ΑρχικήΨηφιακή ΒιβλιοθήκηΆρθραΆρθρα (Αγγλικά)Chan, Yiukee - "Ferenczi’s Private Myth of Groddeck’s Seeker of Souls"

Chan, Yiukee - "Ferenczi’s Private Myth of Groddeck’s Seeker of Souls"

Ferenczi’s Private Myth of Groddeck’s Seeker of Souls

Chan, Yiukee[1]

University of Essex

Abstract

In 1921, Ferenczi published in Imago a review[2] of Groddeck’s new novel, "The Seeker of Souls: A Psychoanalytic Novel". By then Ferenczi had met Groddeck personally in the Sixth International Psychoanalytical Congress, which Ferenczi chaired, in Hague from 8 to 11 September 1920, but had not yet started correspondence or treatment with him. He was to do them in April and September respectively. He was also to write the famous Christmas Day letter to Groddeck in the same year. Moreover, this was the time when Ferenczi started his close affiliation with Groddeck and drifting away from Freud.

At first sight, it was merely a very positive appraisal of the writer’s originality and courage to defy convention and hypocrisy, as well as Ferenczi’s admiration of the new way of being and thinking. Although it was meant to be a public statement about his own wholehearted embrace of this unconventional and mystic novel, as well as its writer, it could also be read as his own private myth of the seeker of souls. Ferenczi’s summary of the novel would be more important than the novel itself in terms of how he might also be revealing himself in the ‘extremely condensed account of the content of this novel’ (Borossa, 1999, p. 209). One would be struck by the similarities Ferenczi and the protagonist, Weltlein, shared. Weltlein, a middle-aged bachelor, whose sudden metamorphosis into someone who frees himself of all traditional shackles after the sudden appearance of a widowed sister and her daughter, found himself daring to be a defiant child, or a fool, ‘casting the truth into people’s faces’ (Ibid, p. 207) in his entry into circles of various social strata. The mystic bedbugs as the symbol of the residuals of the hero’s early trauma were also hinted upon. These would readily remind one of Ferenczi’s troubled relationship with Gizella and Elma in the 1910s, as well as Ferenczi’s own early trauma, his hatred of hypocrisy and desire for the truth. It seems that Ferenczi was reading himself into the novel and identifying with the hero, Weltlein, as they echo with each others’ experience.

Tragically, the hero’s fate is catastrophic, as he was killed in a train disaster. His attempt to derail the establishment, ironically, ended up in his own demise in a real derailment. With sorrow, Ferenczi coined him as a ‘laughing martyr’ (Ibid, p. 209), suggesting his prophetic view of his own increasingly uncomfortable position in the psychoanalytic movement, especially his relationship with Freud. As the novel informs us, mockingly, that Weltlein’s head was missing in the disaster, we also have the later history of Ferenczi’s life and work buried for decades in the history of psychoanalysis because of his ‘dissident’ views. One would also be struck by the presumably unintended prophecy in Ferenczi’s very last statement in the review, ‘a future epoch will see that justice is done for our Weltlein’ (Ibid, p. 209), if this is read in the context of the recent revival of Ferenczi, the Ferenczi Renaissance.

The purpose of this paper is to position Ferenczi’s review as his unconscious private myth about his own life, and maybe even his belief about his own future in the psychoanalytic establishment. We will have a closer look at Ferenczi’s review, and analyze why Ferenczi was so absorbed and drawn into this novel, in the backdrop of his relationship with Freud, Gizella and Elma. 

In 1921, Ferenczi published[3] in the Journal, Imago[4], a review of Groddeck’s new book, "The Seeker of Souls: A Psychoanalytic Novel". As noted from a letter to Freud on 28 March 1921 (Falzeder & Brabant, 2000, pp. 52-53), Ferenczi was checking with Freud whether he had received his draft of the review and whether that version was in order for publication. As Sachs (1945) recalled, Freud read and gave comment to every article submitted for publication in the periodicals: Jahrbuch, Zeitschrift, Imago, and Schriften zur augewandten Seelenkunde. Apparently, Ferenczi had just submitted this review to Freud for comment before its publication.

