1st Edition

'Occultism and the Origins of Psychoanalysis' and 'Sigmund Freud and The Forsyth Case' (2 Volume Set)

    582 Pages
    by Routledge

    Sigmund Freud and The Forsyth Case uses newly discovered primary sources to investigate one of Sigmund Freud’s most mysterious clinical experiences, the Forsyth case. Maria Pierri begins with a preliminary illustration of the case, its historical context, and how it connects to Freud’s interests in ‘thought-transmission’, or telepathy. Sigmund Freud and The Forsyth Case details Pierri’s attempts to recover the lost original case notes, which are published here for the first time, to identify the patient involved and to set the case into the broader frame of Freud’s work. The book also explores Freud’s further investigations into thought-transmission, focusing around a meeting of the Secret Committee in October 1919 and his clinical work with his own daughter Anna.

    Occultism and the Origins of Psychoanalysis traces the origins of key psychoanalytic ideas back to their roots in hypnosis and the occult. Maria Pierri follows Sigmund Freud’s early interest in ‘thought transmission’, now known as telepathy. Freud’s private investigations led to discussions with other leading figures, including Sandor Ferenczi, with whom he held a ‘dialogue of the unconsciouses’, and Carl Jung. Freud and Ferenczi’s work assessed how fortune tellers could read the past from a client, inspiring their investigations into countertransference, the analytic relationship, unconscious communication and mother-infant relationality. Pierri clearly links modern psychoanalytic practice with Freud’s interests in the occult using primary sources, some of which have never before been published in English.

    These books will be essential reading for psychoanalysts in practice and in training, as well as academics and scholars of psychoanalytic studies, Freudian ideas, psychoanalytic theory, the occult, spirituality and the history of psychology.

    Volume 1.

    Introduction by Stefano Bolognini

    Prologue: A result of character: the cocaine, this magical substance

    1. Vienna, Porta Orientis of the Unconscious

    The force of suggestion: the "wonderful somnambulists"


    Vienna, laboratory of modernity

    2. The Young Freud

    A passionate young researcher into Nature

    First love

    Martha and Bertha: the languages of passion

    3. The Lesson of Jean Martin Charcot

    At the Salpêtrière

    The apparatus of language

    The magic of words

    4. The lesson of Josef Breuer and the "descent to the Mothers"

    Studies on Hysteria

    A difficult separation: not all debts can be paid

    A foundation myth: a false pregnancy and a cure with a defect.

    5. Sigmund Freud’s lesson

    The discovery of a false connection

    Irma’s throat and the feminine at the origin of psychoanalysis.

    Dream as desire

    6. Fliess and the invention of psychoanalysis

    A secret correspondence

    My Friend in Berlin

    Freud’s heart trouble

    7. The discovery of infantile sexuality

    Self-analysis and the writing cure

    Cherchez la femme: the case of Emma Eckstein

    8. Original thought requires a rupture

    The "reader of thoughts"

    The accusation of plagiarism

    A future in the image of the past: predestination and superstition

    9. Occultism made in the U.S.A.


    Medium, Media and "Mental telegraphy"

    First hypotheses about the unconscious

    10 Jung, spiritualism and countertransference: the world of the dead

    Jung, Poltergeist phenomena and séances

    The arrival at Burghölzli

    First visit to Vienna

    Easter 1909: Jung’s spiritual complex and Sabina

    The dangerous fascination of the "beautiful Jewess"

    11. Ferenczi, the unclassifiable

    The sultan and his "clairvoyant"

    A psychoanalyst ‘of a restless mind’

    Ferenczi and the hidden treasure of Spiritualism

    The encounter with Freud: a postponed transferential appointment

    12. A Journey to America

    Three men and an eventful, mutually analytic crossing: the outward journey…

    … and back again

    13. The Danaan Gift

    The clairvoyant who reads Ferenczi’s mind

    The patient who reads Ferenczi’s mind

    The Palermo incident, or the interpretation of paranoia

    The psychic work of the clairvoyant: two unfulfilled prophecies

    14. An Epistolary Novel

    Ferenczi and incestuous countertransferential storms. From mother to daughter

    What is still missing is the fatherly blessing. Fatefulness and Oedipal coincidences

    Elma Pàlos, fragment of the analysis of a seduction

    The open wound in Ferenczi’s heart, a source of creativity

    15. The Saturday goy: getting to know Dr Jones

    The Welsh liar

    Difficult beginnings

    Freud’s first pupil from Britain

    Dr Jones’s stethoscope: rationalization and censorship of excess countertransference

