Jensen’s ‘Gradiva’ and Other Works (1906-1908)
Delusions and dreams in Jensen’s Gradiva (1959).
Jensen’s Delusions and Dreams in Gradiva is Freud’s first published analysis of a work of literature, apart from his comments on Oedipus Rex and Hamlet in The Interpretation of Dreams. It was Jung who brought Jensen’s book to Freud’s notice, and Freud is reported to have written the present work especially to please Jung. This was in the summer of 1906, several months before the 2 men had met each other, and the episode was thus the herald of their 5 or 6 years of cordial relations. Apart from the deeper significance which Freud saw in Jensen’s work, there is no doubt that he must have been specially attracted by the scene in which it was laid. His interest in Pompeii was an old established one. In reading Freud’s study, it is worth bearing in mind its chronological place in his writings as one of his earliest psychoanalytic works.
Delusions and dreams in Jensen’s Gradiva (1907).
Part I. Synopsis of Jensen’s Gradiva
The story of Gradiva is summarized by Freud. A young archaeologist, Norbert Hanold, had discovered in a museum of antiquities in Rome a relief which attracted him . He obtained a plaster cast of it. The sculpture represented a fully grown girl stepping along, with her flowing dress a little pulled up so as to reveal her sandaled feet. The interest taken by the hero of the story in this relief is the basic psychological fact in the narrative. As an outcome of studies, he was forced to the conclusion that Gradiva’s gait was not discoverable in reality; and this filled him with regret and vexation. Soon afterwards he had a terrifying dream, in which he found himself in ancient Pompeii on the day of the eruption of Vesuvius and witnessed the city’s destruction. Gradiva disappeared and the hero searched for her. She appeared to come to life in someone else’s body. Hanold met her, Zoe Bertgang, and they went away together. With the triumph of love, what was beautiful and precious in the delusion found recognition as well. In his last simile, however, of the childhood friend who had been dug out of the ruins, Jensen presented the key to the symbolism of which the hero’s delusion made use in disguising his repressed memory.
Delusions and dreams in Jensen’s Gradiva (1907).
Part II. Gradiva and the psychology of the unconscious.
In Gradiva Jensen presented a perfectly correct psychiatric study, upon which we may measure our understanding of the workings of the mind, a case history and the history of a cure which might have been designed to emphasize certain fundamental theories of medical psychology. Norbert Hanold’s condition is often spoken of as a delusion, and we have no reason to reject that designation. The state of permanently turning away from women produces a susceptibility or a predisposition to the formation of a delusion. The development of the mental disorder sets in at the moment when a chance impression arouses the childhood experiences which have been forgotten and which have traces, at least, of an erotic coloring. Norbert Hanold’s memories of his childhood relations with the girl with the graceful gait were repressed. The first manifestations of the process that had been set going in Hanold by the relief that he saw were phantasies, which played around the figure represented in it. Norbert Hanold’s delusion was carried a step further by a dream which occurred in the middle of his efforts to discover a gait like Gradiva’s in the streets of the town where he lived. Hanold’s dream was an anxiety dream; its content was frightening; the dreamer felt anxiety while he slept and he was left with painful feelings afterwards.
Delusions and Dreams in Jensen’s Gradiva (1907).
Part III. Relations between dreams and delusions.
The construction of the fresh delusion about Gradiva’s death during the destruction of Pompeii in the year 79 was not the only result of the first dream in Jensen’s Gradiva.Immediately after it, Hanold decided on his journey to Italy. The journey was undertaken for reasons which its subject did not recognize at first and only admitted to himself later, reasons described as unconscious. The view of Hanold’s journey as a flight from his awakening erotic longing for the girl whom he loved and who was so close to him is the only one which will fit in with the description of his emotional states during his stay in Italy. The appearance of Zoe Bertgang marks the climax of tension in the story. This unusually clever girl was determined to win her childhood friend for her husband, after she had recognized that the young man’s love for her was the motive force behind the delusion. If a patient believes in his delusion so firmly, it is not because his faculty of judgment has been overturned and does not arise from what is false in the delusion. On the contrary, there is a grain of truth concealed in every delusion, there is something in it that really deserves belief, and this is the source of the patient’s conviction, which is to that extent justified. Hanold’s second dream concerns the replacement of an elderly gentlemen by Gradiva and the introduction of an enigmatic female colleague.
