Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To find an Author in a Video…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

To find an Author in a Video, go to the Search Section found on the top left side of the homepage. Then, select “All Video Streams” in the Source menu. Finally, write the name of the Author in the “Search for Words or Phrases in Context” area and click the Search button.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Jones, M.V. (1934). Revue Frančaise de Psychanalyse. Psychoanal. Rev., 21(1):86-97.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Revue Frančaise de Psychanalyse

(1934). Psychoanalytic Review, 21(1):86-97

Abstracts

Revue Frančaise de Psychanalyse

Margaret V. Jones

(Vol. 3, No. 1)

1.   E. Sokolnicka. Some Problems of Psychoanalytic Technique.

2.   R. De Saussure. Homosexual Fixations in Nervous Women.

3.   Ernest Jones. The Primary Development of Sexuality in Woman.

4.   A. Hesnard. The Psychoanalytic Mechanism of the Hypochondriacal Psychoneurosis (with reference to an observation).

5.   Geza Roheim. Racial Psychology and the Origins of Capitalism in the Primitives.

1.   E. Sokolnicka. Some Problems of Psychoanalytic Technique.—This was originally a report given at the fourth Conference of Psychoanalysts of the French language. The object of the paper is to sketch certain aspects of the two problems, (1) Disappearance of the libido, (2) Where it goes and how to find it again. The first problem is resumed by a brief outline of the normal development of the libido through the pre-latency and latency periods to puberty passing by the œdipus complex and its dissolution in the formation of the super-ego, and the abnormal libidinal development characterized by fixations and regressions. A clear distinction is made between perversion and neurosis, and before leaving this part of the subject, Madame Sokolnicka makes the observation that Freud's new conceptions of the etiology and constitution of the neurosis demand a radical revision of the idea of psychic illness. We all more or less present phenomena analogous to those presented by neurotics. The nature and force of the conflict alone decide whether or not one will be able to carry on without psychoanalytic aid. In covering the second problem, Madame Sokolnicka takes up separate and disconnected points which seem to her particularly important or not sufficiently illuminated in public works. (1) In a general way each neurotic has the following two traits: sentiment of inferiority, and erotic disequilibration. The latter characteristic, however, does not necessarily imply a neurosis; some perverts are able to sublimate successfully. (2) Troubles in sexual life are closely connected with troubles in working. A neurotic generally mixes his inability to love with his inability to work. (3) Analysis of character: Often symptoms play a secondary rôle; it is difficulties of character that bring the patient to the analyst. Thus it is not only solution of the symptoms which decide a cure, but modifications of the ego,

- 86 -

allowing a change of character. (4) Man has many psychic as well as biologic possibilities of development; the only difference being that the former retain their quality of unfolding longer than the latter, so that often a neurotic presents great fecundity of talent. In endeavor to produce psychic equilibrium, question is what to allow him, (5) Masturbation is a crossroads from which lead paths toward most multiple and diverse psycho-sexual troubles. It supports incestuous reveries, fear of castration and is the cause of sexual impotency, psychic as well as physical. All neurotic conflicts are grafted in some way upon it and if one wishes access to the libido that has disappeared one must never forget (that the road to it probably crosses through the masturbatory complex. Obsessions appear ordinarily following its repression, after a hard battle. Yet it is not the cause or the explication of all the fixations and regressions that it harbors. Closely connected with homosexuality. The perturbations in the evolution and dissolution of the œdipus complex are responsible for the prolongation of masturbation beyond the prelatency period. The greatest charm and greatest danger of this activity lies in its complete independence of any exterior object. The ego cannot support this flight from the responsibilities of reality, hence struggle. (6) Day dreams are another escape from reality. Great monotony of subject; seduction, parental coitus, castration. The ego will support them if they facilitate execution of tasks of reality but if they absorb too much of the libido, replacing real objects by imaginary ones, they are liable to threaten psychic equilibrium. They play an intermediary rôle in the formation of symptoms. (7) The aim and the end of analysis. Minimum program; disappearance of symptoms, more or less adaptation to social life, sometimes even the creation of a life impossible before the analysis. Maximum program; liberation as completely as possible of libido. Criteria; maximum capacity for loving and sublimation at same time. This signifies the destruction as completely as possible of the base of the symptoms and the conflicts which led to it. The exclusion of the recidivist. This maximum program is accessible to any analyst depending upon his skill and prowess. When an analysis is finished the œdipus should have been relived, developed to its height and resolved, all this by means of transfer. (8) Primordial scene, moment which produced the stop in the evolution of œdipus complex, seems to be also moment of penis envy development and castration complex, hence, latent homosexuality common to all neuroses. Henceforth homosexuality and masturbation dispute the repartition of quantities of libido distined for choice of object and suppressions. The primordial scene seems to be engendered by the fear of castration, and that, by the discovery of the paternal coitus and its consequence, the birth of children. (9) Respective positions of father and mother in family life and children's education, number and sex of children, place of child among others, all these play a big rôle in the evolution of infantile sexuality. (10) Self-punishment and its

