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Forrester, J. (2014). Editorial. Psychoanal. Hist., 16(1):1-4.

(2014). Psychoanalysis and History, 16(1):1-4


John Forrester

On the birth of his son Mervyn on 27 February 1922, Ernest Jones impetuously decided to change his name to Ernest Beddow-Jones, giving as his reason to Freud:

It seems to me a little unfair to expose one's children to the irksome task of gradually distinguishing themselves from the other half a million people called Jones (there are now even three psycho-analysts called Dr. Ernest Jones). (Jones, 1922, p. 463)

Whatever commentaries this episode might elicit concerning the relations between the history of psychoanalysis and the nom du père - Jones pre-emptively noted that he was thereby ‘inserting one [name] inherited by my father from his mother (analytically at the same time an affirmation and a repudiation of him)’ - the oddest thing about this passage is the fact that by 1922 there were three psychoanalysts called ‘Ernest Jones’. At least two of these Ernest Joneses are lost to history. Did they exist? Were they all ‘legitimate’ Ernest Joneses, or had they changed their names so as to make a fast guinea, riding on the fame of the ‘real’ Ernest Jones, the way a singer might change his name to ‘Paul McCartney’ or a politician to ‘Margaret Thatcher’? Most strikingly: why do no histories of psychoanalysis include these other Ernest Joneses in their texts, let alone their indexes?

The least implausible hypothesis necessary to account for this odd sentence concerning the three psychoanalysts called ‘Ernest Jones’ is that much of the history of psychoanalysis really is lost from sight - because we have been looking for too long in the wrong places.

[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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