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Kächele, H. Thomä, H. (2009). Archiving Psychoanalysis. Rom. J. Psychoanal., 2:143-153.

(2009). Romanian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 2:143-153

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Archiving Psychoanalysis

Horst Kächele and Helmut Thomä

Step 1: The Discovery of a Narrative Science

Freud's resignative statement the the „Studies on Hysteria(1895d) that his case reports lack the stern character of true scientific reports but read more like novellas could be made responsible for an unnecessary continental divide between science and hermeneutics.

Thus psychoanalysis became a field based on narration — hearsay evidence retreating to narrative truth (Forrester 1980; Spence 1982). To highlight the importance of this methodological decision, imagine a science of musicology with musicians sharing their most personal experiences by writing case histories, or by letting consumers tell their emotional involvements after a piano concerto. What is wrong about such an approach? It could well be that one could build a science of musical experience by collecting a large sample of these reported subjective testimonies. The German professors Grimm from Göttingen systematically started out to collect orally transmitted fairy tales. Today we have a well developed field of fairy tale research with highly sophisticated methods to analyze the large collections available all over the world (Propp 1928).

One might well take as an example S. Freud's case report on the Ratman (1909d) and look up Zetzel's ‘Additional notes’ from 1966:

‘It was my intention when I first undertook this study to base my discussion primarily on the 1909 report published in Freud's Collected papers. Fortunately, however, I decided to reread the case history in the Standard Edition.

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