coarse sensations. The man is an inferior being on account of his possession of a penis. This is at the same time overestimated and depreciated. This depreciation of the male organ signifies a progressive sexual regression and means the humiliation of the male as a whole. Thus certain neurotic women instinctively avoid the really masculine male. They seek the passive and effeminate male and by living with them daily renew their proof of their superiority. They will not accept the help of the male.
A still greater, or extreme form of sensitiveness relative to the castration complex is seen in certain cases of psychical depression in the female
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sex. These women say they are useless. Man is so superior, women are of no value in the world. All situations in life, spring, flowers, fruit, birth, children, these are hated, or disgusting. Winter, snow, coldness, death, these are the only valuable things in life. All, or any, wounds, accidents, sicknesses, operations, etc., etc., are unbearable. Such things make “cripples “; such are unconscious reminders of” castration.”
Finally the author deals with the “compromise formations.” “If I were ‘this’ or' that'; the most beautiful woman,” then I could show the man, the world; then I could give them the merry Ha-Ha; “turn the cold shoulder.” This is the sublime expression of the castrationphantasy. The extreme female situation is rarely seen, but lesser degrees are frequent. “I will keep him guessing” is the most frequent form of compromise. Among the more striking but by no means frequent, statistically speaking, expressions of the castrationphantasy, are the displacements of the complex to the children. Such females seek to influence their daughters by disparaging either the female sexual activities, or by giving them the feelings of aversion to men. They thus seek to undermine the more normal heterosexual trends in their own daughters. They emphasize in various ways, the disgusting features of relations to men. They not only seek to poison the daughters but also their sons. They seek to displace the erogenous interests of their boys from the genital to the anal regions. They fondle their buttocks, spank their behinds, even kiss them, unconsciously, to depreciate the value of the supremacy of the genital zones; they seek to make their boys sodomists, and, in the carrying out of their own revenge motives to the husbands (males) make women of their sons. That such hateful activities are possible seems odious to the average individual, but that such are possible evolutions of the castration complex in women psychoanalytic investigation shows are not only possible but by no means infrequent.
2. Pleasure in Sleep and Disturbed Capacity to Sleep.-A hidden and unconfessed perplexity is everywhere discernible when one would attempt to discuss the problems of sleep. Descriptively we have much, dynamically little. When psychoanalysis would turn to the problem, for it is particularly interested in certain phases of the sleep phenomenon, its explanations as yet are very tentative. The author first quotes Ferenczi's abstraction that the sleep of the new born babe is an hallucinatory effort to get back to where it came from. Freud has elaborated the conception. Sleep is a somatic reactivation of the sojourn in the womb. All libido is drawn into the ego. Libido and ego interests dwell together in their primal state. Eisler says he will not go further, believing that Freud's statement is quite adequate.
His own contribution would limit itself to clinical experience which he says tends to corroborate Freud's speculation. In the early gratification
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of oral eroticism, whether with or without food, sleep states are engendered. This organization of the two states may show in pathological intensity. The author's first case was of a bright vivacious girl of eighteen who developed an acute neurosis after going on an excursion. At the prospect of going into company she would have spasms of the throat. This difficulty she hid from observation as far as possible. Later she conceived the idea she would not marry. She partly rationalized this behind the idea that due to her father's influential position and means the husband would be more attracted to these than to herself. She finally elaborated a small ceremonial when it was imperative for her to attend a gathering. She would unobserved swallow a small piece of dry bread. This was not always successful. This conversionsymptom had a wealth of affect in analysis-as is usual (Eisler states in monosymp-tomatic hysterias). The malady had its initiation in a “prophecy.” Her aunt caught her at onanism when a little girl and censured her for it. “If you do this again you will get sick when you are a big girl.” She became a big girl when her sister married. The aunt was right-should not marry like her sister. The analysis also revealed the castration threat with a repressed masculine complex. The masturbation had continued and homoerotic experience with a governess had followed. She had shared vicariously excitement of a long betrothal of a cousin. At the cousin's marriage the repression of all of this material broke through and was determined as to its localization by the oral erotic libido. With the regression to the oral erotic phase, a remarkable sleep behavior developed. She had always been a great sleeper, and now began to enjoy it in a symptomatic form. First she must lie flat on her stomach all covered up as a preliminary. She would then automatically carry out one of these sleep activities: She would slip off her nightdress; she would get out of bed and urinate without waking and she would drink a glass of water without knocking it or spilling it. The author now allies these sleep activities to Freud's regression to the womb abstraction. She undresses, i.e., is naked, she urinates in the amniotic fluid, she swallows as in the uterus. Eisler then assumes a preoral erotic phase, the lethargic or apnocic; the oral erotic phase is a subsequent emergent. This patient in her neurosis, regresses to the oral phase, in her sleep ritual to the apnocic phase. The “40” day sleepers-Charcot's hysterical sleep illness, show this latter phase in its purest form.