    A prescribed training analysis in Budapest

    16. The Intergenerational Transmission of Psychoanalysis

    Love and Death: the three women of the three pupils

    "If you go to women, don't forget the whip"

    At school with Freud: the transmission of psychoanalysis

    17. The secret Committee

    The transformations and the desertion of Jung

    A missed meeting: the "Kreuzlingen gesture"

    The Committee: the Männerbund and the defence of the "Cause" (Die Sache)

    Totem and taboo: unconscious intelligence and intergenerational transmission of thought

    18. The Year before the War

    The last congress with Jung

    A black tide of Occultism

    The question of telepathy

    The Dialogues of the Unconscious

    Epilogue: Epilogue: A fortune-teller visits Freud in Berggasse



    Volume 2.

    Prologue: Telepathy, superstitions and mushrooms

    1. Coincidences of the psychoanalytic setting: a strange home visit

    M. de Fortgibu and his plum pudding

    The maternal in the circumstances of the setting: the psychoanalytic clock.

    "All things are chained, knotted, in love..."

    Coincidences in analysis

    Notable examples: From Carl G. Jung; Eugenio Gaddini; José Bleger; Joyce McDougall

    Telepathy, an enlightening mistake.

    Freud and the "Forsyth case"

    2. Forsyth arrives in Vienna to undertake a seven-week analysis with Prof Freud

    The Decline of the West

    Introduction to Psycho-Analysis: the first twenty-eight Lectures

    Hunger in Vienna

    Parcels from England

    A passage to Austria

    A moment of forgetfulness by Freud

    3. Herr P. ends his analysis with Prof. Freud in a rather extraordinary way

    New introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis

    The "Forsyth case"

    Solve et coagula

    The Postscript of a Preface

    4. The Duellists

    Meeting in Zurich

    The duellists

    The first training analysis in Budapest

    Forsyth, the pediatrician "once a friend of mine."

    5. Nachträglichkeit: Following the traces of a long deferral

    Freud becomes a heretic: the debate about the "transmission of thought" within the Committee

    A mistake by Freud

    The memorable Harzreise

    1921, an essay in two halves: Vorbericht-Preface, Nachtrag-Postscript

    1922, Dreams and Telepathy

    Perplexities, second thoughts and experiments with Ferenczi and Anna

    1925, section C: "The Occult Significance of Dreams"

    Still playing for time

    1933, Lecture XXX, "Dream and Occultism"

    The gold coin

    6. The disappeared-occulted manuscript

    The posthumous publication of the Vorbericht (1921) in "Psychoanalysis and Telepathy" (1941) and the disappearance of the Nachtrag

    Hide and seek

    Back to Freud's secret text: found in translation

    7. Sigmund Freud: Postscript (1921)

    8. Manuscript details, slips and errors

    Conditions and details

    Freud’s "errors" and the occulted "dritte Fall"

    Nachträglichkeit and reconstructions

    9. During the great war


    A coming-of-age prematurely interrupted

    Freud’s forced inactivity: the Metapsychology and the Introductory Lectures

    Impotence and death anxiety. Towards the uncanny defeat

    Ernest Jones’s war

    Ferenczi's kisses

    10. Coincidences in Vienna: a week of fireworks in autumn 1919

    The new orientation towards the West

    The heart towards the Est

    11. The strange case of Dr. Forsyth and Mr. Vorsicht: the build-up

    The "secret language"

    The Man of Property

    Staging: the Preconscious at work


    The Fortsein game: The troublesome individual and a first repression; The missed appointment; The coincidence of the "neighbours"; The joke of the "home visit"; An ambivalent gift

    12. The strange case of Dr. Forsyth and Mr. Vorsicht: the session

    Vorsicht, Forsyth, Forsyte

    The visiting card

    The Freud-Freund slip

    The Nightmare and Jones monograph on the "Alptraum"

    The faulty translations

    13. That Forsyte woman

    Return to the mothers – Telepathy, "distant proximity"

    Don Giovanni: Zitto, mi pare sentire odor di femmina....

    14. Retrospective: the lost scene

    Caritas Romana: "This is the place, this is the source"

    A destiny and a choice made long ago

    "Little Freud": a child is being conceived

    Me too!

