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(1919 [1915])


The diary is a little gem. I really believe it has never before been possible to obtain such a clear and truthful view of the mental impulses that characterize the development of a girl in our social and cultural stratum during the years before puberty. We are shown how her feelings grow up out of a childish egoism till they reach social maturity; we learn what form is first assumed by her relations with her parents and with her brothers and sisters and how they gradually gain in seriousness and inward feeling; how friendships are made and broken; how her affection feels its way towards her first objects; and, above all, how the secret of sexual life begins to dawn on her indistinctly and then takes complete possession of the child’s mind; how, in the consciousness of her secret knowledge, she at first suffers hurt, but little by little overcomes it. All of this is so charmingly, so naturally, and so gravely expressed in these artless notes that they cannot fail to arouse the greatest interest in educators and psychologists . . . It is your duty, I think, to publish the diary. My readers will be grateful to you for it.







What I am here offering the public as an ‘Introduction to Psycho-Analysis’ is not designed to compete in any way with such general accounts of this field of knowledge as are already in existence, e.g. those of Hitschmann (1913), Pfister (1913), Kaplan (1914), Régis and Hesnard (1914) and Meijer (1915). This volume is a faithful reproduction of the lectures which I delivered during the two Winter Terms 1915/16 and 1916/17 before an audience of doctors and laymen of both sexes.


Any peculiarities of this book which may strike its readers are accounted for by the conditions in which it originated. It was not possible in my presentation to preserve the unruffled calm of a scientific treatise. On the contrary, the lecturer had to make it his business to prevent his audience’s attention from lapsing during a session lasting for almost two hours. The necessities of the moment often made it impossible to avoid repetitions in treating some particular subject - it might emerge once, for instance, in connection with dream-interpretation and then again later on in connection with the problems of the neuroses. As a result, too, of the way in which the material was arranged, some important topics (the unconscious, for instance) could not be exhaustively treated at a single point, but had to be taken up repeatedly and then dropped again until a fresh opportunity arose for adding some further information about it.


Those who are familiar with psycho-analytic literature will find little in this ‘Introduction’ that could not have been known to them already from other much more detailed publications. Nevertheless, the need for rounding-off and summarizing the subject-matter has compelled the author at certain points (the aetiology of anxiety and hysterical phantasies) to bring forward material that he has hitherto held back.




VIENNA, Spring 19177




These lectures were delivered in 1916 and 1917; they gave a fairly accurate account of the position of the young science at that period and they contained more than their title indicated. They provided not only an introduction to psycho-analysis but covered the greater part of its subject-matter. This is naturally no longer true. Advances have in the meantime taken place in its theory and important additions have been made to it, such as the division of the personality into an ego, a super-ego and an id, a radical alteration in the theory of the instincts, and discoveries concerning the origin of conscience and the sense of guilt. These lectures have thus become to a large extent incomplete; it is in fact only now that they have become truly ‘introductory’. But in another sense, even to-day they have not been superseded or become obsolete. What they contain is still believed and taught, apart from a few modifications, in psycho-analytic training schools.


Readers of Hebrew and especially young people eager for knowledge are presented in this volume with psycho-analysis clothed in the ancient language which has been awakened to a new life by the will of the Jewish people. The author can well picture the problem which this has set its translator. Nor need he suppress his doubt whether Moses and the Prophets would have found these Hebrew lectures intelligible. But he begs their descendants (among whom he himself is numbered), for whom this book is designed, not to react too quickly to their first impulses of criticism and dislike by rejecting it. Psycho-analysis brings forward so much that is new, and among it so much that contradicts traditional opinions and wounds deeply rooted feelings, that it is bound at first to provoke denial. A reader who suspends his judgement and allows psycho-analysis as a whole to make its impression on him will perhaps become open to a conviction that even this undesired novelty is worth knowing and is indispensable for anyone who wishes to understand the mind and human life.


VIENNA, December 19308





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