A second case of an amazing disturbance of the ability to sleep which contributed to a fatal result is further contributed by the author. She was not analyzed but he had known her closely for fifteen years. Neurotic difficulties in her education were present in childhood. Autoerotic tendencies were marked in the latent period. Infantile aggressive tendencies were evident in her precocity and when grown up she was excessively
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courted and was almost helpless against praise. She was therefore supposed to be very sensual and in need of watching, but in reality she was quite circumspect. She loved to be in the limelight, talked about her activities. When married she was frigid. She was fond of her husband but averse to intercourse. She became restless, hypochondriacal and anxious. Frequent indispositions was her revenge mechanism to the husband for her disappointment. Pregnancy seemed a way out. She was quite interested but developed new symptoms. Nausea now was added as an increase of the cohabitation repugnance, and the unconscious revenge motive took the feelings of hostile thoughts regarding the child and the outbreak of an acute illness. The foetus died following her great anxiety and despondency. Delay in removing the placenta brought about hemolytic icterus and following the operation a complete loss of psychical resistance. Items were neurotically dealt with. Gynecological examination almost threw her into a delirium. Careful diet needs caused loss of appetite. Vomiting would overcome successful attempts at feeding. Excessive uterine hemorrhages now developed as a further expression of the anxiety regarding cohabitation. The. vomiting, the tension and the exhaustion did not permit the bleeding to stop. Complete insomnia as a resistance to regression to her oral eroticism, now became an alarming condition. In a state of cloudy consciousness she suicided by burning.
The author reconstructs the whole story in terms of the organization phases of the oral eroticism. The more active an individual has been in his oral phase, and the more energetically this stage of development has been later repressed, the greater is the chance that his ability to sleep will be affected by a pathological regression of the libido. The oral libido requires a high counter-charge which is in certain circumstances apt to remove the general wish-to-sleep of the ego (drawing in of the libido). Abraham's study of the oral-eroticism tends to support the author's conceptions. Eisler gives further illustrative material in which the oral organization played a determining rǒle in the sleep disturbance. He closes with some striking comments on the relation of breathing to consciousness, and the great importance of this lethargic-or apnosic phase of pregenital, pre-oral eroticism.
Some Don'ts for Beginners in the Technique of Psychoanalysis.
1. Don't fail to notice the entry of the patient into the consulting room, regarding punctuality, facial expression, tone of voice, manner and general appearance. Extreme neatness or untidiness of the person or self-admiration are points of practical value.
2. Don't allow the patient to sit in an upright chair. Provide a couch to encourage relaxation.
3. Don't sit within the patient's view. The analyst should be obliterated from view both literally and mentally.
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4. Don't talk once the patient has taken up the supine position. Keep silent and let the patient break the silence at the beginning of every hour.
5. Don't fail to note the first remark. This will probably be found to have a bearing on the analysis and may act as a key to it.
6. Don't allow the patient to leave the couch or change the supine position so that the analyst is in view. The desire of the patient to view the analyst is to watch the effect of his disclosures on the analyst's face. If the patient insists on turning towards the analyst, this resistance should be analyzed at once.
7. Don't give your point of view to the patient. Take the patient's standpoint and work from that.
8. Don't argue with a patient. It takes two to make an argument and the analyst would be infringing the passive role. The patient grows tired of trying to argue if there is no response.
9. Don't forget to note the nature of the transference. A heavy positive transference in the early stages should cause the analyst to be on the alert for just as heavy a negative.
10. Don't fail to note signs of a counter transference. These will be found in the analyst's dreams and should be dealt with immediately. A counter transference means the need for further analysis for the analyst. “The analyst can proceed in an analysis only so far as he is analysed himself.” (Freud.)