- 87 -

psycho-somatic bearings—Sentiment of guilt and need for punishment are at the base of nearly all symptoms. Tendency of patient to blame his body. Danger of analyzing this sentiment of guilt too soon. In the beginning it can be interpreted as sentiment of inferiority. This sentiment of inferiority, Madame Sokolnicka says directs her activity. She tries never to injure it and if the patient pulls back, because of anguish, or following a lack of assurance in his own powers before an act that he has already been able to do, she interferes actively. She never uses the word resistance unless she knows pretty well the source of the resistance. On the other hand, if the resistance seems to be carving out a road across the unconscious, she remains passive.

In conclusion, she remarks that Freud's studies on the structure of the ego have brought to light the activity of the super-ego and the mechanism of self-punishment; the problem now is to discover just how much psychic influence they have on troubles reputed to be organic.

2.   R. De Saussure. Homosexual Fixations in Women.—Originally a report given at the Fourth Conference of Psychoanalysts of the French language. Quoting from authorities, Saussure gives various conceptions of inversion and concludes that the two problems which one encounters in the study of this phenomena, revolt against one's own sex and fixation on the other sex, apply equally as well to feminine as to masculine homosexuality. He cites cases from Ferenczi, Abraham, Hans Wach showing a manifest feminine aggressiveness toward the male and the active desire in some women to be men due to the little girl's idea of her own castration joined to sadism of the anal phase. This penis envy, he quotes K. Homey as saying, arises also from jealousy because of the little boy's onanistic and exhibitionistic advantages (biologically an organ more accessible for both activities). He notes her assertion that the assumption of femininity is more hindered than helped by the dissolution of the OEdipus complex, and her view that penis envy is in part object (father) love. Paul Bousfield, he continues, finds in women with castration complex (1) conflict between narcissism and the fear of castration, (2) conflict between exhibitionism and castration. Next he gives Helene Deutsch's analysis of positive side of feminine psychology. There are two important moments in sexual evolution of women: (1) Renouncing of clitoris as equivalent of penis, (2) Discovery of a new genital organ and the passage from the phallic to the vaginal phase. On choice of the feminine object there has little been written. He mentions a case of Freud and one of Sadger and concludes with the following personal beliefs: The processes which lead to homosexual fixations are numerous and all the ideas cited above are true for this or that patient but they are not all true for the same patient. The mechanism of projection is very active; the person may project either masculinity or femininity on the love object. The homosexual fixation is more a dilution of narcissism

- 88 -

than an object love. Following the period of reactivation of the œdipus complex, there is an unconscious ambivalence in regard to the parents and a phase of hermaphroditic narcissism. The object then is a mirror which is invested with masculine or feminine narcissism according to the type of woman before it. Before homosexual fixation is a protection from the œdipus complex, as is often claimed, it is an attempt to escape from the œdipus desires; but as this also encounters super-ego opposition, the result is a regression to anal stage with semi-abandon of homosexual fixations and active and passive sadistic fantasies vis a vis the œdipus object. The homosexual fixations differ according to number and sex of other children. He next proceeds to a clinical case.

