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Forrester, J. (2012). Editorial. Psychoanal. Hist., 14(2):149-150.

(2012). Psychoanalysis and History, 14(2):149-150


John Forrester

In this issue, Psychoanalysis and History publishes a translation of the previously unpublished manuscript by Freud, ‘Critical Introduction to Neuropathology’, composed in the years 1885-87. Discovered in 1970, this document has not hitherto attracted the detailed attention of scholars. Many of those studying Freud's early development simply decided it was of insufficient interest. Katja Guenther demonstrates otherwise. She has prepared the text for its publication in German in our sister journal Luzifer-Amor (49: 33-82, 2012), translated it into English and in addition provides an authoritative commentary upon the text. What emerges from her supremely well-informed scholarship is a portrait of Freud's theoretical concerns in the period that all historians grant is crucial to understanding his emergence as a neuropathologist and practising physician: 1885-87, covering the period he spent in Paris studying with Charcot, the opening of his medical practice at Easter 1886, his marriage to Martha Bernays in September 1886 and his encounter with Wilhelm Fliess in 1887. The period from 1886 to 1891 is, in fact, one of the longest hiatuses in Freud's self-authored publishing career, readily explicable by his preoccupation with establishing both his family and his medical practice and by his devotion to translating first Charcot's lectures (1886) and then Bernheim's influential book on suggestion (1888-89). From 1891 on, the rate of Freud's publications picks up again, particularly with the publication of his study of aphasia and (with Oscar Rie) of the Clinical Study of the Unilateral Cerebral Palsies of Children. As Katja Guenther points out, the ‘Critical Introduction to Neuropathology’ is most appropriately seen in the line of Freud's work that goes from this ‘Critical Introduction’ to the study of aphasia of 1891, the Project of 1895 and the final chapter of The Interpretation of Dreams.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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