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Masciangelo, P.M. (1990). The “Red Thread”. A Note on Freudian Propositions in the Thirthies. Rivista Psicoanal., 36(4):972-996.

(1990). Rivista di Psicoanalisi, 36(4):972-996

The “Red Thread”. A Note on Freudian Propositions in the Thirthies Language Translation

Pier Mario Masciangelo

“Our attention has been brought to an interesting provision in the English navy, whereby the entire cordage of the Royal fleet, from the sturdiest to the slenderest of its ropes, is braided with a red thread; this latter cannot be removed without the undoing of the whole, with the consequence that even the merest snips are recognisable as belonging to the Crown”

(J. W. Goethe, Elective Affinities, Chap. II).

In lesson 31 of the 1932 New Introductory Lectures, having observed that “the ego can be split”, even “temporarily”, and that this is not a “novelty” — “it may perhaps be putting an unusual emphasis on what is generally known” (58) — Freud reiterates on the theme of “ego-psychology” that what is at issue is not “new discoveries” but rather “new ways of looking at things and new ways of arranging them” (60).

“I find myself for a moment in the interesting position of not knowing whether what I have to say should be regarded as something long familiar and obvious or as something entirely new and puzzling.

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