Yvonne, thirty-one years old, daughter of an Italian-Swiss intellectual and a Swedish mother, both parents and five other children psychopathic. The history of the patient herself full of illness; mastoid at five, periods of fatigue at ten and twelve years, sejours in various clinics, fits of despondency. When doctor first saw her she was obsessed with idea she must think of sexual organs and look at the feet of every man she met (except the homely and feminine ones who disgusted her). She had also the following phobias: could not come near a man, and felt sick when she saw a woman decollete or simply with arms bare (equivalent breasts-penis). She could not walk beside a man without immediately being so tired she needs must go home and rest. She hated and feared and scorned her father. Sexually she felt like a man to the point it seemed strange she could not enter a house of prostitution for satisfaction. Greatest obsession; she could buy nothing for herself, especially clothes. She passed days looking but never came to any decision. The castration complex was manifested in a fear and disgust of her own organs. She felt inadequate and hated to look at herself. She, even at age of five when a nurse had taken her temperature by vagina, thought herself abnormal sexually. Her periods had revived this complex. For two or three years she had not been able to walk during menstruation. If she looked at a man she had cramps. She was always uncomfortable and hated to have people look at her, blushed and expected to lose her hair. She hated the thought of losing blood and would sometimes defer going to the bathroom to avoid it. (A dream and a remark of Yvonne's proved to the author that women suffer a secondary castration complex which is exactly superposable to that of man.) In her dreams and imagination she was always man in sexual representations. She always felt capable of going up and taking a man's organs out of his trousers. At age of ten she had habit of making a younger brother exhibit himself and although she had a horror of touching his penis she always made gestures to do so. This ambivalence of feeling toward the penis, she had also in regard to her father—at age of seven, a brother was born but instead of being jealous of her mother, she was jealous of father and wanted to be the father of the baby, married to mother—and toward

- 89 -

mother. She wished to identify herself with her mother but this meant accepting her femininity, hence she refused it. This ambivalence toward her parents gave her extremely diverse attitudes toward women in general; she hated them, she was afraid of them, and in her dreams, individually, she loved a few. Money given her by her brother and father meant masculine virility and, inasmuch as it was given to buy feminine clothes, meant exchanging masculinity for femininity—hence her difficulty in buying clothes. Money-penis-feces equivalence showed anal regression (souvenirs awakened of desire to have father enter by anus. She masturbated by anus. Bowel movements of great value to her. Her dreams showed an anal theory of birth and coitus).

In conclusion: At the base of homosexual fixations there is always a strong bisexuality which arrives because woman has not been able to accept her femininity. The desire for masculinity is very strong and the little girl instead of desiring a baby by her father, identifies herself with the latter, and hopes to give the baby to her mother. Then, she either projects her femininity onto her mother or mother substitutes, becomes excessively narcissistic and sees herself mirrored in other narcissistic women, or refuses men but gives herself to women who have made men suffer. Saussure has never in his personal experience met a woman (except lesbiennes who have realized their homosexuality) whose attachment to another woman was because the latter stood for man. This, he thinks, because of heterosexual as well as homosexual fixations due to ambivalence.

3.   Ernest Jones. The Primary Development of Sexuality in Woman. Published in English. Int. JI. of Psycho-An., Vol. VIII, Pt. 4.

4.   A. Hesnard. The Psychoanalytic Mechanism of the Hypochondriacal Psychoneurosis (with reference to an observation).—After giving the following outline of hypochondriacal states,

Hypochondriacal states in the neurosis Hypochandriacal anguish of the uneasy
  Hypochandriacal obsessions (Psychasthenia of Janet)
  For psychoanalysts; Special neurosis to be classed among the actual neuroses
Hypochondriacal states in the psychosis Depressive states (periodic or chronic)
  Chronic delusions, states more or less systematic
  Delirious fits (especially of weakness)
  Schizophrenia
  Mental aberrations principally at their debut

Hesnard reports a case which he thinks shows in a striking way the psychoanalytic mechanism of the hypochondriacal state considered as “actual neurosis.” André was a student of seventeen, who, at the moment his father consulted Mousieur Hesnard, was about to be interned