The publication of the novel was very difficult and ambivalent, lasting for almost two years, fluctuating between hope and disappointment, and yet exemplifying the way Groddeck deepened his relationship with Freud. Groddeck finished the writing as early as 1919. After repeated rejections by publishers, he was rather hopeless as to its publication. He ended up sending the manuscript to Freud on 19 Oct 1919[5] so that Freud could ‘have a look at it before it disappears for good’ (Schacht, 1970, p.45). The initial name of the novel was a rather unusual one, ‘The bug killer or the unveiled soul of Thomas Weltlein’ (Ibid., p. 104, n.23). He suggested that Ferenczi might be interested in it[6]. He jokingly recommended the novel to be a reward for Ferenczi’s positive review of his 1917 paper[7]. Groddeck, in the post-war Germany, was seemingly in a state of isolation and despondency and was eager for connection with the outside world. However, Freud did not respond for months. On 31 Jan 1920, Groddeck, maybe getting inpatient, requested Freud for the return of the manuscript as he found another publisher, though not so hopeful, and he wanted to have another try. He interpreted Freud’s silence as a sign of dislike of his novel (Ibid., p. 46). However, Freud replied briefly a week later, only suggesting Groddeck to change the title of the novel to a less bizarre one to ease its way towards publication. Interestingly, Freud immediately added another letter one day later, stating that his publishing house, Verlag, would return the manuscript to Groddeck some days later. He surprised Groddeck by saying that he liked the novel and admired Groddeck’s unusual talents of graphic description, especially for the scenes of the railway disaster[8]. Freud even compared it to Don Quixote. He shared Groddeck’s frustration that his book would not suit the taste of the majority, as the ideas were not easy to digest. However, he still encouraged Groddeck to publish it (Ibid., p. 46-47), though Freud’s publishing house had turned it down. Even so, Groddeck felt very encouraged by Freud’s letter, and was optimistic that the next publisher he sought would accept his novel. Yet, Groddeck was only to be disappointed once more. Groddeck wrote to Freud on 7 Apr 1920 from Baden-Baden, quoting the comments of the publisher, ‘the analytical part breaks up the artistic form and therefore destroys the whole’ (Ibid., p.47). Although he was not convinced about these comments, Groddeck’s novel itself minus the psychoanalytic parts seemed to be more acceptable to the publishers or the general public. Groddeck summarized his discontent by the standard Freudian interpretation, ‘Everyone who reads it is somehow brought up against his own repressions and then resistance starts.’ (Ibid., p. 48).

In return, Freud continued to woo Groddeck, that if Verlag had money and paper, it would publish Groddeck’s novel. Groddeck was even more delighted and disclosed to Freud that his idea for the protagonist of the novel, Weltlein, was derived from his stepson, who was in treatment with him for 2 years. He also expressed his wish to join the Psychoanalytic Society. Groddeck was more certain about the value of his novel and he offered to pay for the publication, to which Freud agreed promptly and sent the manuscript to Verlag right away for publication, suggesting to ‘use the name of the hero and underneath put: a psychoanalytic novel’ (Ibid., p. 51). Apparently, this stamp of psychoanalysis in the novel’s name made Freud’s approval more explicit, and the part on psychoanalysis more legitimate. Freud also invited Groddeck to the Hague Congress in September. In the Congress, Groddeck met Rank who suggested a new name for the novel, ‘The Seeker of Souls: A Psychoanalytic Novel’ (Ibid., p. 53), a name that Groddeck liked very much and he sought Freud’s approval for using this as the finalized name. On 9 Jan 1921, Freud wrote to Groddeck, telling him that he received a copy of Groddeck’s published novel, the outlook of which was very impressive, and that this novel will ‘give pleasure to many people and anger many others’ (Ibid., p. 57). It was in this context that Freud also told Groddeck that Ferenczi was going to write a review of this novel. This time, Ferenczi did it out of his own initiative. Hence, it is likely that Ferenczi wrote the review somewhere between 9 Jan and 28 Mar 1921.

By then, Ferenczi had met Groddeck personally for the first time in the Sixth International Psychoanalytical Congress, which Ferenczi chaired, in Hague from 8 to 11 September 1920, but had not yet started correspondence or treatment with him. He was to do them in April and September respectively. He was also to write the famous Christmas Day letter to Groddeck in the same year. It was also the time when Ferenczi was ‘infatuated’ with Groddeck and started drifting away from Freud.

