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Ahbel-Rappe, K. (2009). “After a Long Pause”: How to Read Dora as History. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 57(3):595-629.

(2009). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 57(3):595-629

“After a Long Pause”: How to Read Dora as History

Karin Ahbel-Rappe

Freud's “Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria” (1905a, b) is well recognized for making psychoanalytic history. In the Dora paper Freud first publicized a new theory of the etiology of neurosis that made fantasy and repression central. And yet the paper also refers to trauma and seduction. What role do they play in the text? Part I shows that this is not a case of Freud broadening his etiological framework by adding a new focus to older ones. Rather, the references to trauma and seduction in Dora need to be understood in two ways. First, there is in the 1905 paper an implicit theoretical autobiography, of which Freud's references to the trauma and seduction theories early in the paper are part. Second, Freud's reference to seduction later in the paper constitutes Freud's first public critique of the seduction theory. The Dora paper is the actual site of the abandonment of the seduction theory. In Part 2 the focus shifts to the text's “theoretical unconscious.” Despite its rejection of the seduction theory in its avowed theorizing, the text is haunted by displaced signifiers of the theory. This suggests that Freud was unconsciously conflicted about not applying the insights of the seduction theory to Dora.

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