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Ferenczi, S. (1933). Thalassa: A Theory of Genitality. Psychoanal Q., 2:361-364.

(1933). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 2:361-364

Thalassa: A Theory of Genitality

Sándor Ferenczi


In the autumn of 1914 the demands of military service broke in upon the psychoanalytic activities of the author of this work and exiled him to a small garrison town, where he found the duties of chief medical officer to a squadron of Hussars somewhat of a contrast to the pressure of activity to which he had been accustomed. Thus he came to occupy his leisure hours with the translating of Freud's Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie; and it was almost inevitable that he should have elaborated in his mind certain ideas suggested by this work and have set down, however sketchily, the results. These notions revolved around a fuller elucidation of the act of coitus, conceived in the Abhandlungen as the final phase in the total course of sexual development, to be sure, but not there dealt with in any detail from the standpoint of its evolution and development. These ideas gradually crystallized into an onto- and phylogenetic theory which in 1915 I submitted to Professor Freud on the occasion of a visit of his to my military station. Later, in 1919, I repeated the exposition of this theory before him and before a small group of friends, and on both occasions was urged to write it out for publication. My failure for some time to act upon this invitation, though due in part to resistances engendered by the singularity of my material, was determined also by objective considerations. My equipment in the natural sciences did not in any wise exceed that of a physician who in his time has studied various branches of natural science with every diligence and out of a special fondness for them, but who for nearly twenty years has not been concerned with them to any detailed extent.

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