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A moment of transition : two neuroscientific articles by Sigmund Freud

By Sigmund Freud

Among 1877 and 1900, Sigmund Freud released over 100 neuroscientific works, in simple terms seven of that have formerly seemed in English translation. Aphasie and Gehirn, the 2 articles provided in A second of Transition, have been initially composed in 1888 as dictionary entries for the Handwortebuch der gesamten Medizin edited via Albert Villaret. They consequently date from a pivotal interval of Freud's occupation whilst a becoming curiosity in psychology had already began to vie with strictly neurological endeavors; a shift of emphasis mirrored within the novel and self sustaining conceptual place followed in either papers, prefiguring Freud's later paintings On Aphasia and likely points of the venture for a systematic Psychology. Freud's specialist improvement in this interval is revealing. In 1885-86 he had studied lower than Jean-Martin Charcot in Paris. On his go back to Vienna in 1886 he gave papers on hypnotism and hysteria, and made translations of Charcot's latest lectures. within the following yr he followed Joseph Breuer's 'cathartic approach' for the remedy of hysterical sufferers, and produced experiences of anxiety and neurasthenia. In 1888-the yr of Aphasie and Gehirn-two extra papers on hysteria have been published.In the tremendous remark which accompanies the translations, Mark Solms and Michael Saling first of all determine Freud's authorship of the 2 articles, after which embark upon a serious exam of the literature up to now dedicated to them. They speak about the capability value of Aphasie and Gehirn, and current specified arguments to illustrate their value either one of the heritage of psychoanalysis and for the background of neuroscience.

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He also concluded that they were preparatory studies for Freud's (1891b)book On Aphasia. Jones (1953) then mentioned the two articles in the first volume of his biography of Freud. Jones argued that, contrary to Freud's assertion (Freud, 1925d, p. 18, cited above), 'Aphasie' was probably not the source of his interest in aphasia. Jones noted that Freud had lectured on the subject of aphasia as early as 1886 and that Freud wrote in On Aphasia (p. 66 n. " The English translation of the Freud-Fliess correspondence appeared in 1954.

Within the next decade or so Freud wrote his most significant and his last neurological studies (Freud & Rie, 1891a; Freud, 1891b, 1897a, 1900b). During the same period he wrote his seminal psychological and psychoanalytical works: the 'Preliminary communication' (Freud, 1893a1, 'The neuro-psychoses of defence' (Freud, 18941, the 'Anxiety neurosis' (Freud, 18951, the Studies on Hysteria (Freud, 1895), the 'Project' (Freud, 1950a [ 1895 I), and The Interpretation of Dreams (Freud, 1900a). Thus, historically speaking, 'Aphasie' and 'Gehirn' sit astride the two major periods of Freud's working life.

Riese (1958)called it 'a rare and brilliant piece of medical thought' (p. 289). Today it is considered to be a classic and standard work in neurology (Triarhou & del Cerro, 1985). It is cited in even the most general neuropsychological textbooks (Walsh, 1978; Heilman & Valenstein, 1979; Kolb & Whishaw, 1980; Luria, 1980). It is therefore highly noteworthy that 'Aphasie' was written three years before On Aphasia and, more importantly perhaps, that it was his only other published work on the subject of aphasia.

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