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Cusin, A. (2020). Vanda Shrenger Weiss. La prima psicoanalista in Italia. La psicoanalisi a Roma in epoca fascista: [Vanda Shrenger Weiss: The First Psychoanalyst in Italy. Psychoanalysis in Rome during the Fascist Era], by Rita Corsa, Rome, Alpes, 2017, 380 pp., 353 pp., €21.25, ISBN 9788865314159. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 101(2):427-431.
(2020). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 101(2):427-431
Vanda Shrenger Weiss. La prima psicoanalista in Italia. La psicoanalisi a Roma in epoca fascista: [Vanda Shrenger Weiss: The First Psychoanalyst in Italy. Psychoanalysis in Rome during the Fascist Era], by Rita Corsa, Rome, Alpes, 2017, 380 pp., 353 pp., €21.25, ISBN 9788865314159
Review by: Ambra Cusin
Rita Corsa’s book is a biography of Vanda Shrenger Weiss, the first psychoanalyst in Italy, of whom little has actually been written. In particular, the book explores the period in which Shrenger Weiss, the wife of Edoardo Weiss, the first Italian psychoanalyst, lived in Italy and collaborated in the foundation of the Italian Psychoanalytic Society (SPI) and in the birth of the Italian journal Rivista di Psicoanalisi. In addition, the period in which Shrenger Weiss abandoned Italy during the Fascist regime and emigrated with her husband to the United States is explored, as well as her move towards joining the Jungian Society. Translations or summaries of some of Shrenger Weiss’s most significant writings are also included in the book.
I am writing this book review on 27 January, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a time when we remember not only the tragedy of Nazi persecutions of the Jews, but all the persecutions that, despite the many “never more” repetitions over the years, continue to strike innocent people in many parts of the world. And I am writing in Trieste, Italy, where 80 years ago Mussolini announced the shameful racial laws.
With this book—which makes use of original archival material, often unpublished, as the author herself affirms—Rita Corsa presents us with the product of having patiently sifted through various sources, in old offices where the smell of dust and worm-eaten pages pervades—a work of in-depth archival research and direct testimonials of the protagonists’ living descendants. The book legitimizes a significant figure in psychoanalysis, Vanda Shrenger Weiss, but it is also a cross-section of an era steeped in tragic events that, unfortunately, seem to echo in various forms in much of our everyday life.
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