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Smith, H.F. (2005). Lawrence Friedman: Speaking of Analysis. Psychoanal Q., 74(3):633-637.

(2005). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 74(3):633-637

Special Presentations

Lawrence Friedman: Speaking of Analysis

Henry F. Smith, M.D.

Rumor has it that there was once a writer who had given an honorary address, which he sent to the editor of the journal required to publish such events. (Requirements like these, I might note, are the bane of editors' lives, and we at the Quarterly are blissfully free of them.) Now, this particular writer was something of a poet, in addition to being a psychoanalyst, and the editor in question told him that his manuscript needed to be revised. A scientific paper, the editor explained, had to follow a particular format. It should begin with an introduction, followed by a review of the literature, and then a statement about the author's specific contribution; next should be the presentation of the data, and then a discussion and, finally, a conclusion. This author's manuscript, on the other hand, was, the editor wrote, constructed like a symphony—meaning, one supposes, with movements, themes, and variations on themes. The author thought about the attribution, considered various responses, and then, somewhat flattered if truth be told, and recognizing that the hapless editor had no say in the matter anyway, wrote back that a symphony was just fine by him. The paper was published without alteration.

Rest assured, we do not intend—nor do we have the opportunity—to publish very many symphonies. For most articles, some version of the standard format is probably the clearest mode of communication, one that allows for considerable individual creativity. Rare, moreover, is the oral presentation that can successfully make the bridge to the written page; too gestural or too limited in scope and detail, most cannot stand on their own.

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