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Freud, S. (1939). The Fineness of Parapraxiz. Psychoanal. Rev., 26(2):153-154.

(1939). Psychoanalytic Review, 26(2):153-154

Original Articles

The Fineness of Parapraxiz

S. Freud

I plan a birthday gift for a friend, a small cameo that is going to be set into a ring. On: a firm card in the center of which the little, stone is fastened, I write: “Authorization to L. the watchmaker for a gold ring to be made—for attached stone upon which there is a ship with sail and oars.” At the place left blank between “to be made” and “for” there is a word that I then have to strike out as entirely superfluous, the small word “bis” (until). But why indeed did I write it at all?

In rereading the short note it occurs to me that it contains the preposition “for” twice in close sequence. “For a ring—for attached stone.” That sounds badly and should be avoided. Now I am under the impression that inserting the word “bis” in place of “for” may be a way of avoiding a stylistic awkwardness. That is certainly right. But a way with an exceptionally inadequate means. The preposition “bis” is entirely unsatisfactory here and cannot replace the absolutely necessary “for.” But why just “bis?”

But perhaps the word “bis” is not after all a time indicating preposition, but something entirely different. It is the latin “bis,”—a second time—that has been transmitted with the same meaning into the French. “Ne bis in idem” is a roman enjoinder. Bis, bis exclaim the French when requesting the repetition of a musical number. This then is the explanation of my nonsensical error. Before the second “for!” was cautioned not to repeat the same word.

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