The kinship between Ferenczi and Lacan can be compared with the phases of an eclipse. Throughout the first period of his teaching, Lacan presents Ferenczi as the most relevant analyst among the first pioneers. It is clear that he hopes to develop Ferenczi’s subversive reflections about clinical practice. Surprisingly, in the second period references to Ferenczi seem to disappear, even when he takes on the question of trauma in light of what he calls the register of the Real; he does not cite Ferenczi at all. In a third period, after Lacan’s death, certain Lacanians are very critical about Ferenczi, often excessively. Today, analysts open to Lacan’s teaching are discovering Ferenczi and the richness of his work, in which Lacan found numerous springheads for his own work.
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“It is a fact that I am fairly generally regarded as a restless spirit, or, as someone recently said to me at Oxford, the enfant terrible of psychoanalysis” (Ferenczi, 1931 , p. 127).
This relative marginalization has taken place, through different forms and for a long time, in all French psychoanalytic associations whose membership includes both ardent supporters and resolute detractors. Given the potential danger of—unpardonable—psychoanalytic scandal, is Ferenczi fated to be an obstacle to the reconciliation of analysts?
And a Freud, of course.
“Passionnel” in French.
Can we understand the meaning of authenticity as freedom and sincerity?
This conflict of the Hundred Years’ War took place prior to the excellent editorial work Judith Dupont at Le Coq-Héron, who continued Michael Balint’s work on behalf of Sandor Ferenczi, brought out the Clinical Diary as well as facilitated the publishing of the Freud-Ferenczi correspondence (Dupont, 2013).
Lacan, the founder of “short sessions” probably didn’t have clear knowledge of Ferenczi’s risky attempts at mutual analysis and of the “long sessions” involved in those experiments.
In 1961, the sixth issue of the SFP’s journal, Psychanalyse, contains works by representatives of the Society’s different psychoanalytic tendencies. One can find here a “Ferenczian” landmark: a French translation of the English version of “Confusion of Tongues”.
“Alone”, according to him.
Its name, given by Lacan.
It’s worth noting that the first volume of the Complete Works had not yet been published at this point. Lacan could not have been unaware of the existence of The Clinical Diary, translated into English in 1969, but he seems not to have consulted it; the French translation would not be published until 1985, four years after his death.
The journal of the Ecole de la Cause Freudienne.
“Acte manqué” in French.
Let us reiterate: although overtly present from 1953 to 1955, he is thenceforth, we might say, surprisingly left by Lacan in the shadows, only to return to the limelight at the end of Lacan’s last advances.
The proceedings from this event have been published in Ferenczi après Lacan (Gorog et al., 2009).
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A version of this paper was presented at “Sincerity and Freedom in Psychoanalysis” conference at the Freud Museum, October 2013.
1Yves Lugrin Ph.D., is an Associate Member of the Société Freudienne de Psychanalyse (SPF), Paris, France.
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Lugrin, Y. LACAN AND FERENCZI: PARADOXICAL KINSHIP?. Am J Psychoanal 75, 86–93 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1057/ajp.2014.59
- Lacan and Ferenczi
- turbulent years in French psychoanalysis
- Lacan’s “pass”
- “real” and “jouissance”