- 90 -

because of (diagnosis of another doctor) madness in its first stages. He appeared aggressive and was becoming dangerous; he had slapped his sister, threatened to commit suicide and had twice run away. His parents were fine stalwart people, religious and rigidly moral. He, the second child of many normal children, his mother, after a laborious pregnancy, had spoiled. Physically he appeared tall, extremely thin, face haggard, air discouraged and unhappy. His general state was bad, objectively, hypotonic dyspepsia, lazy digestion, stomachic fermentations, intense flatulence, heart palpitation, constipation, capricious appetite augmented by terrific self-imposed diets. His conduct at home was bizarre. He would seclude himself, again would engage in strenuous exercises from which, of course, he was soon exhausted. He would then lie on the floor, insisting he was lost and about to die. If anyone pitied him he shrugged his shoulders, burst out crying and insulted his interlocutor; if they tried to encourage him, he left. irritated and if they scolded him he became violent and threatening. He affected an indifference toward his father and brother and hated his mother; one sister he liked. André was vain, had an enormous adolescent conceit and the fixed idea his condition was incurable. The first séances were difficult. He was skeptic and scoffing and only stayed a few minutes. Finally, one day after several short talks on masturbatory activities, he confessed that he had always masturbated, moderately, then excessively until the preceding years when he attended a Catholic college. There, a new confessor, probably thinking this indifferent skeptic was not paying sufficient attention to his prohibitions, threatened him, predicting complete physical weakness, loss of blood, etc., and calling upon God to punish the offender. Despite his conscious superiority, André was scared. He suppressed not only the masturbatory activity, but all sexual life, all sensual thought, depriving himself of comforts, avoiding any free or gay conversation. From then—his present physical state, and instead of pleasurable feelings in the region of his genital organs he had a constant painful impression which radiated from his penis and testicles to the anus and mounted on the wall of the stomach to above the pubic bone as far as the umbilicus. Analysis found anterior to this violent suppression a precocious curiosity about sexual matters. At the age of five or six he had discovered his favorite sister's (to him) castration and this had engendered a desire to be like her, castrated. A little time before, upon seeing his older brother's genital organs and comparing the size of his own, he had felt ashamed, feeble and inferior. Still further back, his weaning process had been late and difficult. He learned to be the preferred one. Later the necessary sharing of the mother caused identification with her and denial of virility. Then the adolescent struggle instigated by words of the confessor had caused an abnormal repression, exercising itself in the sense of his natural aptitude for “divirilization” and forbidding any conscious

- 91 -

erotic sensation in the genital regions. Instead, all exaltation was transferred onto the other regions of the body rendering them particularly painful and subjectively appreciated only as hypochondriacal anguish. After four months, André was better, his bizarre reactions disappeared, his attitude toward his family modified and his anguish diminished. Then his family left for the mountains. Several months later, André returned cured, mentally and physically.

5.   Géza Róheim. Racial Psychology and the Origins of Capitalism in the Primitives.—No science has done more than psychoanalysis to show the fundamental unity of humanity. The analysis of myths, dreams and customs of different localities has shown in each instance the same affective mechanisms of œdipus complex and sublimation-Exs: German myth of Wotan, savage father hunter in eternal chase after forest mother. Customs of one Australian tribe show an exaggeration of tabu, sublimation, and the customs of another, accomplishment of desire, return of repressed material—and in the analysis of every patient, regardless of nationality, have been found the same libidinal factors and infantile situations. The difference then which makes for individuality is seen to reside in the quantitative relations of libido and choice of certain types of defense mechanism. This can be seen in a study of the Hindus. The ijmportant side of their psychology is the fear of castration (death) as represented to them in the loss of seminal liquid. The tortures ensuing from this fear are so overwhelming that in self-defense the Hindu allows them to come to consciousness and suffers them in phantasy form. He withdraws the libido from his genitals and, refusing any reality function to his organs, completely genitalizes his whole body seeking, in contemplation, union with the Infinite (another word for Libido). Thus one of the great racial differences between the East and West, known generally as mysticism and materialism, can be interpreted merely as distribution of libido, narcissistic in the first case and objective in the second.

