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Steiner, R. (2001). An Essay Marking Its Centenary: Some Observations on the Sources of Freud's The Psychopathology of Everyday Life. Neuropsychoanalysis, 3(2):221-241.

(2001). Neuropsychoanalysis, 3(2):221-241

An Essay Marking Its Centenary: Some Observations on the Sources of Freud's The Psychopathology of Everyday Life

Riccardo Steiner

I was one day relating a visit to the Epileptic Hospital, and intending to name a friend, Dr. Bastian, who accompanied me, I said “Dr. Brinton”: then immediately corrected this with “Dr. Bridges,” this also was rejected and “Dr. Bastian” was pronounced. I was under no confusion whatever as to the person, but having imperfectly adjusted the group of muscles necessary for the articulation of the one name, the one element which was common to that group and to the others, namely B, served to recall all three. [Lewes, 1879, pp. 128-129].

This anecdote, drawn from the English scholar Lewes's Problems of Life and Mind (1879), is cited by none other than Ribot, the eminent psychologist and theoriest of French psychophysiology, in Les Maladies de la Mémoire (1881, p. 19). This book, alongside Ribot's other works (1870, 1883, 1889, 1895), was considered for years, to use the words of Janet, his pupil and successor at the Collège de France, as “le bréviaire des psychologues et des médecins” (1912). This was not exclusively in France: Due homage to Ribot's book was paid by Forel (1885), Binet (1889), James (1890), and Wundt (1893, 1896), just to mention a few authors belonging to the scientific context in which some of Freud's interests originated. Even Charcot, in his Leçcons sur les Maladies du Système Nerveux Faites à la Salpêtrière, returned frequently to Ribot and to his theories regarding “memoires partielles” (Ribot, 1881, pp.

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