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Back to Freud's Texts

Making Silent Documents Speak

Ilse Grubrich-Simitis; Translated by Philip Slotkin

View Inside Price: $66.00


November 24, 1996
348 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
ISBN: 9780300066319
Cloth

This book blazes a trail in Freud research. Ilse Grubrich-Simitis, a prominent authority on Freud, examines and deciphers Freud's original manuscripts—which had remained disregarded for decades. From these she analyzes Freud's method of working and points out what the writings reveal of his psychological states, the events in his life, and the development of his thinking over time. The book is at once a study of Freud's creativity as a scientist and writer, an important reference on the texts themselves, and a commentary on previously unexplored aspects of Freud's life and work.

Examining many hitherto unknown texts, Grubrich-Simitis provides a fresh and authentic picture of the discoverer of the unconscious at work: observing, listening to his patients, gathering the raw material for his oeuvre, fantasizing, drawing conclusions, drafting, rewriting, and correcting. She refutes the legend of the facility of Freud's production, for the notes, drafts, fair copies, and variants she identifies bear witness to the fact that almost every work actually came into being by a process of consuming hard labor. Grubrich-Simitis's analysis of Freud's manuscripts is flanked by two shorter sections on Freud's printed texts: in one she recounts the history of the editions from the beginnings in Vienna to the present day, and in the other she offers a detailed plan for a new historical-critical edition of his works.

Ilse Grubrich-Simitis is a psychoanalyst in Frankfurt, a member of the International Psychoanalytical Association, a training and supervising analyst at the German Psychoanalytical Association, and a writer and Freud editor.

A selection of Readers’ Subscription

"A substantial step toward more articulated comprehension [of Freud]. . . . An important contribution to the growing understanding of Freud as a mind and as a writer."—Steven Marcus, New York Times Book Review

"A brilliant piece of scholarship by a careful researcher and its appearance in English is cause for celebration."—Psychological Books: A Quarterly Journal of Reviews

"[A] brilliant book, which ponders fascinating questions about Freud's way of working, derived from looking closely at the manuscripts penned by him, showing successive rearrangements in notes, drafts, and fair copies. Her thesis is that this kind of careful detective work more accurately reveals his authorial intentions and the methods of theory building in his unfolding oeuvre than any psychological speculation about his attitudes."—Choice

"In this fascinating study, the author, an expert on Freud, examines his original manuscripts. Her detailed exploration includes analysis of his notes, drafts, copies, variants, first versions, posthumous publications, and unpublished material."—Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic

"In this elegant volume, Grubrich-Simitis traces with depth and learning the very mystic writing pad behind Freud's writings."—Jonathan Sklar, British Journal of Psychiatry

"Calling all Freud critics and disciples: you will enjoy reading this very detailed, thoroughly researched and historically authoritative volume on Freud and his writings."—Kamaldeep Bhui, International Review of Psychiatry

"This study of Freud's texts, originally published in German in 1993 and skillfully translated here by Philip Slotkin, is an important event in the development of our understanding of Freud's ideas and writing. . . . Back to Freud's Texts, Making Silent Documents Speak is a quietly impassioned argument for the close and careful study of Freud's texts. It might also be the best model we have."—International Journal of Psycho-Analysis

"This book can be counted as one of the most important events in Freud-research in many years. Back to Freuds Texts is a must for all those who are interested in Freud. It will doubtlessly prove to be of the greatest importance in this field in the future."—Kim Larsen, Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review

"Grubrich-Simitis reveals in a new way the liveliness in Freud's writing, the richness contained in the original text, the great amount of work to be done in creating a complete critical edition, and the treasures that can be found in so doing. This book will provide an inspiring incentive both to the reader approaching Freud for the first time and for the reader who is, as Grubrich-Simitis suggests, going back to Freud's texts."—Bernard M. Edelstein, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease

Winner of the 1998 Sigmund Freud Prize for Scholarly Prose