This distribution of libido is also responsible for all human progress, and the stages found in ontogenetic libido development are also found in the history of the race. Primitive society with its optimistic and confident attitude toward life, its, one might almost say, cult of nourishment (importance food plays in feasts and ceremonies and stress laid on function of eating) can be called oral; and modern capitalistic society with the importance laid on the accumulation of money and goods, class hatred, and preoccupation with hygiene can be called anal. As the excrements are in a certain sense the organic accumulation of food, it is easy to understand how their substitutes came to acquire such an important part in social life, and if we look at the primitive forms of capitalistic society in South East Australia, La Malaisie, etc., we see, as it were, the transition in the process. Instead of a progression from oral to anal level as one would expect, however, we find a regression from genital to anal

- 92 -

phase (due to fear of castration—acceptance of anal to avoid genital castration). Progress as interpreted by history and psychoanalysis is not the same thing.

(Vol. 3, No. 2)

1.   R. Allendy. A Case of Obsession; Fear of Hell.

2.   Ernest Jones. Jealousy.

3.   A. Hesnard. New Reflexions on the Psychology of Pierre Janet.

4.   Dr. Louis Jekels (of Vienna). The Decisive Turning Point in the Life of Napoleon.

5.   Jean Frois-Wittman. Psychoanalytic Considerations on Modern Art.

1.   R. Allendy. A Case of Obsession; Fear of Hell.—This is the case of a very ordinary obsession and was not thoroughly analyzed, but the structure is very clear and M. Allendy thinks furnishes a presentable observation. Mile. M., a girl of twenty-seven, had a great fear of hell which commenced when she was about ten or twelve on the occasion of bi-monthly confessions. She had had a strict religious upbringing and during all her adolescence and early youth had suffered from the fear of this place of punishment. Although she no longer went to church and even doubted the existence of Inferno, she still felt uneasy. She was timid and emotional and came to the analyse complaining of insomnia, palpitation and other nervous troubles. Her father had a difficult disposition; he made violent scenes and to escape his frenzy, she and her little brother as children had often to run under the table. The mother was kind and devoted. Analyses showed this fear of hell to be an anxiety, resulting from a fear of sexuality and a desire for it. It answered also to a wish for punishment due to an early father fixation and hostile feeling toward the mother, jealousy of brother, masturbatory activities and infantile sex play with boy cousin who lived with them and to whom she, as a small child, had been devoted. The fear of sexuality itself was attached to sadistic images (remembrance of a hard beating by her mother at age of five which her cousin had helped to give had caused sexualization of corporal punishment; at age of three an abortion of her mother's had given her sadistic conception of sexuality), and to a refusal of femininity (homosexual fixation, desire to be a man; fear of an affective painful experience, remembering the unhappy early attachment to cruel father). Finally, the refusal to be a woman was attached to the desire to dominate and possess (possessive regression of libido following difficulties of weaning). As it had seemed impossible to successfully wean her at home, she had been sent to her grandmother's (this first deception which she, as infant, attributed to her father corresponds to the fear that God would throw her into Hell). Until the patient was able to understand the significance weaning had played and

- 93 -

was able to accept the psychoanalytic weaning, the obsession did not entirely disappear.

The patient is now well, working, married, having normal sex life and no obsessions.

2.   Ernest Jones. Jealousy. Obtainable in Int. Jl. Psa.

3.   A. Hesnard. New Reflexions on the Psychology of Pierre Janet.— In a preceding number of Rev. Fr. de Psych., the first volume of Pierre Janet's “De l'Angloisse a l'Extase,” consecrated to the Psychology of Human Conduct, was discussed. This article considers Tome 11 which is concerned with beliefs and sentiments and is based on a great quantity of clinical facts admirably observed of manic-depressives, epileptics, psychasthenics, etc. The Janetienne conception of human conduct extended to all the phenomena of psychologic life and of life in general is new and marks a great progress in the sciences of the mind. It completes and realizes even in the plan of concrete psychology the psychophysiologic views of Ribot (which presents the morbid sentiments as the translation of certain stays, embarrassments and primary automatisms of thought), and happily applies to clinical facts the theoretic notions derived from the Élan vital of Bergson. It accords a more important place to psychoanalytic conceptions than the other works of the same author. Not only has he explicitly made a case of the theory of repression, the notion of abreaction of the emotions; not only are the Bleulerian concepts (neighbors of the Freudian concepts) of autism, of ambivalence, of introversion, of the schizophrenic state clearly exposed, but also he has frequently alluded (talking of primary tendencies) to the sexual need— compared to need for nourishment—to certain sexual conduct; finally to certain primitive instincts as “vital instinct” (in which one recognizes the Freudian instinct of life), and a certain instinct of conservation and development of personality which results in man loving himself and which resembles the personal instinct of Adler and consequently Freudian narcissism. Among the deficiencies are: (1) He does not recognize affective infantile psychology. (2) He does not recognize psychoanalytic law that all symptoms of a neurosis have a meaning. (3) The absence of all psychology of sexual perversion. Three particular points contain explicit criticism of psychoanalysis: (1) Repression is accepted by him only as flight from action and he does not consider it necessary to limit it to sexual acts only. (2) The Freudian theory of anxiety is once more presented in its primitive form of anxiety, “frustrated genetic irritation.” It is necessary, says Pierre Janet, to enlarge that conception by saying that anxiety accompanies any reaction of restraint concerning any action whatever. (3) The sexual conception of mystic introversion is rejected by Pierre Janet under the pretext that the sexual preoccupations of ecstasy are of a metaphoric order and not real. Hesnard says that Janet in discussing this question makes him think of the clinician who did not wish