Delusions and dreams in Jensen’s Gradiva (1907).
Part IV.Treatment of the delusions in Gradiva.
Postscript to the second edition (1912).
Jensen has arbitrarily tacked a love story on to his archaeological phantasy. The beginnings of a change in Hanold were not shown only in his abandoning his delusion. Simultaneously, and before his delusion was cleared up, an unmistakable craving for love awakened in him, which found its outcome in his courting the girl who had freed him from his delusion. The procedure which Zoe adopts for curing her childhood friend’s delusion agrees with the therapeutic method, introduced by Breuer and Freud, called cathartic by Breuer and analytic by Freud. The similarity between Gradiva’s procedure and the analytic method of psychotherapy includes: the making conscious of what has been repressed, the coinciding of explanation with cure, and the awakening of feelings. The latent dream thoughts in Gradivaare day’s residues. But in order for a dream to develop out of them, the cooperation of a wish (usually an unconscious one) is required; this contributes the motive force for constructing the dream, while the day’s residues provide the material. The first was a wish to have been present as an eyewitness at the catastrophe in the year 79. The other wish was to be there when the girl he loved lay down to sleep. Two other stories by Jensen (The Red Parasol and In the Gothic House) were discussed in the postscript to the second edition. All 3 stories treat the same theme: the development of a love as an aftereffect of an intimate association in childhood of a brother and sister kind.
Psycho-analysis and the establishment of the facts in legal proceedings (1959). Editor’s note.
Psychoanalysis and the Establishment of the Facts in Legal Proceedings was originally delivered in June 1906 as a lecture. The lecture is of some historical interest, since it contains Freud’s first published mention of the name of Jung. Its whole purpose seemed to be to introduce the Zurich association experiments and the theory of complexes to Vienna students. Association experiments were first systematically made by Wundt, and later introduced into psychiatry by Kraepelin and, more especially, Aschaffenburg. The Zurich findings were chiefly of interest for the stress they laid on the importance of one particular factor in influencing the reactions. This factor was described as an emotionally colored ideational complex. This is explained as meaning the totality of ideas relating to a particular emotionally colored event.
Psycho-analysis and the establishment of the facts in legal proceedings (1906).
There is a growing recognition of the untrustworthiness of statements made by witnesses, on which many convictions are based in court cases. A new method of investigation, the aim of which is to compel the accused person himself to establish his own guilt or innocence by objective signs, is presented. The method consists of a psychological experiment and is based on psychological research. A word is called out to the subject and he replies as quickly as possible with some other word that occurs to him, his choice of this reaction not being restricted by anything. The points to be observed are the time required for the reaction and the relation between the stimulus word and the reaction word. It has become customary to speak of an ideational content which is able to influence the reaction to the stimulus word, as a complex. This influence works either by the stimulus word touching the complex directly or by the complex succeeding in making a connection with the word through intermediate links. The following reactions to the stimulus word can be observed. The content of the reaction may be unusual. The reaction time may be prolonged. There may be a mistake in reproducing the reaction. The phenomenon of perseveration may occur. It was suggested that the legal profession adopt the experimental method presented by Freud in an effort to establish guilt or innocence by objective signs.
Obsessive actions and religious practices (1907).
Obsessive Actions and Religious Practices was written in February 1907. This was Freud’s introductory incursion into the psychology of religion. Freud was struck by the resemblance between obsessive actions in sufferers from nervous disorders and the observances by means of which believers give expression to their piety. People who carry out obsessive actions or ceremonials belong to the same class as those who suffer from obsessive thinking, obsessive ideas, obsessive impulses, and the like. Neurotic ceremonials consist in making small adjustments to particular everyday actions, small additions or restrictions or arrangements which have always to be carried out in the same, or in a methodically varied manner. Any activities may become obsessive actions if they are elaborated by small additions or given a rhythmic character. In obsessive actions everything has its meaning and can be interpreted. The same is true of ceremonials in the strict sense. A ceremonial starts as an action for defense or insurance, a protective measure. The sense of guilt of obsessional neurotics finds its counterpart in the protestations of pious people that they know at heart they are miserable sinners; and the pious observances with which such people preface every daily act, seem to have the value of defensive or protective measures. Obsessional neurosis is regarded as a pathological counterpart of the formation of a religion. That neurosis is described as an individual religiosity and religion is described as a universal obsession.
