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How translations of Freud's writings have influenced French psychoanalytic thinking.

Authors
  • Quinodoz, Jean-Michel
Type
Published Article
Journal
The International journal of psycho-analysis
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2010
Volume
91
Issue
4
Pages
695–716
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-8315.2008.00117.x
PMID: 20840634
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Translations of Freud 's writings have had a lasting influence on psychoanalytic thinking in France. They have, all the same, given rise to some conceptual distortions as regards the ego and the id, the ideal ego and the ego ideal, and splitting. Lacan's 'return to Freud ' certainly reawakened interest in Freud 's writings; however, by focusing mainly on Freud 's early work, Lacan's personal reading played down the importance of the texts Freud wrote after his metapsychological papers of 1915. The fact that there is no French edition of Freud 's complete works makes it difficult for French psychoanalysts to put them in a proper context with respect to his developments as a whole. The Oeuvres Complètes [Complete Works] edition may well turn out to be the equivalent of the Standard Edition, but it is as yet far from complete - and, since the vocabulary employed is far removed from everyday language, those volumes already in print tend to make the general public less likely to read Freud. In this paper, the author evokes certain questions that go beyond the French example, such as the impact that translations have within other psychoanalytic contexts. Now that English has become more or less the lingua franca for communication between psychoanalysts, we have to face up to new challenges if we are to avoid a twofold risk: that of mere standardization, as well as that of a 'Babelization' of psychoanalysis.

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