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Aberbach, D. (1983). Screen Memories of Writers. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 10:47-62.

(1983). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 10:47-62

Screen Memories of Writers

David Aberbach


Since Freud's essay on 'Screen Memories' (1899), the profound importance of early memories as a tool of psychoanalysis has often been shown in clinical studies, but, as Freud himself discovered, the reporting and analysis of screen memories is made difficult by the complicated relationship between childhood and adult life. Indeed, there is a relative paucity of thorough analyses of childhood memories with reference to the individual's life as a whole. The childhood memories of writers, whether biographical, semibiographical, or even fabricated, are, therefore, of considerable clinical interest as they, together with the aid of extraneous literature, often show with unusual clarity the links between the child and the adult. Enough background is frequently known to relate these memories to major events and relationships in the author's life and works. In this article, we examine the memories of seven writers—Freud himself, Bialik, Wordsworth, D. H. Lawrence, Joyce, Kafka, and Agnon—to illustrate their centrality in the life and works of each writer. We conclude by examining the differences between screen memories of writers and others.

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