    15. A hereditary transmission

    A daughter is being analysed

    Lou Andreas Salomé: a mother-sister

    Thought-transmission? A pair of twin papers: The father’s text; The daughter’s text


    "Not to be there": the process of separation and the game of Fortsein

    Anna, Antigone

    16. 1932 "Dreams and Occultism" and the Confusion of tongues

    17. "Herr Vorsicht", alias Paul Bernfeld

    "The eldest of a family of eight or nine children"

    The firm of Paul Bernfeld and Heinrich Rosenberg, B & R: jokes and repetitions by the preconscious

    18 A secret in the "Premise": about the substitute of the Third Case

    19. Dr. David Forsyth leaves the scene and the story. Circumstances of the birth of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis

    Seven Weeks in Vienna

    The Forsyth affaire

    Forsyth leaves the scene

    20. The Freud’s final orientation towards the West: from Vienna to London

    "Fortsein": Professor Freud is has "gone" away

    Fort-Da. The return: story of a Cap

    21. The importance of being Ernest Jones. The cycle closes

    Transmission of the tradition and "crypts"

    Free associations: memories of a psycho-analyst

    Epilogue: A debt to pay



    Maria Pierri is a Psychiatrist and Child Neuropsychiatrist, formerly Researcher and Adjunct Professor at the Psychiatric Clinic, Medical School, University of Padua. She is a training analyst of the Italian Psychoanalytical Society and International Psychoanalytical Association and member of the Editorial Board of the Rivista di Psicoanalisi.

    Volume 1.

    "This book gives back to contemporary psychoanalysis the pleasure of exploring really little-known territories, fascinatingly restoring the connection between the past, present and "elsewhere" of communications between human beings, using the Freudian experience as its starting point, in order to reconsider in a reflective way the less visible, sometimes disorienting and mysterious levels of psychoanalytic practice. offers us an especially valuable reflection on the mysterious communicating paths which put individual and group unconsciouses in contact with each other, often bypassing in an apparently disconcerting manner the border controls." - Stefano Bolognini, past President of the IPA and the Italian Psychoanalytic Society

    "Following the thread of thought-transference, Maria Pierri goes through the events of the Freudian endeavour starting from its roots in hypnosis and occultism, through the dialogue with the masters, the pupils and the great female patients, the leading actresses of the cure. In his disquieting curiosity for telepathy, which he shared intimately with Ferenczi, Freud discovers that fortune-tellers, who do not know the future, can read the unconscious of their clients. But the "golden coin" of occultism, the generative mother-child communication, will be the great discovery of Ferenczi." - Luis J. Martin Cabré, Training analyst, past President Madrid Psychoanalytical Association.

    "Today we know much about the polyphonic complex of contexts, experiences, relationships and ideas which made psychoanalysis possible and still nourish its current debates. We can be very grateful to Maria Pierri for bringing us up to date with the role and meaning of some little-known aspects of Freud’s life and work concerning occultism and the fascinating dialogue of the unconsciouses developed with Ferenczi: what the Author identifies as one of the matrices of the developments of contemporary psychoanalysis." - Marco Conci, MC, IPA Committee on the History of Psychoanalysis


    Volume 2.

    "The book by Maria Pierri, a passionate and recognized connoisseur of "coincidences", can be read as an engrossing detective novel of historical reconstruction as it unfolds towards its resolution, elegantly written and full of surprises, and opening up unexpected new fields of thought. Which is not to say that it actually is a novel: rather, it is real History with a capital H, thoroughly documented with a precise investigative method which revisits one of the most mysterious and controversial areas of Freudian research, that of telepathy." - Stefano Bolognini, past President of the IPA and the Italian Psychoanalytic Society.

    "With rigorous documentation, including previously unpublished material, and elegant writing, Maria Pierri conducts a passionate investigation of hypnosis, occultism, suggestion, "coincidences and misunderstandings", studied by Freud, who applied his scientific mentality to them. The secrets and enigmas around the origins of psychoanalysis, the deep ties and conflicts between the pioneers "who made the venture" with Freud will emerge from the courageous search for that "elsewhere" of human thoughts we call unconscious, with which we are confronted daily in clinical practice and theory." - Paola Golinelli Training analyst, Italian Psychoanalytic Society. Author of Psychoanalytic Reflection on Writing, Cinema and the Arts. Routledge, 2021.

    "Maria Pierri’s work is not only an excellent example of historical and archival research into the interest of emergent psychoanalysis in telepathic events, but a radical demonstration – thanks to the "work as a double" performed by thought-transmission – of how unsustainable it is to maintain that Freud was a monist. In this way, through the wealth of phenomena being observed, the author opens up a new direction for study and theoretical enquiry that will send us back to Freud, differently every time, and to his very early intuition of a psychic field that is created in the analytic relationship." - Maurizio Balsamo, Training analyst, Italian Psychoanalytic Society. Maître de Conférences et Directeur de Recherche, UFR Études Psychanalytiques, Université Paris–Diderot