“PRIMORDIAL CHANT”. SÁNDOR FERENCZI AS AN ORPHIC POET*

Abstract

Ferenczi’s deviations from Freudian thinking have caused enormous controversy. This paper re-examines Ferenczi’s theoretical and technical innovations through the lens of Orpha—one of his most characteristic and valuable contributions, the culmination point of his thought, and the leitmotif of his work. So far research on Ferenczi’s Orpha concept has been relatively sparse and there is still much obscurity about this term that he adopted from or co-created with his “evil genius” Elizabeth Severn. The following paper will attempt to shed more light on the origin, evolution, functions, and the philosophical foundations of the Orpha concept. Along with the theoretical, therapeutic and philosophical aspects, this point of view will enable a better understanding of the poetic value and the lyricism of Ferenczi’s work. Orphic harmony—the fusion of Dionysian ecstasy and Apollonian clarity into the “principal instinct of tranquility” proclaimed by Ferenczi in 1930 and into the “primordial chant of cosmic unity” (Herder), emerges as the essence of the Ferenczian work and worldview.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Aulich, J. (1990). Die orphische Weltanschauung der Antike und ihr Erbe bei den Dichtern Nietzsche, Hölderlin, Novalis und Rilke. [The Orphic worldview of antiquity and its legacy in the works of the poets Nietzsche, Hölderlin, Novalis, and Rilke] Diss. Simon Frazer University Burnaby, Canada. Retrieved from: https://www.google.de/search?q=Aulich%2C+J.+(1990).+Die+orphische+Weltanschauung+der+Antike

  2. Ferenczi, S. (1909a). Introjection and transference. In First contributions to psycho-analysis (pp. 35–93). New York: Brunner/Mazel. (1980).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Ferenczi, S. (1909b). The psychological analysis of dreams. In First contributions to psycho-analysis (pp. 94–131). New York: Brunner/Mazel. (1980).

    Google Scholar 

  4. Ferenczi, S. (1911). On obscene words. In First contributions to psycho-analysis (pp. 132–153). New York: Brunner/Mazel. (1980).

    Google Scholar 

  5. Ferenczi, S. (1912a). Transitory symptom-constructions during analysis. In First contributions to psycho-analysis (pp. 193–212). New York: Brunner/Mazel. (1980).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Ferenczi, S. (1912b). Exploring the unconscious. In Final contributions to the problems & methods of psycho-analysis (pp. 308–312). London: Karnac Books. (1994).

  7. Ferenczi, S. (1913a). Stages in the development of the sense of reality. In First contributions to psycho-analysis (pp. 213–239). New York: Brunner/Mazel. (1980).

    Google Scholar 

  8. Ferenczi, S. (1913b). Taming of a wild horse. In Final contributions to the problems & methods of psycho-analysis (pp. 336–340). London: Karnac Books. (1994).

  9. Ferenczi, S. (1919a). The phenomena of hysterical materialization. In Further contributions to the theory and technique of psycho-analysis (pp. 89–104). London: Karnac Books. (1994).

    Google Scholar 

  10. Ferenczi, S. (1919b). An attempted explanation of some hysterical stigmata. In Further contributions to the theory and technique of psycho-analysis (pp. 110–118). London: Karnac Books. (1994).

    Google Scholar 

  11. Ferenczi, S. (1920–1932). Notes and fragments. In Final contributions to the problems & methods of psycho-analysis (pp. 216–279). London: Karnac Books. (1994).

  12. Ferenczi, S. (1924). Thalassa: A theory of genitality (H.A. Bunker, Trans.). Albany, NY: The Psychoanalytic Quarterly. (1938). Republished London: Karnac. (1989).

  13. Ferenczi, S. (1931). Child analysis in the analysis of adults. In Final contributions to the problems & methods of psycho-analysis (pp. 126–142). London: Karnac Books. (1994).

  14. Ferenczi, S. (1932). In J. Dupont (Ed.), The Clinical Diary of Sándor Ferenczi (M. Balint & N. Z. Jackson, Trans.). Cambridge, Mass. & London: Harvard University Press. (1988).

  15. Ferenczi, S. (1933). Confusion of tongues between adults and the child. The language of tenderness and of passion. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 30, 225–230, Published in 1949. Also in Final contribution to the problems and methods of psychoanalysis (pp. 156–167). London: Karnac Books. (1994).

  16. Fowlie, W. (1976). Preface to: Mathieu, B. (1976). Orpheus in Brooklyn: Orphism, Rimbaud, and Henry Miller (pp. xi–xii). The Hague: Mouton Publishers.

  17. Frankel, J. B. (1998). Ferenczi’s trauma theory. American Journal of Psychoanalysis,58, 41–61.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Freud, S. (1900). The interpretation of dreams. Standard Edition (Vols. 4–5, pp. 1–626). London: Hogarth.

  19. Freud, S. (1923). The Ego and the Id. Standard Edition (Vol. 17, pp. 3–66). London: Hogarth.

  20. Freud, S., & Ferenczi, S. (1925–1933). Briefwechsel [Correspondence], Vol. III, 2 (1925–1933). E. Falzeder & E. Brabant (Eds.), Wien, Köln and Weimar: Böhlau. 2005. Also see: The correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Sándor Ferenczi, Volume 3, 1920-1933. E. Falzeder & E. Brabant (Eds.), with the collaboration of P. Giampieri-Deutsch under the supervision of A. Haynal. P. T. Hoffer (Trans.) With an Introduction by J. Dupont. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. (2000).

