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Klumpner, G.H. (1978). A Hypothesis Regarding the Origins of Freud's Concepts of the Psychology of Adolescence. Ann. Psychoanal., 6:3-22.

(1978). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 6:3-22

I Psychoanalytic History

A Hypothesis Regarding the Origins of Freud's Concepts of the Psychology of Adolescence

George H. Klumpner, M.D.

When Ernest Jones, Freud's colleague and biographer, asked the founder of psychoanalysis which were his favorites among his writings, Freud fetched from the shelves “The Interpretation of Dreams” and the “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality,” saying: “I hope this one [Three Essays] will soon be out of date through being generally accepted, but that one should last longer.” Then, with a quiet smile, he added: “It seems to be my fate to discover only the obvious: that children have sexual feelings, which every nursemaid knows; and that night dreams are just as much a wish-fulfillment as day dreams.”(Jones, 1953, p. 350). Both Jones and Strachey agreed with Freud, the former describing the “Three Essays” as “one of the two most important books Freud ever wrote (1955, p. 12), the latter saying, “the ‘Three Essays’ stand, there can be no doubt, beside his Interpretation of Dreams as his most momentous and original contributions to human knowledge” (1953, p. 126).

This paper is concerned with the third of the essays, “The Transformation of Puberty,” and, because my interest is primarily in the origins of Freud's concepts, I shall confine my observations to the comments about the psychology of adolescence that Freud made in 1905. The date is important because, in the numerous editions of this work that appeared over the next twenty years, Freud made a great many modifications and additions—more, according to Strachey (1953), than to any of his other writings.

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