- 94 -

to admit that gastralgia was an affliction of the stomach; “See these hyperacidities and pains,” he said. “There is nothing in the digestion of normal people as revealed to us by physiology which resembles them. They are, therefore, phenomena added to the functions of the stomach.”

For psychoanalysts the book is valuable for its precision of points of view admitted by Freud for other reasons: psychic dynamism, principle of economy of forces, quantitative conception of affectivity, abreaction and relaxing of the tendencies; and at the same time in showing them the extreme importance of the patient and minute description of classic symptoms, that certain ones among the young have some trouble observing thoroughly in their great anxiety for sexual interpretation. In the main the psychologic dynamism of Freud and of Pierre Janet do not differ by any general essential notion. It seems even that the author of the Psychology of Conduct admits implicitly the rôle of primary sexual tendencies in a neurosis, and especially of their conflict with the ethical and moral personality of the individual. The proof of this we find in the conclusion of the observation of his patient Madelaine. “The religious sentiments have a narrow relation with the social tendencies, with the diverse forms of love and perhaps even with the sexual tendencies. Madelaine, whose psychologic feebleness rendered her incapable of equilibrating her sexual or maternal tendencies with her moral ideas, gave them a particular issue in a religious delirium.” Could Freud himself have said this better?

4.   Dr. Louis Jekels (de Vienne). The Decisive Turning Point in the Life of Napoleon. Abstracted from “Imago,” Vol. Ill, No. 4, in THE PSYCHOANALYTIC REVIEW, Vol. VII, p. 278.

5.   Jean Frois-Wittman. Psychoanalytic Considerations on Modern Art.—The aim of this article is to solve by means of psychoanalysis the old conflict between the artist and the public, which just now is going through a decisive phase. Rank, Sydow, and Pfister have already treated this question but their conclusions are only theoretical and, this author hopes to show, not definite. He feels a work should not be judged after the symptoms and tendencies it exhibits, but only after the purity of its relation to nature and the aim of artistic creation, such as analytical research has shown it to be. He hopes to show that the traditional artist is not more normal than the modern and that the latter's depiction of nature is as legitimate as the former's. The history of modern art is a long and rapid series of innovations, dating from the romantic revolt. Delacroix, who rid composition of its narrow rules; the impressionists who inaugurated subjectivism by giving the passing impression, nature as it is seen, instead of the static copy of nature as it is; Cezanne with whom composition passed to first place and who originated distortion;. Matisse who originated expressionism and let the sentiment of the object be expressed without intellectual direction or visual exactitude, are some of the milestones. The character of this evolution can be easily traced

- 95 -

by looking at poetry. The Dada movement against intellectual values gave the poets a new liberty in respect to beauty, i.e., that one can deny or affirm it according to fantasy; and the anti-intellectual movement which denounced the artificiality of intellect and maintained that the desire for intelligibility (to which corresponds the realist description) acted as a censor of associations and deprived a work of many poetical qualities of the unconscious, made possible the doctrine of the image in modern poetry. It was realized that the emotional knowledge of a subject made one feel it more than a realistic description and the integral use of the image and the unconscious for a transmutation of the elements of reality was made. The image, it naturally follows, resembles the material of the dream and like it proceeds by condensation and displacement. The establishment of identity is made by the irruption of the unconscious and by a mobilization of associations which are personal and not logical, unconscious and masked and seemingly absurd, novel and surprising. The absurd, the new and the surprising are then allied to the image as means and guaranties of creation and from them comes the marked taste of the modern artists for the hazardous, the marvelous and the unexpected.