Before reviewing the novel itself, Ferenczi went to great lengths to depict his understanding of Groddeck-the-person and his work. Compared to his previous review of Groddeck’s 1917 paper, Ferenczi was more convinced and certain about Groddeck’s creativity and potential in understanding and treating psychosomatic disease. With a bit of Freud worship, Ferenczi recounted Groddeck’s initial opposition to Freudian School as a kind of going astray from the truth, out of pure envy. And yet, even after he joined the Freudian camp, he did not follow Freud in what a regular Freudian pupil would do. His belief in monism entailed his conceptualization of illness in a holistic fashion. He used the psychoanalytic tool to analyze organic diseases, instead of neurosis or hysteria, and found that underlying such diseases were unconscious intentions. While Ferenczi remarked that it was not sure whether Groddeck’s therapeutic results were attributable to a new therapy or the persuasive power of Groddeck, he was very convinced by the consistency and sincerity of Groddeck’s arguments.

Ferenczi introduced Groddeck’s new book as an admirable surprise, in that Groddeck used the medium of novel to present his ideas about illness, life, men and institutions. Ferenczi believed that his contemporaries would probably not be able to accept new and unusual ideas such as those of Groddeck’s, and so the use of a plot with a comic and thrilling touch would help the readers understand the strange and novel ideas underneath. Ferenczi was probably absorbed in his reading of the novel, as it held ‘the reader from beginning to end and in putting difficult biological and physiological problems in a humorous and even comic form, and in presenting with gentle humour crude, grotesque or deeply tragic scenes which, taken by themselves, would have been repugnant.’ (Borossa, 1999, p. 206). It was the hero of the novel, Weltlein, who was a blend of both genius and fool, that Groddeck assigned him with the task of tearing down the mask of the hypocrisy, exposing the cruelty and lust behind.

Weltlein’s solitary life as a middle-aged bachelor, according to Ferenczi’s summary of the novel, was suddenly disturbed by the appearance of a widowed sister and her young daughter. Ferenczi emphasized that one could never guess, let alone know, what really happened between Weltlein and the daughter, even though vague hints were given in the novel. In a somewhat mystic event, Weltlein tried to exterminate the bedbugs in the house. He became ‘crazy’ as he freed himself of all bindings from tradition, inheritance and culture. After this emancipation, he became a wanderer, changed his name, and entered the highest social strata, where he, making use of his fool’s privilege, ‘cast the truth into people’s faces’ (Ibid., p. 207). In all other occasions, such as police station, hospital and feminist congress, Weltlein continued to behave as a real enfant terrible, expressing the basic childish quality of an adult. Ferenczi reminded the reader that the chief motive of such strange behaviour was the residual of bedbugs incident, a trauma. Weltlein discovered the truth behind symbolic equations. The phallus is the prototype of all creation, while the sex act is that of all longing and work. His enemies were the scientific and medical establishments, against which he fought with mockery of their stupid limitations. Even psychoanalysis was not spared, though, compared to psychiatry, it received more affection.

However, this ‘laughing martyr’ (Ibid., p. 209), as Ferenczi put it, was eventually killed in a railway disaster, but what was more cynical was that his head was missing. His identity could be determined only by his niece, from the intimate details of his body. This would give some cues to the mystic relationship between Weltlein and the niece that Ferenczi depicted, ‘What really happened between the hero and the daughter we are never explicitly told; we can hardly even guess from the vague hints given us.’ (Ibid., p. 209). Ferenczi ended his review, "It is certain that Groddeck-Weltlein will be interpreted, commented on, torn to pieces, maligned, and misunderstood to death …, perhaps a future epoch will see that justice is done for our Weltlein.’ (Ibid., p. 209).

At first sight, the review was merely a very positive appraisal of Groddeck’s originality and Weltlein’s courage to defy convention and hypocrisy, as well as Ferenczi’s admiration of the new way of being and thinking. Although it was meant to be a public statement about his own view towards the novel, upon closer look, it could also be read as his own private myth of the souls-seeker, from whom Ferenczi found a voice that echoed with his own. One would be struck by the similarities Ferenczi and the souls-seeker, Weltlein, shared.

