1. Abraham, Karl. Contribution to the Theory of the Anal Character.
2. Klein, Melanie. The Development of a Child.
3. Shorter Articles: Ferenczi, S., Social Considerations in Some Analyses; Abraham, K., An Octogenarian's Blunder; Frink, H. W., Minor Contributions; Ossipow, N., Psychoanalysis and Superstition; Meyer, M. A., Significance of Alteration of Name.
Abstracts; Book Reviews; Bulletin of International Society.
1. Abraham, K. Anal Character.—The deep foundations upon which human character is built is no more strikingly shown than in Freud's original study on Anal Erotism and Character, published in 1908. Since this short inductive presentation, scattered fragments bearing upon which have been distributed in folklore and literature for centuries, Sadger, Ferenczi and Jones, and others have extended the observations. Freud's formulation of the pregenitallibido organizations in 1913 put this material
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into a more orderly form and the significance of healthly as well as sick compulsive conduct became more appreciated.
Abraham's study would add more material to the rich mass already collected concerning resymbolizations of anal erotism. He first calls attention to a type of individual—young or old—who stand out in virtue of especially gentle behavior, faultless manner and obedience, but who explain their deeply underlying rebellious impulses on the ground that they have been forced into submission since infancy. The history of a “middle child” (Hug-Hellmuth) is briefly given. Her training into cleanly habits, forced from a just older and a soon arriving child, was attended by vigorous spanking, and resulted in a model submissive clean child early. On growing up there was a constant conflict between submissiveness, resignation and self-sacrifice—and a tendency (unconscious) for revenge on everything. This habit induction through fear rather than through love is the point the author would accent, and the tendency of the narcissistic fixation to limit the capacity to love is evident.
In the narcissistic value of the excreta (Int. Zeit, 1920), Abraham has already pointed out the significance of the excretions in the development of the wish for omnipotence. [American football “smear” the enemy slang,] This plenitude of power in the estimation of the excretions is foreign to the consciousness of the average adult. [Not so foreign as the author would assume—see obscene jokes which he also quotes—but its various nuances are not so apparent, and to the so-called “normal” sadist the ideas are especially abhorrent.]
Abraham quotes a number of these power symbolizations: “Intestinal impotence” and fatigue of some; “no one else can do anything as well as himself” (Sadger); great tendency to depreciate work of others the overvalued idea of having “the only one of this,” “collectors”; the idea that one's own affairs are unique—ergo resistances to psa, probing, etc.; hanging on to old self-imposed routines, regulations, etc. (Jones). Abraham gives an illustration of this effort to write out a girl's daily program. Indexing, tabulating, statistics gathering, etc., these are interrelated. The way money is doled out to wives, children; food to servants, etc., offer many interesting illustrations of the “surrender of excrement” symbolizations. In fact, the whole function of giving may be studied from this point of view. Nagging and excessive instruction is an interesting phase of the desire to introduce one's own system into the life of others. In psa. inability for free association may be seen to go back to this inability to give up the feces. An opposite run the whole show type is also of the same genesis. (Abraham, Int. z. f. Psa., 1919, and Kl. Beiträge.)
The “Obsessional Character” is discussed in terms of pregenitalfixation or regression, which leads to lack of productivity and depreciation of the love object. The anal function now becomes the “productive”
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function. Money now looms large. They may give money, or become benefactors. Fussiness, procrastination, dilettante activities, these all
appear. Jung introversion-extravers on types are not types, but are more comprehensible in the light of these reflections. The interest in possession may arise in inverse ratio to one's productivity.
Envy is of special significance from the possession wish type. He wants what the other has and has spite against him. The sadistic anal roots are evident.
A classical series of traits center about money conditionings. Parsimony and avarice have many subtle forms of expression. Abraham cites the admonitions of a rich banker to his children, “to hang onto the expensive food they ate and get all the good out of it.” There are people who begrudge money for “perishable things.” They have no “permanent” record of it. One person would buy opera scores but not go to the opera. He had something. Much bodily weighing is an interesting attitude towards what one's food is doing for one. One miser quoted saved the wearing out of his buttonholes by not buttoning his trousers. Time gets equated with money and a host of interesting character traits appear. They can't lose time: they hate Sundays because they are not “busy” (Ferenczi). Saving on the spigot and wasting at the bunghole is equally true in time matters. Some people are always doing two things at once to save time: Dressing or undressing in all their garments or combinations to save time. [One patient of abstractor always did this and yet it took him two hours to dress.] Many people must learn or read things while defecating and “save time.” Looking at one's mental efforts is an interesting phenomenon: Pleasure in masses of material—collectors' instincts are often anally conditioned; likewise the reverse: throwing away things. Some people buy new clothes but never wear them. They “have them” hanging in the wardrobe. Compulsive tendency to use everything. A rich man who used to cut his empty match boxes into small sticks and give them to his domestics for lighting the fires, the author cites. [A well-known American multimillionaire was known to gather up thrown away newspapers to read; he never spent a cent for a newspaper.] Extravagance and diarrhea is of moment. Throwing away money—losing money on the part of women as an expression of hostility to the husband or provider is frequent. Female castration complex. [Frequently verifiable. S. E. J.] Money often replaces human beings.
