Reading Freud’s Patients Memoir, Narrative and the Analysand
Winner of the 2021 ABAPsa Book Prize Award!
What would the story of analysis look like if it were told through the eyes of the analysand? How would the patient write and present the analytic experience? How would the narrative as written by the analysand differ from the analytic narrative commonly offered by the analyst? What do the actual analytic narratives written by Freud’s patients look like?
This book aims to confront these intriguing questions with an innovative reading of memoirs by Freud’s patients. These patients—including Sergei Pankejeff, known as the Wolf Man; the poet H. D.; and the American psychoanalyst Abram Kardiner—all came to Vienna specially to meet Freud and embark with him on the intimate and thrilling journey of deciphering the unconscious and unravelling the secrets of the psyche. A broad psychoanalytic and literary-historical reading of their memoirs is offered in this new entry to the popular Routledge History of Psychoanalysis Series, with the purpose of presenting the analysands' narratives as they themselves recounted them. This makes it possible to re-examine the links among psychoanalysis, literature, and translation and sheds new light on the complex challenge of coming to know oneself through the encounter with otherness.
This book is unique in its focus on multiple memoirs by patients of Freud and presents a fresh, even startling, close-up look at psychoanalysis as a clinical practice and as a rigorous discourse and offers a new vision of Freud’s strengths and, at times, defects. It will be of considerable interest to scholars of psychoanalysis and intellectual history, as well as those with a wider interest in literature and memoir.
Prologue 01. Psychoanalytic Space and Writing Space 02. Fragments of an Analysis with Freud by Joseph Wortis: Criticism and Longing 03. Diary of My Analysis with Sigmund Freud by Smiley Blanton: From a Deadlock of Silence to the Act of Writing 04. My Analysis with Freud: Reminiscences by Abram Kardiner: Memory, Mourning, and Writing 05. An American Psychiatrist in Vienna, 1935–1937, and His Sigmund Freud by John Dorsey: "My Sigmund Freud" 06. The Wolf Man and Sigmund Freud by Sergei Pankejeff: Between a Case Study and a Memoir 07. Tribute to Freud by Hilda Doolittle (H. D.): Between the Analytic and the Poetic 08. The Creation of Voice in Psychoanalysis and Literature Epilogue: Psychoanalysis Terminable and Interminable
"Anat Tzur Mahalel’s reading of the corpus of texts illuminating the experience of analysis with Freud from the patient’s point of view is timely and original. Previous work on these invaluable testimonies does not consider them as literary narratives that foreground the patient’s voice and perspective on the encounter with Freud as a practitioner of his own profession as a psychoanalyst, so her contribution goes beyond the existing body of scholarship in decisive ways." Peter L. Rudnytsky, University of Florida and Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute, author of Formulated Experiences: Hidden Realities and Emergent Meanings from Shakespeare to Fromm
"Mahalel shows compellingly how the twin acts of reading and writing mediate the analytic relationships that her book addresses. Freud’s analysands, she contends, encounter him first and foremost as a writer... Her readings deftly amplify a single image or trope in these memoirs and are at their finest when they identify new, hitherto unnoticed, intertextual echoes that place these memoirs in a broader literary tradition or a psychoanalytic debate." - Jivitesh Vashisht, Psychoanalysis: A Writing Cure? (Review Essay) in The Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory
"A previous study of some of these patients, Unorthodox Freud by Lohser and Newton (1996), uses their accounts to document Freud’s deviations from a dubious notion of orthodox analysis. By contrast, Tzur Mahalel wants us to read them, not as witnesses for the prosecution, but democratically, in their own right and from their respective viewpoints. Her readings are concerned with authority: she reminds us that in writing their accounts the patients are reclaiming ownership of their experience and thus redressing an age-old imbalance of power between therapist and patient." – Michael Molnar, Psychoanalysis and History
"No comprehensive look at the writings of the patients who left written memoirs of their time with Freud had been undertaken until this eminently readable volume by Mahalel. (...) I understand the likely reasoning of those who awarded a Book of the Year prize for this volume (...) when Mahalel comes to the poet who herself wrote so beautifully about her encounters with Freud (I highly recommend these, e.g., H.D., 1956), her own prose sings in the sweet melodies of young Mothers holding their little ones. It just sings. Jones indeed, commented on the H.D. memoir: ‘[H.D.’s book], with its appropriate title is surely the most delightful and precious appreciation of Freud’s personality that is ever likely to be written. … It is like a lovely flower, and the crude pen of a scientist hesitates to profane it by attempting to describe it’ (1957, p. 126). A similar valuation is apparent in Mahalel’s voice in discussing that memoir." - Howard Covitz, The American Journal of Psychoanalysis