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Anna Freud’s Misgivings with the Freud-Jung Letters

Int. Forum Psychoanal 5: 227-232, 1996

“Should this Remain?” Anna Freud’s Misgivings Concerning the Freud-Jung Letters ~Sonu Shamdasani, London, England

The Freud-Jung letters were the first major correspondence in which Freud’s letters were published in an unexpurgated form.

Through a study of the unpublished editorial correspondence, this essay demonstrates that the uncensored publication was achieved despite Anna Freud’s strong opposition, represented by a memorandum she wrote in 1970 entitled “Reservations for the edition,” which is published here in translation for the first time.

It is argued that the resistance to Anna Freud’s demands by the editors may be seen to have marked a decisive turn in how Freud’s correspondences were edited.

Sonu Shamdasani, The Welcome Instilute for the History of Medicine, 183, Euston Road, London N W3 2SJ. England In 1974, the long awaited Freud-Jung letters were published to much acclaim, edited by William McGuire in English, and by McGuire and Wolfgang Sauerlander in German (1,2; subsequent editions contained corrections and additional annotations).

Newsweek hailed it as “The Great Shrink Schism.”(3)

After years of censored editions of Freud’s letters, it represented the first unexpurgated edition of one of Freud’s major correspondences.

The wealth of detailed annotations, editorial commentaries and appendices, which were presented in a scholarly and nonpartisan manner, far exceeded what had been given in previous editions of Freud’s correspondences, and rightly set a template and standard for subsequent editions of Freud’s correspondences (the same, unfortunately, cannot be said of the standard of the translation, and in many respects, a new translation would certainly be desirable-this issue will be taken up elsewhere).

Indeed, a large proportion of the articles and books on the Freud-Jung relation that followed were heavily dependent upon the material in the footnotes, which opened an invaluable window into turn of the century psychology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis.

The censorship of Freud’s correspondences and the attempt to manipulate and control his public image has come in for much criticism.

However, with the notable exception of Peter Swales’ landmark “Freud and the unconscionable: the obstruction of Freud studies, 1946-2 I 13,”(4) there has been comparatively less historical work documenting the means by which this censorship was effected, or, as the case might be, resisted, to which the following is a contribution.

In his introduction, William McGuire gave an account of the protracted diplomatic efforts over several decades to secure the publication of the correspondence.

He stated that there were two sets of deletions: at the request of both families, the names of analysands had been replaced by initials, and that at the request of the Jung family, certain passages referring to figures whose near relatives might have still been alive had been deleted (1, xxxviii).

Whilst McGuire cited a letter from Kurt Eissler to Jung of 13 August 1958 stating that “there can be no doubt that anything which might offend anyone who was under your treatment or a descendant of such persons should not be published,” (1, xxvii) the subsequent radical departure in editorial policy was not explicitly discussed in the introduction.

A study of the correspondence pertaining to the publication of the Freud-Jung letters in the Anna Freud collection in the Library of Congress and at Sigmund Freud Copyrights sheds light on this issue.

In particular, it emerges that the fact that Freud’s letters to Jung appeared in an unexpurgated form (aside from the disguising of patients’ names) was not acheived without serious contestation from Anna Freud.

0 Scandinavian University Press 1996. ISSN 0803-706X Downloaded by [University of Sussex Library] at 07:48 15 January 2015 Anna Freud had had reservations concerning McGuire’s introduction.

On 22 November 1973, she wrote to Mark Paterson that “according to my feeling he goes into too many details which cannot be of much interest to the reader and I am going to write that to him in a letter.”  (Sigmund Freud Copyrights).

Interestingly enough, McGuire’s introduction had not been initially intended to stand alone.

On 3 August 1970, he had written to Paterson conveying Ilse Grubrich-Simitis’ suggestion that there should be an introduction delineating the situation of psychoanalysis between 1906-14.

He added that he thought that Eissler would be an “excellent choice” for this introduction, which would be supplemented by a note on editorial methods and how the letters came to be published (Sigmund Freud Copyrights).

For Eissler’s virulent championing of Freud against Jung, see his Three Instances of Injustice (5).

At some stage in the course of 1970, Anna Freud prepared a list of proposed cuts in Freud’s letters to Jung, as on 7 January 1971, Mark Paterson wrote to Franz Jung informing him that she had composed a list of “possibly hurtful remarks about living persons”.  (Sigmund Freud Copyrights).

Her list contained a list of patients’ names that she thought ought to be disguised, together with comments

concerning analysts, authors and scientists which she thought ought to be cut or modified.

With one exception, the patients’ names were indeed disguised in the published version.

On the latter issue, however, the editors resisted her request, and the comments remained in the published edition.

This episode is significant, as in the earlier editions of Freud’s correspondences, her proposed cuts would doubtless have been automatically carried out.

Anna Freud’s proposed cuts were important for the following reason.

The rhetoric of enmity plays a significant role in the Freud-Jung letters, which are liberally peppered with satirical and vituperative comments concerning numerous individuals in psychological, psychiatric and psychoanalytic circles.

This rhetoric was an integral part of their figuration of the establishment of psychoanalysis as a military campaign, in which figures were sorted into friend or foe.

To conceal this by omitting or altering statements would consequently render illegible the very means by which

Freud (and temporarily Jung) sought to establish the dominance of psychoanalysis.

Indeed, Jung would later characterise psychoanalytic interpretation per se as constituting an act of denigration (6).

Anna Freud’s list is reproduced here in translation.

She wrote her remarks in note form with grammatical irregularities, and this has been preserved.

As her line and page references to the manuscript bear no relation to the published editions, these have been replaced with references to the first English edition (1).

At the request of Sigmund Freud Copyrights, five patients’ names have not been reproduced here.

However, patients’ names on both sides of the correspondence are legible in the holographs of the letters, which are freely accessible at Sigmund Freud Copyrights and at the Library of Congress.

In a few places, further page references have also been supplied in square brackets to aid comparison with the published text.

Comments in square brackets are my own.

Compilation of reservations for the edition It is important to state that none of the reservations listed here refer to the relationship between Freud and Jung.

What comes into question are exclusively considerations of discretion with regard to patients or with regard to remarks about close colleagues of the psychoanalytic community or distant scientists in bordering fields of knowledge.

Criticisms of the latter are exercised in a very free manner and with strong expressions, which is to say, in a manner that is usual in private correspondence, but which on no account is intended for the public.

Such expressions have to be moderated or omitted if they are not to cause offence to the public or to surviving relatives.

Since they probably appear not only in the Freud-letters, but also in the Jung letters, it is important to make such omissions with the consent of the Jung-family.

Herr Franz Jung has already indicated to me in conversation that it is necessary to take into consideration the sensitivities in Switzerland and I suppose that he particularly had the remarks about Bleuler in mind.

Reservations regarding patients The following analytic patients are mentioned by name in the letters:

Dr. B. in the letter of 24.11.07 (99; 8.12.07, 102; 1.1.08, 106.

It is mentioned that after a serious breakdown [Zerriittung] he recovered through the treatment of Federn.