11. Don't administer cut and dried philosophy. That mode of procedure is suggestion and not psychoanalysis.
12. Don't divulge any personal affairs to the patient. The instinct of curiosity in the patient is always uppermost regarding the analyst. Don't be tempted to relate incidents in one's life to help the patient. He will probably use such communications for his own unconscious purposes during the analysis.
13. Don't fail to note the unconscious actions of the patient.
14. Don't fail to note the reactions of the patient, e.g., angry voice, hushed tone, emphasis, tears, excitement, etc
15. Don't draw the attention of the patient to the findings in the analysis too early in the work. The transference may be incomplete and the egoism of the patient will resent these disclosures. A serious reaction, such as the contemplation of suicide, may be the result. Don't forget that the neurotic's chief dictum is: “I am not as other men are.”
16. Don't touch the patient. The patient may complain of all manner of symptoms during the analysis, some of which might involve a physical examination. They should have attention from a general physician and not from the analyst; e.g., the development of a skin rash may cover a desire to expose the person to the analyst.
17. Don't continue the analysis after the time has expired even if
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the patient has arrived late. Cease and rise from your chair no matter what the patient happens to be saying at the moment.
18. Don't allow patients who come for analysis to meet either on entry or departure. This is a frequent cause of jealousy and fresh resistances are set up.
19. Don't fail to note the manner of the patient's departure. Heed the facial expression and the tone of voice.
20. Don't forget that some unconsciousaction or unguarded remark on departure may furnish material for the next analysis.
Stoddart, W. H. B., speaks of an appendicitis symbolism of unconscious homesexual significance. The grape seed-semen-impregnate him.
A Simple Lapses Lingua.- “We had been dining, five men and one lady. After dinner there was no means of the lady relieving herself; so she had to wait till late in the night, which must have been particularly trying, as we were all drinking freely, in a dry heat of 115 degrees.
“After dinner on the way home, the lady was talking about medicines and remarked: ‘I have some excellent pills. They are made of Charcoal, Bepsin and Pissmuth.’ Having said this she laughed hysterically, and I laughed outright, which put her at her ease.
“However, the next day she very cleverly brought the conversation round to slips of the tongue, and then said: ‘Oh! Wasn't it strange? Last night I said “Bepsin” instead of “Pepsin” to Major Daly.’”
Herbert, S., deals with unconscious roots of esthetic tastes. Analysis showed: (1) violent dislike of yellow equalled coprophilic repression, nervous diarrhea was the obvious mechanism; (2) excessive love of yellow equalled a strong motherfixation in a homosexual-her hair was yellow. Pederastic phantasies also were thus determined; (3) Dislike of red and purple showed itself to be a “voyeur's” repression of his vulva peeping interest; (4) “liking stone quarries” a male homosexual regards as manly, and naked equals a “naked youth”; (5) interest in “wheel” patterns showed associations, notes, many coats of arms, three legs in a circle kicking, Italy kicking Sicily, flagellation and the excitement of a childhood flogging scene as the earlier determiner.
Muller, F. P., details a spermatozoa phantasy in an epileptic. Silberer first called attention to spermatozoa dreams and death wishes. Schulze later confirmed these with the rebirth phantasy behind the death wish. The author reports an interesting case in which the phantasy of being a spermatozoa in the father's body was coupled with thoughts of death and rebirth. The patient was an epileptic not being treated by psychoanalysis and not knowing anything of the subject. On recovering from a prolonged postepileptic dreamy delusional state with occupation and
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alcoholic features he spontaneously said “Just think of it. I have been in my father's bowels as a little seed, as phlegm. The door opened and the last to come out was Fritz (himself).” This was later inquired into and a full delirium experience reconstructed.
(Vol. Ill, Part 2, June, 1922)
1. Westerman-Holstijn, J. Analysis of patient with Cramp of the Spinal Accessory.
2. Strachey, A. S. Analysis of a Dream of Doubt and Conflict.
3. Ferenczi, S. The Symbolism of the Bridge.
4. Pfister, O. Plato, A Forerunner of Psychoanalysis.
5. Communications: Pfeifer, S., Disappointment in Love During Analysis; Rǒheim, G., Psycho-analysis and the Folk-Tale; Herbert, S., A Child's Birth-Myth Story.
