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Rossi, P.L. (2007). Travels around the Wolf Man: A Diary. Ital. Psychoanal. Annu., 1:71-88.

(2007). The Italian Psychoanalytic Annual, 1:71-88

Travels around the Wolf Man: A Diary Language Translation

Pier Luigi Rossi

Freud's ≪case histories≫ constitute a particular literary genre, invented and applied by him at a certain point in his career, over a period extending from 1901 (≪Dora≫) to 1914, the year in which the writing of the account of the Wolf Man marked the end of this experiment. The Wolf Man case history is also probably the most complete example of Freud's use of this genre, and perhaps the most famous one as an object of criticism and discussion; even today it remains persistently fascinating to the reader, and none of this fascination is dispelled by the patient's if anything problematic subsequent development.

Unlike many of Freud's other contributions, these case histories are characterized by their narrative quality, even if they never ultimately amount to the ≪story of a longterm treatment≫ that he considered himself unable to bring to completion.

What, it may be wondered, is actually being narrated?

These cases have little to do with the later ≪clinical vignette≫, whereby the application of particular aspects of a theory is narrated. Instead, Freud apparently wishes to present the theory itself in the process of its constitution. The narration of the case appears as an instrument in the service of a more complex ≪persuasive rhetoric≫, in which literary critics have taken a great interest. ≪Freud's cultural persuasiveness seems to me ultimately to stem from his unique powers of contamination. If you dispute Freud, he contaminates you anyway, and his interpretations insinuate themselves into your consciousness≫.

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