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Riolo, F. (2007). Freud and Lichtenberg's Knife. Ital. Psychoanal. Annu., 1:59-69.

(2007). The Italian Psychoanalytic Annual, 1:59-69

Freud and Lichtenberg's Knife Language Translation

Fernando Riolo

≪I started my professional activity as a neurologist trying to bring relief to my neurotic patients. Under the influence of an older friend and by my own efforts, I discovered some important new facts about the unconscious in psychic life, the role of instinctual urges and so on.

Out of these findings grew a new science, Psycho-Analysis, a part of psychology, and a new method of treatment of the neuroses. I had to pay heavily for this bit of good luck.

People did not believe in my facts and thought my ideas unsavoury. Resistance was strong and unrelenting. In the end I succeeded in acquiring pupils and building up an International Psycho-Analytic Association. But the struggle is not yet over≫.

Sigmund Freud, BBC Broadcast Recorded at Maresfield Gardens, 7 December 1938

The above quotation is taken from the only existing recording of Freud's voice, a short interview given to the BBC at the end of his life. The voice is altered, enfeebled and broken — partly by age, but mainly by the progress of his jaw cancer. In these few sentences, we hear him emphasize some very simple and hence fundamental concepts. Psychoanalysis arose from the ≪discovery of new and important facts≫ concerning the decisive part played by the unconscious and by instinctual forces in psychic life. ≪I discovered facts≫, says Freud, and repeats it twice: it is a matter of scientific discoveries, and not of speculations.

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