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Veszy-Wagner, L. (1971). Correspondence. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 52:329-329.
    

(1971). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 52:329-329

Correspondence

Lilla Veszy-Wagner

DEAR SIR,

Crypto-amnesia

The following might be of interest. An analyst friend from the U.S.A. reported a phenomenon in one of his letters, which has been as amusing as it is instructive. He did not recognize my verbatim quotation from one of his own communications. Yet he felt 'it sounded good'.

My explanation of this phenomenon is as follows. He had felt a pleasant surprise. Such surprises are invariably pleasing because they are unconsciously narcissistic, and because their narcissism may be enjoyed without afterthoughts, in all innocence, as children enjoy a toy. One reads the quotation and likes it with only slight doubts (if any) as to its excellence. Then suddenly one recognizes it as being one's own. At that crucial moment—very similar to reversals in certain optical illusions—the consciousness of relevancy leaps forward and overflows, inundates the formerly mere consciousness with (not even anxious) joy. This feeling, at this crucial moment, becomes more rewarding, almost orgastic, than it has ever been before.

I should say that it is an inverse case of cryptomnesia, and would therefore call it (sit venia verbo) crypto-amnesia. In character, it is like a dream. As in amnesia, repression has been already at work. (It is not quite clear why unconscious feelings—or modesty?—have to rear their heads even here: perhaps out of the fear of committing hubris …?!) The fear is certainly more acceptable at first, if one does not know that it was original.

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