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Ingram, D.H. (1994). In These Pages …. Am. J. Psychoanal., 54(4):291-292.

(1994). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 54(4):291-292

In These Pages …

Editor Douglas H. Ingram

Among the few outstanding awards received by Freud in his lifetime was the Goethe prize for literature in 1930. Strictly speaking, the prize was not for literary merit. Yet the lucidity and stylistic grace of Freud's voluminous elaboration of unconscious process does seem to justify a prize named for a heroic figure in literature. Freud, we think, also deserved a scientific prize for giving us a window on the unconscious, on character development, and on the origins of certain psychopathology. He expressed dismay, perhaps with irony, that he had been passed over for a Nobel prize (Gay, 1988). Now, so many years later, psychoanalysis finds itself drawing from and contributing to literary theory with such genuine ease that the Goethe prize now seems a prefiguring moment. We know that despite its endeavors to be scientific and to serve as a medical treatment, psychoanalysis often has been more cordially welcomed by the humanistic disciplines than by the biological sciences.

Through literary theory, especially in its postmodern incarnations, we locate questions that traditional psychoanalysis sometimes seems to have forgotten. We have been in the habit, for example, of assuming that we know something about the self and that our task is to articulate that knowledge. Marc Kaminsky opens the pages of this journal issue, radicalizing our thinking in this connection. He underscores how much we may have complacently reified the self through discursive practices cryptographed in our culture.

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