6. Collective Review: Róheim, G., Ethnology and Folk-Psychology.
1. Westerman-Holstijn, J.: Analysis of Torticollis.-A baker's assistant, forty-three years of age, has had since the age of forty a spasmodic torticollis. It did not seriously incommode him at first but by reason of emotional experiences had been getting so that he had an almost continued tonic cramp of the spinal accessory muscles. It ceased during sleep. Para-tics (Meige), smelling thumbs, holding hand to eyes, lifting lapels of coat, also were present, and some could be substituted for the torticollis. They finally interfered with his pushing the baker's cart. During his treatment other symptoms became manifest. He had been impotent a year; he could not go out, and smoking a cigar started the tics.
Dream analyses now follow. The first available one was one he had when he was about twelve years old. “I fell into a hole and sank very far down; the longer it lasted the deeper I fell. At the end I screamed aloud and then woke up.” All of the free associations are given. They come to show that the “fear is the same, whether I fall into the hole, or go to my wife.” The idea that his wife might die arose from the symbol of coitus and the parent constellation was soon evident. The hole was his mother's grave. It soon came out that in his coitus with his wife, the mother was the phantasyobject. His dread during coitus was the fear of incest-the same fear as expressed in the twelve-year-old dream. A sister fixation soon showed. When he was five and she was seven she forced him to coitus experiments. He later produced too many dreams, having first said he never dreamed (resistance) and later his family complexes appeared, those of the six-year-old brother relationship soon appearing as significant. His brother and sister were also intimate. His dream associations soon brought the brother into phantasy relations with
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the wife and as a father substitute as a punisher of his incestuous phantasies to mother and sister. His brother was ambivalently his model. A later dream brought up repressed homosexual situations- “an old man had looked at him with a telescope while bathing: he feared he would attack him.” Mutual onanism at the age of thirteen. Then he recalled his brother forcing him to masturbate him when he was four years old and taking a pseudo-coitusposition in the activity.
In searching for determiners of the neck-turning it was seen that these came from interruption while with his wife in coitus. In his earlier sister relations he thought another sister was coming into the room and he suddenly turned his head to see. This became a not unusual action. He would turn-listen, and this interrupted the coitus. This brought up the idea of his turning to see if his brother was coming when he was playing with his sister. Then this sister was equated with the brother. She was a dominating figure in the household. She had a severe rectal trouble and once caught him masturbating and represented the repressed religious element in the family. The following determiners for the tic were therefore found: (1) Reproductions of the situations above described, therefore dread of the punisher of incest. (2) Homosexual desires which he had for his father, brother and sister, who make him look the wrong way round and prevented heterosexual actions. (3) Onanism equivalent. The tic had begun to be severe after he had given up onanism (for reasons to be dealt with presently) and had become impotent. The head and neck were penis symbols for him. His libido had, so to speak, turned from the genitals to his head and neck. (4) Self-punishment. This very masochistic patient punished himself with this illness for his infantile as well as for later sexual sins. (He “gave himself one in the neck” was his usual expression.)
The author then reconstructs the whole neurosis in detail which should be read in the original. The therapeutic results were quite satisfactory.
2. Strachey, A. S.: Analysis of a Dream of Doubt and Conflict.-This is a detailed presentation of three dreams which would have to be cited verbatim to be understandable. The whole presentation is ingenious and stimulating.
3. Ferenczi, S.: The Symbolism of the Bridge.-This is a fascinating contribution to the large and important subject of symbolism and its relation to unconscious phantasy. “Dreaminterpretation and analysis of neuroses remain the most trustworthy foundation of every kind of symbolism, because in them we can observe in anima vili the motivation, and further the whole genesis, of mental structures of this kind.” Certainty regarding symbolic relations can only be attained in psychoanalysis. In other fields, myths, fairy tales, folk-lore, etc., such security may be problematical, but in analysis security seems to be three-dimensional. Bridges often play a striking part in dreams. When definite
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historical associations are lacking a typical symbolic significance of bridges is often sought for. The author speaks of its appearance in a whole series of cases and offers some pertinent ideas concerning the interpretation. “The bridge is the male organ, and in particular the powerful organ of the father, which unites two landscapes (the two parents in the giant shapes in which they appear to the infant view). This bridge spans a wide and perilous stream, from which all life takes its origin, into which man longs all his life to return, and to which the adult does periodically return, though only by proxy, through a portion of himself.” The dreamer-Ferenczi here speaks only of the male-is without exception suffering from sexual impotence (a safe bet), and makes use of this genital weakness to protect himself from the dangerous proximity of women.”