The appreciation of this modern art necessitates a profound change of attitude. According to Freud, the pleasure coming from the manifest content of a work, appreciation of parts, is an “avant-plaisir,” and the final pleasure coming from a relaxing of tensions (economy of inhibitions) and from the emersion of instincts and dreams which results, constitutes the essential pleasure. In traditional art there must be then a conflict between the final and the first pleasures since the instincts signify disorder, and the technique of beauty, logical order, harmony, equilibrium. In modern art, however, where the unconscious reigns everywhere as master and the first pleasure allows surprise, absurdity, and the establishment of relations which satisfy the instincts of curiosity, of revolt and omnipotence, there is a certain unification of these two sorts of pleasure; and it would seem from the point of view of esthetic experience generally, that the modern works have a greater value of purity. The spectator must not search to consciously find the intention of the artist but be satisfied to lose that part of his first pleasure and allow the work to be a stimulus for the dream and emotion, cultivating more suppleness in the liberation of his own associations.

In the next section the author discusses in what measure interpretation of reality by the unconscious, as system limited to principle of pleasure, can be justified. The proof of reality, he says, is rarely made by the ego alone, but more often by the super-ego, which is influenced by repression. From which it follows that the methods of the unconscious even if they do deform reality are as valuable as the methods of the ego for the super-ego is very irrational in its roots and implies as much distortion of reality with less justification. There are different levels of adaptation to reality, different of nature although relating to the same

- 96 -

reality, each valuable in its proper limits. The ego and the id coexist in man and the two modes of response will be legitimate as long as the two principles of pleasure and reality continue to function.

He next refutes the Pfister contention that the expressionist is a pure narcissist. It is the fact of his production and not its contents which should be compared to a neurosis. Besides, if an analysis should adapt him to reality there is no reason for thinking this adaptation would be represented in his work; and furthermore, his ability to produce shows his libido is not completely attached to either symptoms or ego. To the assertion that the expressionistic designs satisfy symbolically unconscious fictions, he says, “so do all works of art,” and to the criticism that the fictions are too directly represented, not sufficiently sublimated, he answers that by definition every artist is sublimating. Expressionists, it is said, expose their paltry sufferings and purely subjective sentiments. But aren't the hate of the father, impotency before the demands of reality, desire to return to omnipotence of intrauterine life, when called by the names of œdipus complex and primary narcissism, the tournaments of all humanity?

In the postulates of classicism one recognized protective measures against the impulsive and subjective, a powerful super-ego, reactions of defense against erotic anal fixation. Besides, their dogmatic character approaches some religious and social dogmas which, not having spontaneous manifestations but compromises between repressed and repressing ideas, are related to the compulsive thought. Against the symptoms of depression, exhibitionism and narcissism attributed to modernism then, we can oppose the above clinical picture, and conclude that the classic artist is as near a neurosis as the romantic and his symptoms are neither more nor less favorable to the production of the work.

Finally, Wittman concludes that nothing in his study has justified from a psychoanalytic point of view the demands (realistic description) nor its opposition to the modern artist. The artist is exonerated of all blame; the public alone is responsible for its incomprehension. The infantile unconscious of some of the painters, their frequent overesteem of the erotic zones, their reversion to anal erotic fixations, etc., scare and terrorize the repressed bourgeois, and the resolution of the conflict lies in the dissolution of his resistances and the destruction of the super-ego values. The public has been asked to tolerate the expression of the unconscious which does not obey the reality principle; they should now be asked to adapt themselves to the manifestations of the instincts everywhere the application of the reality principle is not indispensable.

- 97 -

Article Citation [Who Cited This?]

Jones, M.V. (1934). Revue Frančaise de Psychanalyse. Psychoanal. Rev., 21(1):86-97

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.