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Reed, G.S. (2009). ”In the Same Way a Poem Contains the Alphabet”: The Significance of Translation in William I. Grossman's Freud. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 57(1):37-60.

(2009). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 57(1):37-60

”In the Same Way a Poem Contains the Alphabet”: The Significance of Translation in William I. Grossman's Freud

Gail S. Reed

William I. Grossman's contributions to psychoanalysis have been insufficiently appreciated, perhaps because his writing is concentrated and his meaning consequently difficult to unpack. One of his most important contributions is a remarkable description of the systematic way Freud imagined, thought, and theorized, beginning long before he created psychoanalysis. This way of thinking exemplifies Freud's theories even as it organizes his thinking. It is flexible, expandable, hierarchical, and recursive. Grossman's reading provides a window into Freud's texts that yields exciting new insights, including the idea that a transformative version of translation, a perception of the way Freud thinks creatively, may help psychoanalysts of different cultures and systems of thought communicate across boundaries. André Green's concept of the pathological negative is used as an example of how Grossman's Freud can facilitate a crossing of cultural and theoretical boundaries.

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