Ferenczi, born 1873, had been a bachelor for quite a long time before he married Gizella in 1919, after an 18-year ‘dating’, and his analysis and subsequent falling in love with Elma, Gizella’s daughter. Freud’s intervention, if not interference, was significant in deciding the course of the complicated triangular relationships.  Ferenczi first mentioned his relationship with Gizella to Freud in Oct 1909, a little more than a year after Ferenczi knew Freud. Ferenczi, seemingly in an attempt to protect the identity of Gizella, called her ‘Frau Isolde’ in the letter[9] (Brabant, Falzeder & Gizmpieri-Deutsch, 1993, p. 87), but he disclosed quite a lot to Freud about how much he needed Gizella and how he treasured the complete honesty and psychoanalytic exploration in the relationship. By then, Gizella was still married to, but already separated from, Palos Geza who refused to divorce Gizella (Rachman, 1997). Gizella was almost 10 years older than Ferenczi but in her, he found his ‘lover, friend, mother, and, in scientific matters, a pupil, i.e., the child – in addition, an extremely intelligent, enthusiastic pupil, who completely grasps the extent of the new knowledge" (Brabant, Falzeder & Gizmpieri-Deutsch, 1993, p. 88). On and off, Ferenczi would update her relationship with Freud. This is in line with Ferenczi’s eagerness for Freud’s analysis.

Things were more or less fine until Ferenczi started to analyze Gizella’s daughter, Elma, on 14 July 1911, seeking constant consultation from Freud. Before that, Elma had been in medical treatment for her depression and dementia praecox for months without improvement. Initially, Freud was alert, reminding Ferenczi that the analysis might not proceed beyond a certain point and that Ferenczi should not disclose too much of himself in the analysis (Ibid., p. 296). This is because of Ferenczi’s rather child-like and spontaneous character. The analysis went on normally until 18 October, when Ferenczi reported to Freud that Elma’s boyfriend committed suicide. Ferenczi remarked he was not sure what impact would there be on Elma. At that time, Freud was more preoccupied with and depressed by the imminent break with Jung. He did not comment on this episode. (Ibid., pp. 304-311). It was on 14 November 1911 that Ferenczi suddenly told Freud that his love for Gizella was fading, while he was having fantasies about marrying Elma (Ibid., p. 312). Freud was still unaware of the impending crisis Ferenczi was moving into. His reaction was somewhat humorous and teasing. He addressed Ferenczi as ‘Dear son’ in his next letter on 17 November 1911, lecturing to him what he should do with his ‘independence’ and told him to calm down (Ibid., p. 314). This fatherly letter made Ferenczi ‘laugh heartily’ (Ibid., p. 315) and they exchanged a couple of letters more, without mentioning the progress of Elma’s analysis.

Then the crisis erupted. Ferenczi told Freud on 3 December 1911 that analysis of Elma went out of his control. He could no longer maintain cool detachment with Elma, with whom he had fallen in love. Gizella was pressing him for a decision. Ferenczi was painfully indecisive (Ibid., p. 318). Freud was stunned. He urged Ferenczi to stop the analysis and come to Vienna to see him at once. The initial problem was which one Ferenczi was to choose: the mother or the daughter. Freud readily helped, if not instructed, Ferenczi within a week to decide, talking to Ferenczi directly and writing to Gizella immediately afterwards. It was a difficult week for Freud and he was unable to work at all (Ibid., p. 319). Freud was immersed in the mess Ferenczi created, taking over much of Ferenczi’s distress. However, it turned out that Ferenczi delayed the choice for years. This episode was ‘ended’ later by Elma’s marrying an American, Herve Laurvik (Ibid., p. 319) and yet they broke up quickly. Even though Ferenczi married Gizella some years later in 1919, he still regretted his choice on and off, especially for the fact that Gizella was unable to bear him a child in the marriage, because of her old age, an issue that exist right from the beginning of their relationship, as Ferenczi reproached her for her age, that Ferenczi recounted to Freud in the Oct 1909 letter (Ibid., p.88). As in the case of Weltlein, Ferenczi’s life was never the same again after the appearance of the mother and daughter.

