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Prince, R. (2019). The View from Buda Hill. Psychoanal. Perspect., 16(2):216-221.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 16(2):216-221

Book Review

The View from Buda Hill

Robert Prince, PhD, ABPP

A review of The Budapest School of Psychoanalysis: The Origin of a Two-Person Psychology and Emphatic Perspective, ed. Arnold Wm.Rachman (2016), Routledge, London, UK, 234 pages.

Arnold Rachman has devoted himself to rescuing, defending, celebrating, and advancing the contributions of Sándor Ferenczi. In this collection, he assembles original articles from leading Ferenczi scholars that reflect the wide influence of Ferenczi’s seminal contributions. By titling this collection The Budapest School of Psychoanalysis, he is both inviting the reader to consider the contributions of the Hungarians and widening Ferenczi’s legacy. Implicitly, Rachman is making the assertion that the ideas that flowed from Ferenczi’s surround were a function of his influence and should be instantiated as a distinctive school. Implied in the concept of establishing a “Budapest School” is both the assertion of the sui generis nature of the Hungarian contributions to psychoanalysis and a contrast to other European centers of psychoanalytic thought. The title is subversive because it emphasizes the political process of psychoanalysis as it first opposed and then incorporated the revolutionary path charted by Ferenczi. The Budapest school constitutes a school insofar as it emphasizes certain foundational concepts. Paradoxically, Ferenczi represented and modeled a radical individualism subversive to the very idea of schools or established movements. Ferenczi, himself a victim of a psychoanalytic inquisition and isolated as a dissident, would never have lent himself to anything resembling a closed system of thought. Thus, the term “Budapest school” is deeply ironic. If anything, it represents radical independence as a condition of admission.


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