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Barchilon, J. (1973). Pleasure, Mockery and Creative Integrations: Their Relationship to Childhood Knowledge, a Learning Defect and the Literature of the Absurd. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 54:19-34.

(1973). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 54:19-34

Pleasure, Mockery and Creative Integrations: Their Relationship to Childhood Knowledge, a Learning Defect and the Literature of the Absurd

Jose Barchilon

In this paper I wish to focus first on a transference reaction familiar to all analysts: the analysand laughs at and mocks the analyst. This common occurrence, first described in Freud's case histories, has been cited by many others since. A good example is Freud's (1905, p. 120) report of how Dora treated him like a servant and gave him a fortnight's notice of dismissal, after he failed to understand and interpret her homosexual attachment to Frau K. But the complete prototype of the phenomena I am about to describe was portrayed in the case of little Hans (Freud, 1909). That case, besides being celebrated and familiar, also contains the essential and sufficient elements to define this symptomatic reaction and understand its function.

MATERIAL FROM THE CASE OF LITTLE HANS

I am referring to Hans's clever fabrication after being told by his father how baby chicks hatched and how his newly born sister, Hanna, had been brought by the stork. He retorted mockingly to his father: 'At Gmunden; you laid an egg in the grass, and all at once a chicken came hopping out. You laid an egg once; I know you did, I know it for certain' (p. 85). Earlier he had revealed his knowledge of the truth when he told his father another seemingly absurd story, about how Hanna had been with mother in a box while they travelled to Gmunden, and how as a five-month's foetus she had been riding a horse. When Hans's father remonstrated that she could not have been there more than a year before her birth, the little boy pointedly, if symbolically, says:

Oh yes, she was; she was with the stork.

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