The craving for symmetry and scrupulous fairness as an anal conditioning is spoken of. These people count their steps, must have pictures or other things very symmetrically arranged; budgets must be balanced. “One must be quits with others” in the matter of obligation. The tendency to forget small sums of money is often of interest in this connection.
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The author then discusses Jones' thought concerning the interest in the reverse side of things, mistakes of right and left, up and down, etc., and gives examples from his experience. Here the displacement from the genital to the anal zone is quite marked. [Abstracter had to dismiss one secretary because of her extraordinarily frequent displacement of letters in typing. Thus conditioned, she wanted to be a man.] Peculiar people, who refuse to follow the fashion, work when others play, ride when others walk, sit or stand in reversal to others; here obstinacy and its anal conditioning is apparent.
Finally the author would deal with certain aspects of physiognomy in its relations to anal erotism. His observations are fragmentary. [The literature—see Darwin and others—is quite extensive from the phenome-nological side. Phyletic studies re the sympathetics and the facial musculature are also of value. S. E. J.]
2. Klein, Melanie. The Development of a Child.—This is an extensive and detailed history of the development of a child presented from the point of view of what should be the influence of sexual enlightenment and relaxation of authority on the intellectual development of children. The boy, Fritz, five years of age, is the son of relations living near and under continuous observation. The mother follows closely the author's recommendations. He was a slow boy, speaking only at two, and at three and a half only expressing himself freely. He had a remarkable memory; was really intelligent. At four and three-quarters the first birth questions arose. These were answered shortly, correctly, and as scientifically as possible. From here on the paper details all of the curiosity motives of the child—they are given in great detail and cannot be abstracted.
The whole paper should be read. It is a detailed record of one case, and coincides with the many questionnaire studies of Stanley Hall and his students reported in the Pedagogical Seminary. In respect to the development of certain functions of psychoanalytic interest the paper is particularly informing.
A second part of the paper deals with the analysis of children, already opened up by Freud and Hug-Hellmuth [Int. Zeit. f. Psa., VII, 1921, No. 2]. This part also is too detailed for abstraction. It is well worth reading.
3. Shorter Notes: Ferenczi. (1) Social Conditions. The author was called in consultation to a countess who had broken her leg and while delirious was very obscene. Later partial analysis showed an interesting reversal of the family neurotic romance (quite analogous to the “rich girl-coachman situation”). She later married a socially inferior young surgeon. (2) Mental Disturbance and Social Advancement. A
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note on the development of neuroses consequent on rapid social advancement of the parents when the patients were young children.
Abraham, K. An Octogenarian's Blunder. Ludwig Barnay, the actor, having many honors heaped upon him on his eightieth birthday and having jokingly remarked none were left when he did die, further said: “At all events, burial, the usual funeral ceremony, and an obituary notice in the public press. But the funeral procession will even have to do without this three-fold celebration, since I have arranged in my will that my demise shall not take place before my cremation has taken place. The blunder as expressive of the wish not to die is commented upon.
Frink, H. W. Minor Contributions. Fragmentary comments on Errors in Writing, the Cat as a Genital Symbol, and Baseball Symbolism.
Ossipow, N. Psychoanalysis and Superstition. The author on his wedding journey got out at a train stop, walked to the street to look at the town, miscalculated the time, and missed the train. He followed in half an hour with no obvious difficulty. A nurse superstitiously said, “No good will come of the marriage.” He laughed, but was divorced in five months. He now discusses the inner psychoanalytic significance of the symptomatic act and its relationships to the superstition.
Meyer, M. A. Alteration of Name. A patient eliminated at the last moment his middle initial on some newly ordered visiting cards. Analysis seemed to show the situation was due to resistances during the analysis to his getting well, since his middle name had been acquired as a sort of talisman when at six he was severely ill.
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Jelliffe, S.E. (1925). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis. Psychoanal. Rev., 12(4):477-481