The sexual enlightenment of children (1907)
The Sexual Enlightenment of Children was written at the request of a Hamburg doctor, Dr. M. Furst, for publication in a periodical devoted to social medicine and hygiene of which he was the editor. It is commonly believed that the sexual instinct is absent in children and only begins to emerge in them at puberty when the sexual organs mature. This is a gross error, equally serious in its effects both on knowledge and on practice. The newborn baby brings sexuality with it into the world, certain sexual sensations accompany its development as a suckling and during early childhood, and only very few children would seem to escape sexual activities and sensations before puberty. A child’s intellectual interest in the riddles of sex, his desire for sexual knowledge, shows itself at an unexpectedly early age. The question of the origin of babies also exercises a child’s mind. This is usually started by the unwelcome arrival of a small brother or sister. Freud does not think that there is a single good reason for denying children the enlightenment which their thirst for knowledge demands. The child’s curiosity will never reach a very high degree of intensity unless it finds appropriate satisfaction at each stage of his learning. Enlightenment about the specific facts of human sexuality and an indication of its social significance should, therefore, be given to the child at the end of his elementary school years and before he enters his intermediate school, i.e.,before he is 10 years old.
Creative writers and day-dreaming (1908).
Creative Wnters and Day Dreaming was originally delivered as a lecture on December 6, 1907. Every child at play behaves like a creative writer in that he creates a world of his own or rearranges the things of his world in a new way which pleases him. The opposite of play is not what is serious but what is real. The creative writer does the same thing as the child at play: he creates a world of phantasy which he takes very seriously. As people grow up, they cease to play, and they seem to give up the yield of pleasure which they gained from playing. The growing child, when he stops playing, gives up nothing but the link with real objects; instead of playing, he now phantasizes. People’s phantasies are less easy to observe than the play of children. The adult is ashamed of his phantasies and hides them from other people. A child’s play is determined by wishes: by a single wish, one that helps in his upbringing, the wish to be big and grow up. The motive forces of phantasies are unsatisfied wishes, and every phantasy is the fulfillment of a wish, a correction of unsatisfying reality. A strong experience in the present awakens in the creative writer a memory of an earlier experience from which there proceeds a wish which finds its fulfillment in the creative work. The work itself exhibits elements of the recent provoking occasion as well as of the old memory.
Hysterical phantasies and their relation to bisexuality (1908).
Hysterical Phantasies and Their Relation to Bisexuality consists of a discussion of the relation between phantasies and symptoms. A common source and normal prototype of all the creations of phantasy is found in the day dreams of youth. They occur with equal frequency in both sexes. In girls and women, they are of an erotic nature; in men they may be either erotic or ambitious. A closer investigation of a man’s day dreams shows that all his heroic exploits are carried out and all his successes achieved in order to please a woman and to be preferred by her to other men. These phantasies are satisfactions of wishes proceeding from deprivation and longing. The day dreams are cathected with a large amount of interest. Unconscious phantasies have either been unconscious all along and have been formed in the unconscious, or they were once conscious phantasies, day dreams, and have since been purposely forgotten and have become unconscious through repression. Unconscious phantasies are the immediate psychical precursors of a number of hysterical symptoms. The following characteristics of hysterical symptoms are presented:mnemic symbols, substitutes, an expression of the fulfillment of a wish, the realization of an unconscious phantasy. They serve the purpose of sexual satisfaction, correspond to a return of a mode of sexual satisfaction, arise as a compromise between 2 opposite affective and instinctual impulses, are never without a sexual significance, and are the expression of a masculine unconscious sexual phantasy and also a feminine one. The bisexual nature of hysterical symptoms is a confirmation of the view that the postulated existence of an innate bisexual disposition in man is clearly visible in the analysis of psychoneurotics.
Character and anal erotism (1908).
The relationship between character and anal eroticism is discussed. The people that Freud describes are noteworthy for a regular combination of the 3 following characteristics. They are especially orderly, parsimonious, and obstinate. These people took a comparatively long time to overcome their infantile fecal incontinence, and even in later childhood they suffered from isolated failures of this function. Anal erotism is one of the components of the sexual instinct which, in the course of development and in accordance with the education demanded by our present civilization, has become unserviceable for sexual aims. It is therefore plausible to suppose that these character traits of orderliness, parsimony, and obstinacy, which are so often prominent in people who were formerly anal erotics, are to be regarded as the first and most constant results of the sublimation of anal erotism. Freud theorizes that the permanent character traits are either unchanged prolongations of the original instincts, or sublimations of those instincts, or reaction formations against them.
