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Bassi, F. (2008). Bonomi C. Sulla soglia della psicoanalisi. Freud e la follia infantile [On the threshold of psychoanalysis. Freud and the insanity of the child]. Introduction by E. Roudinesco. Bollati Boringhieri: Torino, 2007.. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 17(2):133-135.

(2008). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 17(2):133-135

Bonomi C. Sulla soglia della psicoanalisi. Freud e la follia infantile [On the threshold of psychoanalysis. Freud and the insanity of the child]. Introduction by E. Roudinesco. Bollati Boringhieri: Torino, 2007.

Review by:
Fabiano Bassi

Psychoanalysis has already completed a century of life, and during this long time span its various historical, theoretical, and technical aspects have been studied and explored by a great number of authors. But when it falls under the magnifying glass of a precise and cultured scholar such as Carlo Bonomi, who wrote this splendid book, our discipline opens up to unexpected and new interpretations. What do we find there “on the threshold of psychoanalysis”, that is, in the place from which the author invites us to reason from the very beginning with his title? We find the opportunity to see that Freud actually “discovered” very little in his epic work of foundation of his doctrine, so numerous were the contributions of his predecessors on which he based his work as he proceeded to give life to his thoughts and intuitions. Some of these contributions are relatively well known (e.g. the concept of the “unconscious” had been already introduced by the philosopher Herbart more then 50 years before Freud used it as the stronghold of his theory), but many escape recognition by even expert readers; thus, Bonomi accompanies us towards these more sophisticated items with his fascinating narrative style and methodical determination, which inspired Elisabeth Roudinesco—in her beautiful introduction—to equate him to a modern Conan Doyle.

Bonomi's first problem was a methodological one, and the way he resolved it is most elegant, because he needed to show us how it is possible to “locate the Freudian discovery in the historical context without flattening its borders” (p.

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