Weltlein’s trauma, as associated with the bedbugs, though rather dramatically, also had its parallel in Ferenczi’s own life history. In the famous Christmas Day letter written to Groddeck in 1921, Ferenczi disclosed his experience of being the victim of sexual abuse by the maid-servant in his childhood. Ferenczi, in describing himself as an ‘old Jew’, citied an old Hungarian folksong, which he picked up from the peasant women who worked in his vineyard in his early childhood. He told Groddeck that he craved for their ‘earthy charms’ (Fortune, 2002, p. 13). Such charms not just suggested the primitive and raw quality, but also sexual ones, as he ‘indeed, … resorted to "amor ancillaries" a lot. I had to go to the vineyard with my suppressed passion’ (Ibid., p. 13). Probably Ferenczi had not yet overcome the trauma quality of such an experience, as he had to intellectualize it by labeling it in Latin, meaning, ‘maid-servant love’ (Ibid., p. 13). As noted by Fortune (2002, p. 18, n34), Ferenczi had also recorded in his clinical diary this experience of sexual abuse by a nurse and a housemaid when he was six. Ferenczi added in the letter that he could not sleep as his heart was pounding. It seemed that mere recall of the abuse re-triggered much of Ferenczi’s repressed feeling.

Biographies on Ferenczi portray a very similar image of Ferenczi’s personality: "extraordinary capacity to give love" (de Forest, 1954, p.14); "a childlike and affectionate man … needy and dependent on others … with an insatiable desire for the love of those he was involved with" (Aron & Harris, 1993a, p. 3); "radiant, lovable personality" (Balint, 1956, p.243), "active, … restless mind, ever alert, ever enquiring" (ibid, p. 234); or from Roazen’s (2002) recall of his experience in the oral history project in the 1960s, "… everyone I ever met who spoke of having known Ferenczi emphasized his special warmth and empathy." (p. 52). These traits are very similar to what Ferenczi wrote about Weltlein in the review, ‘Everywhere he speaks and behaves as a real enfant terrible, notices and comments on everything, admits consciously and openly to the unavoidably childish basic quality of the adult’ (Borossa, 1999p. 208).

Ferenczi’s desire for truth and honesty is prominent in his relationship with those close to him. This is especially the case with Freud. After having been occupied by Freud’s exceptional capacity for self-analysis and the corresponding frankness displayed in "The Interpretation of Dreams[10]", Ferenczi was eager to meet Freud-the-master. Their first meeting was on 2 Feb 1908, after which they readily became very close to each other. Freud invited Ferenczi to join his family for holiday almost every year afterwards, a privilege other followers of Freud rarely enjoyed but probably envied (Roazen, 1992). He would write to Freud about every detail of his life and thought, literally practising free association on the paper, especially after the trip to America: he felt ‘dream-like’ in being able to accompany Freud-the-guru (Brabant, Falzeder, & Giampieri-Deutsch, 1993, pp. 77-78). He even fantasized being able to read each other’s thought. On 5 Feb 1910, Ferenczi wrote to Freud, telling him what he wanted, ‘Just think what it would mean, if one could tell everyone the truth, one’s father, teacher, neighbor, and even the king. All fabricated, imposed authority would go to the devil – what is rightful would remain natural’ (ibid., p. 130).

After their unhappy Sicily trip in Sep 1910, Freud simply told Ferenczi not to idealize him, and to treat him as a ‘companion with equal rights’ as he was just ‘an ordinary old man’ (Ibid., p. 215). Ferenczi, though frustrated by Freud’s rejection of working on the Schreber case collaboratively, furthered his demand for absolute openness in the relationship, ‘I was longing for personal, uninhibited, cheerful companionship with you (and I can be cheerful, indeed, boisterously cheerful), and I felt - perhaps unjustifiably - forced back into the infantile role.’ (Ibid., p. 217). He even reported his dream of Freud standing naked in front of him (ibid., p. 218). Apparently, Ferenczi was indeed trying to treat Freud as ‘a companion with equal rights’, as he might have believed that his master, the master of self-analysis, would have no problem with an honest relationship with him, a relationship that could both foster personal growth and development of the cause. Yet, he found that he was infantilized. In a long and utterly frank letter written on 3 Oct 1910, Ferenczi could not have been clearer, ‘The final consequence of such insight – when it is present in two people – is that they are not ashamed in front of each other, keeping nothing secret, tell each other the truth without risk of insult or in the certain hope that within the truth there can be no lasting insult.’ (Ibid., p. 220).

