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.

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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

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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

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