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Mahony, P.J. (1992). Traduire Freud: By André Bourguignon, Pierre Cotet, Jean Laplanche and François Robert. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1989, 379 pp., Fr. 195.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 40:251-256.

(1992). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 40:251-256

Traduire Freud: By André Bourguignon, Pierre Cotet, Jean Laplanche and François Robert. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1989, 379 pp., Fr. 195.

Review by:
Patrick J. Mahony, Ph.D.

Have we not already arrived at a solid understanding of what Freud said? And has not post-Freudian psychoanalysis made undeniable strides on both theoretical and clinical fronts? So why risk being retrograde? Why do we have to bother with works about translating Freud, and especially when they are in languages other than English and German? Furthermore and even more seriously, if the Standard Edition is deficient, then why were there not rife published objections to it made by the numerous German-speaking analysts coming to North America in the 1930's and 1940's? These questions and many more could be raised about any study that would question the Standard Edition, whose importance for English-speaking analysts has been transferentially overdetermined since the very outset of their training. Although it is out of the question that any viscouslike attachment to the canonical status of the Standard Edition could be rapidly dissolved by mere rational argument, yet doubters should be ready at least to discuss and reconsider the issue of translating Freud. If one should hesitate to do so, and, by way of self-justification, invoke the seeming indifference of earlier German-speaking analysts, let me say this: A deep reason that some German analyst immigrants in America shirked off the problems of translating Freud is that their personal trauma led them away from their mother tongue—it is quite understandable that my own analyst for one, a native Berliner, formally forbade that German be spoken in his new home. And as for some other German immigrant analysts, there may be the irony that they precipitously succumbed to the pressure of restrictively adapting to things American, including language, and yet advocated the theory of a conflict-free ego, one of whose preeminent functions is linguistic.

And now onto Traduire Freud (To Translate Freud), an achievement by any standard.

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