After pushing the Freudian technique of abstinence to the extreme by experimenting with the active technique, Ferenczi no longer believed in the therapeutic value of the analyst being the blank screen for the analysand to deposit transference onto, nor did he think that the analyst must not gratify any of the analysand’s needs or withhold his counter-transference feelings towards the analysand. He believed that the Freudian way of doing psychoanalysis would only repeat the emotionally deprived childhood of the analysand without any therapeutic value. Instead, he argued that the analyst must use his own emotion as a guiding post in relating to the analysand, and to re-nurture him emotionally. Simply speaking, the analyst has to be emotionally honest with the analysand. Ferenczi practised these not just in therapy, but in his life as well, especially in his relationship with Freud and Groddeck. All these were in direct contradiction of what psychoanalysis was, according to Freud. Ferenczi’s antagonism with Freud reached its pinnacle in his very last paper, presented in the Wiesbaden Congress in 1932, ‘The Confusion of tongue between the adults and children’, in which he attempted to revive the seduction theory.

Unlike Weltlein who attacked the scientists and hypocrites with mockery, Ferenczi did not criticize the psychoanalytic establishment openly. Nevertheless, Ferenczi’s ideas on counter-transference, mutuality and role of trauma were misunderstood as attempts at derailment of the Freudian establishment. This fate is similar to Ferenczi’s prophetic view of Weltlein, ‘It is certain that … Weltlein will be … misunderstood to death’ (Borossa, 1999, p. 209) Ernest Jones’ (Jones, 1957) character assassination against Ferenczi, that he Ferenczi suffered from psychosis in his final years, was accepted and shared amongst generations of psychoanalysts. This was somehow reminiscent of Weltlein’s tragic fate of losing his head in the railway disaster. Ferenczi’s head, or identity, was lost in the psychoanalytic circle for many years. With Carlo Bonomi’s (1999) remarkable investigation into Jones’ allegation of Ferenczi’s mental deterioration, the evidence against Jones is clear and abundant. Jones’ assassination of Ferenczi’s character deleted Ferenczi’s ideas, and even his person, which were threatening to the status quo of Freud and his circle, for about five decades. Bonomi manages to trace Jones’ plan of character assassination against Ferenczi, by going into chronological details in the final days of Ferenczi, with the support of new historical documents, such as letters of Erich Fromm, Jones, Lajos Levy, and Elma Laurvik. He concludes that Jones’ accusation against Ferenczi is unjustified and that the myth of Ferenczi’s progressive psychosis was not just created by Jones’ himself, but also shared amongst the analysts, especially Freud, of that generation. This shared myth propagated into subsequent generations of analysts, although Balint[11] (1958) and Fromm (1959) had tried to correct Jones’ allegation but more or less in vain. Bonomi’s historical, if not historic, study probably serves to restore Ferenczi to the position he deserves. Ferenczi and his ideas should no longer bear the label of psychosis or pathology. They are re-examined and found to be of contemporary significance.