‘Civilized’ sexual morality and modern nervous illness(1908).
Civilized Sexual Morality and Modern Nervous Illness was the earliest of Freud’s full length discussions of the antagonism between civilization and instinctual life. It is not difficult to suppose that under the domination of a civilized sexual morality the health and efficiency of single individuals may be liable to impairment and that ultimately this injury, caused by the sacrifices imposed on them, may reach such a pitch that, by this indirect path, the cultural aim in view will be endangered as well. The injurious influence of civilization reduces itself to the harmful suppression of the sexual life of civilized peoples through the ‘civilized’ sexual morality prevalent in them. Careful clinical observation allows us to distinguish 2 groups of nervous disorders: the neuroses and the psychoneuroses. In the former, the disturbances, whether they show their effects in somatic or mental functioning, appear to be of a toxic nature. The sexual factor is essential in the causation of the neurosis. With the psychoneuroses, the influence of heredity is more marked and the causation less transparent. Here the psychogenic symptoms of the psychoneuroses show a sexual content in their unconscious complexes. Generally speaking, our civilization is built upon the suppression of instincts. In man, the sexual instinct does not originally serve the purposes of reproduction at all, but has as its aim the gaining of particular kinds of pleasure. Bearing in mind the evolution of the sexual instinct, 3 stages of civilization can be distinguished: 1) one in which the sexual instinct may be freely exercised without regard to the aims of reproduction; 2) one in which all of the sexual instinct is suppressed except what serves the aims of reproduction; (this includes discussion of perversions which do not serve this aim) and 3) one in which only legitimate reproduction (within marriage) is allowed as a sexual aim. This third stage is reflected in our present civilized sexual morality. The sexual behavior of a human often lays down the pattern for all his other modes of reaction to life. The question is raised whether our civilized sexual morality is worth the sacrifice (neuroses) it imposes upon us.
On the sexual theories of children.
On the Sexual Theories of Children presents the notions of fertilization through the mouth, of birth through the anus, of parental intercourse as something sadistic, and of the possession of a penis by members of both sexes. The material is derived from several sources: the direct observation of what children say and do; what adult neurotics consciously remember from their childhood and relate during psychoanalytic treatment; and the inferences and constructions and the unconscious memories translated into conscious material, which result from the psychoanalysis of neurotics. The false sexual theories all contain a fragment of truth. Childhood opinions about the nature or marriage, which are not seldom retained by conscious memory, have great significance for the symptomatology of later neurotic illness.
Some general remarks on hysterical attacks (1909).
When one carries out the psychoanalysis of a hysterical woman whose complaint is manifested in attacks, one soon becomes convinced that these attacks are nothing else but phantasies translated into the motor sphere, projected on to motility and portrayed in pantomime. A hysterical attack needs to be subjected to the same interpretive revision as that employed for night dreams. The attack becomes unintelligible since it represents several phantasies in the same material simultaneously. The attack becomes obscured because the patient attempts to carry out the activities of both the figures who appear in the phantasy through multiple identification. The onset of hysterical attacks follows certain laws. Since the repressed complex consists of a libidinal cathexis and an ideational content, the attack can be evoked associatively, organically, in the service of the primary purpose, or in the service of the secondary purposes. Investigation of the childhood history of hysterical patients shows that the hysterical attack is designed to take the place of an autoerotic satisfaction previously practiced and since given up. What points the way for the motor discharge of the repressed libido in a hysterical attack is the reflex mechanism of the act of coition, a mechanism which is ready to hand in everybody, including women, and which we see coming into manifest operation when an unrestrained surrender is made to sexual activity.
Family romance (1909).