  21. Goethe, J. W. (1806). Weltseele [World-Soul]. In Sämtliche Werke in 18 Bänden. [Collected works in 18 volumes] (Vol. 1, pp. 511–512). Zürich: Artemis Verlag. (1977).

  22. Goethe, J. W. (1817). Urworte. Orphisch [Primal words. Orphic]. In Sämtliche Werke in 18 Bänden. [Collected Works in 18 Volumes] (Vol. 1, pp. 523–524). Zürich: Artemis Verlag (1977).

  23. Goethe, J. W. (1821). Eins und Alles. [One and Everything]. In Sämtliche Werke in 18 Bänden. [Collected works in 18 volumes] (Vol. 1, p. 514). Zürich: Artemis Verlag (1977).

  24. Gurevich, H. (2016). Orpha, Orphic functions, and the Orphic Analyst: Winnicott’s “Regression to Dependence” in the language of Ferenczi. American Journal of Psychoanalysis,76, 322–340.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Guthrie, W. K. C. (1935). Orpheus and Greek religion. A study of the Orphic movement. London: Methuen & Co. (1952).

  26. Gutiérrez-Peláez, M. (2018). Confusion of tongues. A return to Sándor Ferenczi. London and New York: Routledge.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  27. Herder, J. G. (1766). Orpheus. Versuch. Geschichte der lyrischen Dichtkunst. [Orpheus. An essay. A history of the lyrical poetry]. In W. Pross (Ed.), Werke [Works], (Vol. 1, pp. 85–140). Berlin: Weidmann (1899).

  28. Herder, J. G. (1774). Älteste Urkunde des Menschengeschlechts. [Oldest document of the human race] (Vol. 1). In Sämtliche Werke [Collected Works] (Vol. 37): Religion und Theologie. [Religion and theology] (pp. 3–440). Karlsruhe: Im Bureau der deutschen Klassiker. (1827).

  29. Hristeva, G., & Poster, M. F. (2013). Georg Groddeck’s maternal turn: Its evolution and influence on early psychoanalysts. American Journal of Psychoanalysis,73, 228–253.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Jones, E. (1957). The life and work of Sigmund Freud. Vol. III. The last phase: (1919–1939). New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Locke, L. (1997). Orpheus and Orphism: Cosmology and sacrifice at the boundary. Folklore Forum,28(2), 3–29.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Lothane, Z. (2010). Sándor Ferenczi. The dramatologist of love. Psychoanalytical Perspectives,7, 165–182.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Mathieu, B. (1976). Orpheus in Brooklyn: Orphism, Rimbaud, and Henry Miller. The Hague: Mouton Publishers.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  34. McGahey, R. (1994). The Orphic moment: Shaman to poet-thinker in Plato, Nietzsche, and Mallarmé. Albany: State University of New York Press.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Meisner, D. A. (2018). Orphic tradition and the birth of the gods. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  36. Plato. (1993). Phaedo (D. Gallop, Ed., Trans.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  37. Poster, M. F., Hristeva, G., & Giefer, M. (2016). Georg Groddeck: “The pinch of pepper” of psychoanalysis. American Journal of Psychoanalysis,76, 161–182.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Rachman, A. W. (1997a). Sándor Ferenczi: The psycho-therapist of tenderness and passion. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Rachman, A. W. (1997b). The suppression and censorship of Ferenczi’s confusion of Tongues paper. Psychoanalytic Inquiry,17, 459–485.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Rachman, A. W. (2018). Elizabeth Severn: The “evil genius” of psychoanalysis. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Rilke, R. M. (1907). Orpheus, Eurydice, Hermes. In New Poems (pp. 151–156) (L. Krisak, Trans.). Woodbridge, UK: Boydell & Brewer (2015).

  42. Rilke, R. M. (1922). Sonette an Orpheus. [Sonnets to Orpheus]. In Werke in drei Bänden [Works in three volumes] (Vol. 1, pp. 487–529). Frankfurt am Main (1966).

  43. Schopenhauer, A. (1819). The world as will and idea (Vol. 3) (R. B. Haldane, & J. Kemp, Trans.). London: Trübner Co. (1886).

  44. Smith, N. A. (1999). From Oedipus to Orpha: Revisiting Ferenczi and Severn’s landmark case. American Journal of Psychoanalysis,59, 345–366.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Soreanu, R. (2018). The psychic life of fragments: Splitting from Ferenczi to Klein. American Journal of Psychoanalysis,78, 421–444.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Strauss, W. A. (1971). Descent and return. The Orphic theme in modern literature. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  47. Taylor, T. (1824). The mystical hymns of Orpheus (T. Taylor, Trans.). London: Bertram Dobell. (1896).

  48. Windelband, W. (1900). Platon. Stuttgart: Fr. Frommann’s Verlag (E. Hauff), 1910.

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Galina Hristeva.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Galina Hristeva, Ph. D., Literary critic, author of a book about Georg Groddeck, and numerous publications on the history of psychoanalysis. Research Associate of the American Psychoanalytical Association. Winner of the 2011 Sacerdoti Prize of the International Psychoanalytical Association.

Address Correspondence to: Galina Hristeva, Ph. D., Schleifbrückenstr. 11/1, 73430 Aalen, Germany. Email: galina.hristeva1@gmail.com

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Hristeva, G. “PRIMORDIAL CHANT”. SÁNDOR FERENCZI AS AN ORPHIC POET*. Am J Psychoanal 79, 517–539 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1057/s11231-019-09219-w

Download citation

Keywords

  • Orpha
  • trauma
  • fragmentation
  • cosmogony
  • Ferenczi’s poetics
  • Orphic harmony