What becomes more visible is the increasing interest[12] in Ferenczi’s life and work in the past two decades. The Sandor Ferenczi Society, formed in Hungary in 1988, hosted an International Ferenczi Conference in Budapest in 1993 to celebrate an anniversary of Ferenczi’s birth [in 1873]. Successively, Ferenczi Conferences were held in New York, Sao Paolo, Madrid, Tel Aviv, and Turin. The latest one took place in Baden-Baden, Germany, from 2 to 6 Aug 2006, addressing the Ferenczi-Groddeck relationship. The Society is also planning to establish the Ferenczi Centre at Nephegy in District One of Hungary, the former residence of Ferenczi. The Centre, as a Museum, Archive and Library, is planned to open in 2008, the 100th anniversary of the first meeting of Freud and Ferenczi. The Society’s journal, "Thalassa" had its first issue published in 1990-91. Apart from Europe, the Sandor Ferenczi Institute, founded by Arnold W. Rachman in 1993 in New York City, aims at training and research on humanistic psychoanalysis from the Ferenczian approach (Rachman, 1997). In the 1993 Geneva Symposium on "100 years of Psychoanalysis", "Freud and his intimate Sandor Ferenczi" was one of the two themes. "CONFERENCZI: Hungarian Psychoanalytic Ideas revisited" took place in the London Freud Museum in Apr 2004. As for publication, Dupont’s (1995) edited volume of "The Clinical Diary of Sandor Ferenczi" and the 3-volume Freud-Ferenczi correspondence by Brabant, Falzeder & Giampieri-Deutsch (1993, 1996 & 2000) are themselves hallmarks in the history of psychoanalysis. Other than the increase in number of papers on Ferenczi in psychoanalytic journals, a special issue, "Psychoanalysis’ Favorite Son", devoted to Ferenczi, was published in the "Psychoanalytic Inquiry" in 1997 under the editorship of Rachman. Aron & Harris’s (1993b) "The Legacy of Sandor Ferenczi" and Rudnytsky, Bokay & Giampieri-Deutsch’s (1996) "Ferenczi’s Turn in Psychoanalysis" provide very rich and landmark collection of clinical and history papers, re-positioning both Ferenczi and psychoanalysis. Borossa’s (1999) collection of Ferenczi’s selected writings includes several rare papers written in his pre-psychoanalytic days, in addition to the ones selected from Ferenczi’s First, Further and Final Contributions to Psychoanalysis (Balint, 1952; Rickman, 1994, Balint, 1955). For Biographies on Ferenczi, de Forest (1954), Lorand (1966), Brome (1968), Stanton (1990), Roazen (1992), Rachman (1997), Haynal (1989, 1993 & 2002), and Haute & Geyskens (2004) sequentially add new perspectives and facts about Ferenczi’s life and works.

This ‘Ferenczi Renaissance’ (Rachman, 1997, p.409) not only re-shapes the landscape of the history of psychoanalysis, but also informs, if not re-directs, the development of the clinical practice of psychoanalysis. Further, as Rudnytsky (2002) astutely observed, ‘the reverence and even love with which Ferenczi is widely regarded today are due above all to the way that he incarnates an authentic psychoanalytic identity while being free of Freud’s authoritarian tendencies’ (p.217). This Renaissance seems to be resonating with Ferenczi’s conviction about the future of the seeker of souls, Weltlein, ‘a future epoch will see that justice is done for our Weltlein’ (Borossa, 1999, p. 209). Similarly, the contemporary psychoanalytic generation is witnessing that justice is done for our Ferenczi too. Ferenczi’s private myth of the seeker of souls is becoming real indeed. He seeks and captures many souls to revive his lost legacy and his passion for the truth, psychoanalytic and otherwise.


 

References

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[1] CHAN Yiukee, PhD Student in the University of Essex, UK, and Senior Clinical Psychologist in The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China.

[2] Reprinted in Borossa, J. (ed) (1999) Sandor Ferenczi Selected Writings. London: Penguin Books. (pp. 205-209)

[3] As noted from a letter of Ferenczi to Groddeck on 17 Aug 1921, ‘I take this opportunity to congratulate you sincerely on your Seeker of Souls which I am reviewing in the next issue of Imago’ (Fortune, 2002, p.4), the review should have been published sometime in 1921 after this date. Groddeck wrote to Freud on 4 Dec 1921, "Ferenczi’s critique made me very happy." (Schacht, 1977, p. 66).

