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Forrester, J. (2005). Editorial. Psychoanal. Hist., 7(1):1-4.

(2005). Psychoanalysis and History, 7(1):1-4

Editorial

John Forrester

Andrea Sabbadini was the founding Editor of this Journal; it is an honour to follow in his footsteps. He has left his stamp on it; its breadth of geographical and chronological coverage, both in contributors and in the topics they have written about, is exemplary. It has been hostage to none of the fashionable trends in history-writing or in psychoanalytic perspective. It has been broad-minded, lively, pioneering, eye-opening and engrossing. I have every intention of continuing in that spirit and would regard it as a great achievement were I to succeed.

An important element of Andrea's editorship was a small group functioning as Editorial Board. I intend to spread the load amongst more members, the Editorial Advisors, who will, inevitably, be more geographically disparate - probably both a weakness and a strength. The indispensable Michael Molnar remains as the Book Reviews Editor.

It is over 30 years since I started research on a doctoral dissertation on the history of psychoanalysis. The field was not then, and is not now, one with recognized boundaries, canonical texts, exemplary studies. It was and remains riven with controversy; it is heterogeneous, porous to outsiders, rife with self-appointed insiders, displaying manifold tensions between psychoanalyst-historians and writers from a wide range of other disciplinary backgrounds, including enthusiasts of no fixed intellectual abode. As a result, the styles and voices remain varied and various, polyphonous and even - dare I say it - cacophonous. There has, it seems to me, always been room for all three varieties of history delineated by Nietzsche to flourish. There is the monumental, celebrating the demand that greatness be everlasting, even, necessarily, at the cost of forgetting the causes of its coming into existence; the invocation of the name of ‘Freud’ is sufficient to remind readers of the attractions and necessity of ‘the monumental’. Then there is the antiquarian, which preserves and reveres, wishing to conserve for those who come after the conditions under which it itself came into existence; the antiquarian impulse flows over into the attention to detail that is the hallmark of analysis itself, whether it is the fine detail of a dream or of the personal and professional alliances initiating institutional innovation.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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