The psychology of the neuroses teaches us that, among other factors, the most intense impulses of sexual rivalry contribute to the feeling of being slighted. As a child grows up and tries to break away from the authority of his parents he regards this authority as hostility and responds by feeling that his own affection is not reciprocated fully. A boy has more hostile impulses towards his father than his mother. The next of later stages in the development of the neurotic’s estrangement from his parents is described as ‘the neurotic’s family romance.’ When the child comes to know the difference in the parts played by fathers and mothers in their sexual relations, the family romance undergoes a curious curtailment: it contents itself with exalting the child’s father, but no longer casts any doubt on his maternal origin. This second (sexual) stage of the family romance is actuated by another motive as well, which is absent in the first (asexual) stage. The child, having learned about sexual processes, tends to picture to himself erotic situations and relations, the motive force behind this being his desire to bring his mother into situations of secret infidelity and into secret love affairs. In this way the child’s phantasies, which started by being asexual, are brought up to the level of his later knowledge. The overvaluation that characterizes a child’s earliest years is evident in these phantasies.
Contribution to a questionnaire on reading (1907).
Freud is asked to name 10 good books. The books that he names are:
Multatuli, Letters and Works;
Kipling, Jungle Book;
Anatole France, Sur la Pierre Blanche;
Merezhkovsky, Leonardo da Vinci;
G. Keller, Leute von Seldwyla;
C. F. Meyer, Huttens Letzte Tage;
Gomperz, Griechisehe Denker;
Mark Twain, Sketches.
Prospectus for Schriften zur angewandten Seelenkunde (1907).
The Schriften zur angewandten Seelenkunde (Papers on Applied Mental Science) are aimed at that wider circle of educated people who, without actually being philosophers or medical men, are nevertheless able to appreciate the science of the human mind for its significance in the understanding and deepening of our lives. Each paper deals with a single subject. Collectively they will attempt to apply psychological knowledge to subjects in art and literature, in the history of civilizations and religions, and in analogous fields. The series is open to the exponents of divergent opinions and hopes to be able to give expression to the variety of points of view and principles in contemporary science.
Preface to Wilhelm Stekel’s ‘Nervous anxiety-states and their treatment’ (1908).
Freud’s investigations into the etiology and psychical mechanism of neurotic illnesses, which he pursued since 1893, attracted little notice in the beginning among his fellow specialists. At length, however, those investigations have met with recognition from a number of medical research workers and have also drawn attention to the psychoanalytic methods of examination and treatment. Dr. Wilhelm Stekel, who was one of the first of the colleagues to whom Freud was able to impart a knowledge of psychoanalysis, and who has himself become familiar with its technique through many years of practice, has now undertaken the task of working over one topic in the clinical aspects of these neuroses on the basis of Freud’s views and of presenting medical readers with the experiences he has obtained through the psychoanalytic method. Dr. Stekel’s work is founded upon rich experience and is calculated to stimulate other physicians into confirming by their own efforts the views on the etiology of these conditions.
Preface to Sandor Ferenczi’s ‘Psycho-analysis: essays in the field of psycho-analysis’ (1910).
Psychoanalytic research into the neuroses (the various forms of nervous illness with a mental causation) has endeavored to trace their connection with instinctual life and the restriction imposed on it by the claims of civilization, with the activities of the normal individual in phantasies and dreams, with the creations of the popular mind in religion, myths, and fairy tales. Sandor Ferenczi is familiar with all the difficulties of psychoanalytic problems and is the first Hungarian to undertake the task of creating an interest in psychoanalysis among doctors and men of education in his own country through writings composed in their mother tongue.
Contributions to the ‘Neue Freje Presse’ (1903-1904).
Three contributions to the Neue Freie Presse are presented. In the review of George Biedenkapp’s Im Kampfe Gegen Himbacillen, Freud states that concealed behind this somewhat unpromising title is the book of a brave man who succeeds in presenting much that is worthy of consideration. Biedenkapp is fighting against those, “little words and arrangements of words which exclude or include too much,” and which reveal, in people who have the habit of using them for preference, a tendency towards, “exclusive or superlative judgments.” The exhortation to moderation in judgment and expression serves the author only as a point of departure for further discussions on other errors of thought of human beings, on the central delusion, faith, on atheistic morality, etc. In a review of John Bigelow’s The Mysteiy of Sleep, Freud states that solving the mystery of sleep might well have been reserved to science; the author, however, operates with biblical arguments and teleological causes. Bigelow states that the important processes of unconscious mental and even intellectual activity continue even during profound sleep – The obituary of Professor S. Hammerschlag (a Jewish religious teacher) reveals him as one of those personalities who possess the gift of leaving ineradicable impressions on the development of their pupils.
Abstracts of the Standard Edition of
the Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud
Carrie Lee Rothgeb, Editor