[4] According to Jones (1955), Freud founded Imago in 1911, the year Adler broke with Freud and caused much distress. Freud did not take any long holiday away from his family and he wrote very little in the year. Freud’s correspondence with Jung (McGuire, 1974) detailed the records of the birth of this Journal. Freud told Jung on 27 June 1911 that Hanns Sachs and Rank wanted to start a new non-medical Journal, first named as Eros und Psyche, to be devoted to applied psychology. However, Freud ran into difficulty finding a publisher as he was turned down by four, viz., Deuticke, Bergmann, J. A. Barth, Urban & Schwarzenberg. This left him very depressed. His last option was H. Heller, an art publisher, who was not a very good choice (Freud to Jung, 2 Nov 1911). While Jung shared the positive expectation of the new journal (Jung to Freud, 11 Jul 1911), was sympathetic to Freud’s difficulties with the publisher (14 Nov 1911), and eventually congratulated Freud on the news of the publication date of the first issue, Jung was not involved in Imago. He even declared in advance that he could not contribute any inaugural paper (24 Nov 1911). Even though Freud stated rather explicitly that he wanted to pass this Journal on to Jung some day, and assured Jung of the presumed position of Imago as only one of the ‘three organs of a single biological unit’ (Freud to Jung, 16 Nov 1911), the other two being Jahrbuch (of which Jung was the editor) and Zentralblatt, Jung did not seem to be interested in contributing to this new voice in the psychoanalytic movement. Nevertheless, writing to Abraham some months later on 3 July 1912, Freud stated that Imago was his ‘most favourite child’, amongst the three journals (Falzeder, 2002, p. 157). As for the Journal’s name, Freud later renamed it as Imago, as he needed a name that did not appear too literary but was vague enough. Sachs (1945) recalled, ‘The title of the new publication gave us some headaches. Freud used to say that a title ought not to be a condensed summary of the contents, but a designation by way of easy association of ideas. Nor was he in favour of high-sounding pseudo-poetic names. Finally my suggestion prevailed and it was called Imago after Carl Spitteler’s novel in which the tricks and masks of the unconscious, its inroads into consciousness, and its stimulation of the creative powers are presented with consummate mastership.’ (p. 63). Eventually the Journal had its first issue published on 28 Mar 1912, with the title of ‘Imago: Journal for the Application of Psychoanalysis to the Humanities’ (McGuire, 1974, p. 306, n.5).

[5] Groddeck initiated his correspondence with Freud on 27 May 1917, apologizing to Freud for his previous ignorant view against psychoanalysis and he declared himself converted to psychoanalysis  (Schacht, 1970, p.31). Their exchange of ideas interested Freud a lot and Freud kept sharing this with Ferenczi, and also introducing Ferenczi in the his correspondence with Groddeck.

[6] A survey of the Freud-Ferenczi letters from from 19 Oct 1919 onwards till March 1921 shows that Freud did not mention Groddeck or his novel to Ferenczi. It was only on 28 Mar 1921 that Ferenczi asked Freud whether he received his draft review of Groddeck’s Souls-Seekers.

[7] ‘Psychic conditioning and the psychoanalytic treatment of organic disorders’, reprinted in Schacht (1970, pp. 109-131). Upon Freud’s instruction for writing a ‘detailed, benevolent review without much delay’ (Freud to Ferenczi, 9 Oct 1917, Falzeder & Barbrant, 1996, p. 709), Ferenczi wrote a review that was a positive appraisal and exposition of Groddeck’s new treatment regime that sees somatic illness as reactions to repressed wishes or representation of such disguised wish. He especially appreciated Groddeck’s use of the vulnerabilities of Groddeck’s own physical and mental organization as illustrative case examples in the pursuit for truth and scientific advance. (see Ferenczi, 1917, pp. 342-343). Although by then, both Freud and Ferenczi had reservation about Groddeck’s ideas, Freud saw Groddeck as a potential collaborator who could cultivate divergent and yet non-disruptive views about psychoanalysis.

[8] Freud’s focus on the scenes of the train disaster may be related to his phobia of travel; see Margolis (1996).

[9] Ferenczi soon renamed her as Frau G. some months later, and even sent his best regards to Freud in conjunction with Gizella (Brabant, Falzeder & Gizmpieri-Deutsch, 1993, p. 120).

[10] For Ferenczi, "The Interpretation of Dreams" might as well mean "Freud’s Interpretation of his Dreams"

[11] Recently, historians, such as Meszaros (2002), have sympathy for Balint who faced immense difficulty in telling the truth about Ferenczi’s mental state, as the majority of analysts tended to believe Jones’ version that was endorsed by Freud himself.

[12] Although Masson’s (1984) disturbing work on Freud’s suppression of the seduction theory turned out to be overstated [see, e.g., Krull (1986) and Robinson (1993)], his corresponding role in reviving Ferenczi should not be neglected (Rachman, 1997).


 
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