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Strachey, J. (1962). The Term ‘Angst’ and its English Translation. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume III (1893-1899): Early Psycho-Analytic Publications, 116-117.

Strachey, J. (1962). [SEC116a1]The Term ‘Angst’ and its English Translation. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume III (1893-1899): Early Psycho-Analytic Publications, 116-117

[SEC116a1]The Term ‘Angst’ and its English Translation Book Information Previous Up Next

James Strachey

[SEC116a2]Appendix

[SEC116a3]The Term ‘Angst’ and its English Translation

[SEC116a4]There are at least three passages in which Freud discusses the various shades of meaning expressed by the German word ‘Angst’ and the cognate ‘Furcht’ and ‘Schreck’. Though he stresses the anticipatory element and absence of anbject in ‘Angst’, the distinctions he draws are not entirely convincing, and his actual usage is far from invariably obeying them. And this is scarcely surprising, since ‘Angst’ is a word in common use in ordinary German speech and by no means exclusively a technical psychiatric term. It may on occasion be translated by any one of half a dozen similarly common English words—‘fear’, ‘fright’, ‘alarm’ and so on—and it is therefore quite unpractical to fix on some single English term as its sole translation. Nevertheless ‘Angst’ does often appear as a psychiatric term (particularly in such combinations as ‘Angstneurose’ or ‘Angstanfall’) and for such occasions an English technical equivalent seems to be called for. The word universally, and perhaps unfortunately, adopted for the purpose has been ‘anxiety’—unfortunately, since ‘anxiety’ too hasa current everyday meaning, and one which has only a rather remote connection with any ofthe uses of the German ‘Angst’. There is, however, a well-established psychiatric, or at least medical, use of the English ‘anxiety’, going back (so the Oxford Dictionary tells us) to the middle of the seventeenth century.

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