The verification of his views he obtains from an analysis of a patient suffering from a bridge anxiety and retarded ejaculations. The patient could not cross a bridge alone, and in the course of the analysis when a strong transference had been established, he clung to the analyst like a vise until they had crossed the middle when he became cheerful and his anxiety vanished. He was afraid of the woman's genitals; he could not completely surrender. The bridge has two meanings; uniting member between the parents, and links, between “life and not life.” These supplement each other. The father's organ is actually the bridge which expedited the unborn (the not yet born) into life. When historicaldreammaterial is obtainable, it is important to remember, says Ferenczi, that there may be no symbolic significance.
In a postscript to this communication the author touches on the possible meaning of bridge symbolism and the Don Juan legend. Here he writes he has tried to show the numerous layers of meaning which the bridge has attained in the unconscious. Here the bridge is (1) the male member which unites the parents during intercourse, and to which the child must cling if it is not to perish in the “deep water” across which the bridge is thrown. (2) In so far as it is thanks to the male member that we have come into the world at all out of that water the bridge is an important vehicle between the Beyond (the condition of the unborn, the womb) and the Here (life). (3) Since man is not able to imagine death, the Beyond after life, except in the image of the past, consequently as a return to the womb, to water, to Mother Earth, the bridge is also the symbol of the pathway to death. (4) Finally the bridge may be used as a formal representation of “transitions,” “changes of condition” in general. In the original Don Juan legend the motives 1-3 are closely related and are confirmation of the interpretation. “According to the legend the famous woman-killer Miguel Monara Vicentello de Leco (Don Juan) lighted his cigar with the devil's cigar across the Guadalquivir. Once he met his own funeral and wanted to be buried in the crypt of a
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chapel built by himself in order to be trodden on by the feet of men. Only after the ‘burial’ did he change and become a repentent sinner.
“(a) I wish to interpret the cigar lighted across the river as a variation of the bridge symbol, in which (as so frequently happens with variations) much of the unconscious repressed material has returned. By its form and the fact that it burns, the cigar reminds us of the male organ burning with desire. The gigantic gesture—kindling the cigar from one side of the river to the other—is eminently fitted to serve as a representation of the gigantic potency of a Don Juan whose organ we wished to portray in colossal erection.
“(b) His presence at his own burial may be explained by the idea that this phantasy of a double represents a personification of the chief part of Don Juan's bodily ego, namely, his sexual organ. In every sexual intercourse the sexual organ is actually ‘buried’ and of course in the same place as that of birth, and the rest of the ‘ego’ may look anxiously at this ‘burial.’ The psychoanalysis of numerous dreams and of neurotic claustrophobia explains the fear of being buried alive as the transformation into dread of the wish to return to the womb. Moreover, from the narcissistic point of view every sexual act, every sacrifice to woman, is a loss, a kind of castration in Starcke's meaning, to which the offended ego may react with fear of death. Scruples of conscience, phantasies of punishment, too, may contribute to the fact that a Don Juan feels himself nearer to hell, to annihilation, with every sexual act. If we explain, with Freud, the Don Juan type of love-life—the compulsion to sequence-formation, to the conquest of innumerable women (Leporello's list!)— as a series of substitutes for the one and only love which is denied even to the Don Juan himself (the œdipus-phantasy) we understand better the phantasy of punishment mentioned above: it requites for the supreme' mortal sin.'
“Of course I do not pretend in these few lines to have revealed the hidden meaning of the Don Juan legend which still has many inexplicable traits (for example, I may hint at the probably homosexual signification of the lighting of one cigar by another); I only wished to give a confirmation of the phallic life and deathsymbolism of the bridge by its appearance among the typical symbols of death, birth and sexuality.”
