Ruth Mack Brunswick

Notes relevées par Kurt Eissler au sujet de « L’homme aux loups » dans « Comments on Erroneous Interpretations of Freud’s Seduction Theory »

(Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 1993, vol. 41, n° 2, p. 571-583.)

Notes déposées par Muriel Gardiner à la Library of Congress, Archives Freud, Washington, notes dont elle donna une copie à Kurt Eissler pour son article. Ces notes portent essentiellement sur l’« Homme aux Loups », à partir d’un souvenir retrouvé et inconnu jusqu’alors. Ce souvenir retrouvé donne un éclairage tout à fait nouveau sur le cas et sa construction, si ce n’est sur la scène centrale de la névrose. Ces notes n’ayant jamais été publiées...

Febr. 2, 1930

« [A] fragment of the analytic material concerned with the patient’s relations to his Nanya ... is perhaps the most important element came to light in our sixteen hours of the most concentrated analytic work. This fragment is a memory wich suddenly appeared, and which was entirely unknown to Professor Freud and to me, as well as to the patient, from our previous analyses. The patient is very small, less than three, almost surely less than two-and-a-half ... He goes with his Nanya to the toilet. This toilet seems to have had two seats, although this is not certain. In any case, both the patient and his Nanya have bowel movements. The patient is constipated - as he was during all his adult life ; for years he was given daily enemas by a male attendant. His Nanya tries to help him defecate ; she inserts her finger into his anus, and teaches him that by pressing with the finger in a certain way, defecation will be made easier.
We should call this anal masturbation of the little boy by his nurse. »

Elle décrit aussi dans ces notes les conditions de terminaison de l’analyse selon Freud :
« ... technically necessary, had robbed the analysis of’ its finality .... [I]t is credible that not all layers had been exhausted. In my own analysis of the Wolf-Man [of 1926-1927] his illness was so acute that apparently only the material belonging to it, immediately, appeared. With the cessation of symptoms, and the absolute failure to recover any new material whatsoever, there seemed nothing further to analyze. »

I should like to add another reason as to why the return of the memory became possible. After 1927 the Wolf Man was in a far healthier state than before, and this reduced his resistance. I shall quote a passage from Mack Brunswick’s report because it shows a side of the Wolf Man that is not too well known:

« He looked exceedingly well, alert, immaculately dressed, and cheerful .... The Wolf-Man now got along entirely easily with his fellow-workers in his office. He had no difficulties in his relations with men, whether they were equals or father-persons. Moreover, he had become much more productive in his work than ever before, especially in a mathematical direction....
I had never seen the W., during my analysis, with his normal activity toward men, women and life in general. He was a very different person from the one whom I had analyzed : energetic, quick and decided. He showed a great deal of consideration for his wife, but seemed in no way under her thumb, as he had been so markedly during his paranoia. »

« It is perhaps not an accident that the patient in whom the passive relation of the neurotic man to the father was first classically presented should now be available for the demonstration of the earliest and, in its origins, most passive of all relations, that of the child to the mother or mother substitute [p. 6]. »

« We drew the conclusion, the pt. and I, that his open seduction by his sister was also a cover memory for an earlier, far more prolonged and more generalized seduction by his nurse [p. 8]. »

« From these facts we may deduce how strongly seductive this primitive old nurse, who later became insane, was in her influence upon both children, particularly in the anal field. What I here trace back to the influence of the nurse, Freud, at a time when the role of the nurse was less well known, traced back to the influence of the primal scene. He says : "‘We cannot fail to be struck by the idea that perhaps the sister, at a similar tender age, also witnessed the same scene as was observed by her brother later on, and that it was this that had suggested to her her notion about ‘standing people on their heads’ during the sexual act. This hypothesis," Freud goes on to say, "would also give us a hint of the reason for her own [the sister’s] sexual precocity" [Freud, 1918, pp. 56-57]."
What seems likely, in view of all the facts, is that both children witnessed, at a very early age -under two years in both cases - a coitus on the part of the parents ; that both children, at this very early age, were being cared for by a particularly devoted nurse, who was very anally-erotic in character ; and that the children interpreted the coitus of their parents in terms of their own experience with their Nanya [pp. 8-91]. »

« Only at the time of the wolf dream, when the pt. was 4 yrs. old, did his full awareness of the fact of castration appear, with the remnant anxiety, and far fuller understanding of coitus was really a coitus a tergo it is impossible determine. The entire family of the pt. was so anal in character – anal intercourse was for years the sole mode of coitus with the pt. - that it may very well have been. On the other hand, we must remember that Freud says elsewhere - in the Vorlesungen – that when the primal scene is reconstructed in any given case it is almost invariably a coitus a tergo : and that this mode of sexual relations is much less common than [would] appear from the phantasies of our pts. [cf. Freud, 1916-1917, pp. 369-371]. We might say that in the present case, it need not have been a coitus a tergo, although it may well have been. The pt.’s constitution, plus his anal seduction by his Nanya - who re fused to seduce him phallically, as you will remember -, and above all, and this I should say applied to all cases, the importance of the anal care of the child in the anal regression which comes as a reaction to the discovery of castration, and the fact that coitus a tergo, or anal intercourse, obviates the necessity for the existence of the vagina, is adequate explanation for this most common form of the coitus phantasy. »


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