4. Pfister, O.: Plato: A Forerunner of Psychoanalysis.—According to Plato, our author states, Eros, Love, is above all the instinct of sex or propagation. Plato did not in the least depreciate the part played in life by these instincts; the union of man and woman for the purposes of procreation was to him a holy thing, but love reaches still greater heights; it seeks the beautiful, and impregnation becomes a spiritual deed. Eros may be turned to the abstract, to the world of ideas and finally attains divinity. A modern student of Plato is quoted as showing “that all of the amplifications of the usual conception of the sexual instinct which
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Freud has made, much to the disgust of so many academicians, are to be found in the works of the founder of the Academy (Plato).”
Pfister calls attention to a number of passages showing the identity of the conceptions. “For medicine may be regarded generally as the knowledge of the loves and the desires of the body, and how to satisfy them or not.” “The best physician is he who is able to separate fair love from foul, or to convert one into the other; and he who knows how to eradicate and how to implant love, which is required, and can reconcile the most hostile elements in the constitution and make them loving friends is a skillful practitioner. Now the most hostile are the most opposite, such as hot and cold, bitter and sweet, moist and dry, and the like…. Love … since of all the gods he is the best friend of man, the helper and healer of the ills which are the great impediments of the happiness of the race…. Nearly all the technical, artistic and social activities arose from love; Plato mentions the following: gymnastics, agriculture, music, chivalry, poetry, archery, metal-work, weaving, art of government, the love for the beautiful and the good.”
These indicate in but a fragmentary manner Plato's vision or the interaction of mental processes and the workings of the mind as a whole, a vision which Pfister states had been entirely overlooked by most until Freud again insisted upon them and provided newer technical methods for the study of this great synthesis in the unconscious. Here in this region also Pfister shows that Plato's conception of the unconscious as the source of religion, philosophy and the creative genius in general: “We must lay stress on the depth and breadth of vision which takes love as the basic force of the mind and as the creative principle, and follows-it through all possible mental processes and actions, even going beyond the domain of experience into that of metaphysics. We do not accompany him into that territory which he himself describes only in mythological pictures, but we must still point out that such a careful positivist as Freud has also found in this source deep inspirations, which have proved of lasting value. In Plato we also find the' beginnings of an evo-lutionistic mode of thought. Even the theory of sublimation is anticipated. No thinker in terms of evolution would object that the evolution-istic discipline was not maintained consistently throughout and that homosexuality, for example, was not recognized as the result of misdevelop-ment. In the same way we can not complain that Plato discovered neither specific mental connections nor general psychological laws. His work, as it stands, is a wonderful piece of prophecy.”
5. Communications. Pfeifer, S.: Disappointment in Love During Analysis.-An impotent patient very much taken with a girl who seemed to reciprocate. As he wanted to marry her he began an analysis. When he proposed several weeks later he was refused. The resulting condition
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is the subject of the author's study. He could not work, although he tried. He could not remember anything said to him. For two days he seemed to have no feelings except a general discomfort. First he would suicide by pistol; then he would write a scornful and insulting letter. Insomnia, anorexia (liquids excepted) and flatulence also were present Two libido mechanisms were revealed. After the injury there was total withdrawal of libido from the painful outer world, most elementary sensations not being perceived. The narcissistic libido-tension became excessive. This sought relief, “I believe in myself,” he could whistle aloud and dance in his misery. The defense was insufficient, however. The wounding letter now was projected and the suicide ideas contained also related determiners. The regression now steps down the evolutionary scale. Anorexia, liquid food, flatus, are evidences of the oral, gastric and anal organizations. Violent bowel disturbances the author interprets as narcissistic. The patient now turns to the sister and a female cousin (mother imago). His sleeplessness, which is conceived of as a flight of the enhanced narcissism from further augmentation, as well as the fear of the claims of the repressed object-libido, is brought to an end by a saving-dream in which mother, sister and sweetheart are saved in one composite dream-picture. Further recovery is obtained through the growing transfer to the analyst.
Roheim, G.: Psycho-analysis and the Folk-Tale.—An interesting rejoinder to a paper by F. C. Bartlett on Psychology in Relation to the Popular Story, too detailed to abstract.
Herbert, S.: A Child's Birth-Myth Story.—A short note of the elaboration anew by a nine-year-old girl who, being rationally informed concerning the origin of children, of a complete birth-myth phantasy showing the need of elaborating unconsciously in her own language and images knowledge that she already had consciously.
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Jelliffe, S.E. (1924). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis. Psychoanal. Rev., 11(2):201-215