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Steiner, R. (1987). A World Wide International Trade Mark of Genuineness?Some Observatio... Int. R.

Psycho-Anal., 14:33-102.

(1987). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 14:33-102

A World Wide International Trade Mark of Genuineness? Some

Observations on the History of the English Translation of the Work
of Sigmund Freud, Focusing Mainly on his Technical Terms 98
Riccardo Steiner
To the memory of Mario Fubini and Franco Fornari. To Jacques Derrida, in concordia
'Ego non solum fateor sed libera voce profiteor me in interpretatione Graecorum,
absque Scripturis sanctis ubi et verborum ordo, mysterium est, non verbum e verbo
sed sensum exprimere de sensu'. Hyeronimus. Epistola L. VII ad Pammachius.
'When I use a word', Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, 'it means just
what I choose it to mean neither more nor less'.
'The question is' said Alice 'Whether you can make a word mean so many different
'The question is', said Humpty Dumpty 'Which is to be masterthat's all'. L. Carroll:
Through the Looking Glass.
bersetzungen, die mehr als Vermittlungen sind, entstehen wenn im Fortleben, ein
Werk das Zeitalter seines Ruhmes erreicht hat In ihnen erreicht das Leben des
Originals seine stets erneute spteste und umfassendeste Entfaltung Denn in
seinem Fortleben, das so nicht heissen drfte, wenn es nicht Wandlung und
Erneuerung des Lebendigen wre, ndert sich das Original. Es gibt eine Nachreife
auch der festgelegten Worte
Ja, whrend das Dichterwort in der seinigen berdauert, ist auch die grsste
bersetzung bestimmt, in das Wachstum ihrer Sprache ein in der erneuten
unterzugehen. So weit ist sie entfernt, von zwei erstorbenen Sprachen die taube
Gleichung zu sein, dass gerade unter allen Formen ihr als Eigenstes es zufllt, auf
jene Nachreife des fremden Wortes auf die Wehen des eigenen zu merken
'der grundstzliche Irrtum des bertragenden ist dass er den zuflligen Stand der
eigenen Sprache festhlt, anstatt sie durch die fremde gewaltig bewegen zu lassen
' W. Benjamin: Die Aufgabe des bersetzers.
Translations that are more than transmission of subject matter come into being when
in the course of its survival a work has reached the age of its fame The life of the
originals attain in them to its ever renewed latest and most abundant flowering For
in its afterlife which could not be called that if it were not atransformation and a
renewal of something living the original undergoes a change. Even words with a
fixed meaning can undergo a maturing process While a poet's words endure in his
own language, even the greatest translation is destined to become part of the growth
of its own language and eventually to be absorbed by its renewal Translation is so
far removed from being the sterile equation of two dead languages that of all literary
forms it is the one charged with the special mission of watching over the maturing
process of the original language and the birth pangs of its own

The basic error of the translator is that he preserves the state in which his
own language happens to be, instead of allowing his language to be powerfully
affected by the foreign tongue.' W. Benjamin: The Task of the Translator. English
translation by H. Zohn.
These observations represent a necessarily personal if at times polemical contribution to
the discussion prompted by recent writings on the subject of James Strachey's translation of
Freud. My principal reference here is to the work of Bettelheim (1983), to which I shall devote
particular attention. Bettelheimtaking but sometimes also ignoring arguments put forward

This paper is a revised and greatly enlarged version of an unpublished paper read by me, at the
special meeting on Strachey's translation of Freud, held in London in January 1984, at the Institute
of Psycho-Analysis. I would like to thank the Publication Committee for having invited me to present
the paper at that meeting.
Miss Pearl King was particularly helpful and caring in allowing me access to the Archives of
our Society and greatly helping me later on in allowing me to study Jones' papers.
I would like to thank for their help and information, Dr E. Brenman, Chairman of the Scientific
Committee of the British Psycho-Analytical Society; Prof R. Bell, PCL; Mr J. Charlton of the Hogarth
Press; Dr I Chiarandini; Mr E. da Rocha Barros; Mrs E. M. Denton, librarian of St. Pauls School,
London; Mr J. Gogena; Miss R. Graham, Manuscript Cataloguer, Trinity College Cambridge; Dr W.
Gillespie; Miss I. Hellman; Mr M. Holroyd; Mr M. Masud. R. Khan; Dr O. Jenkins, Magdalen College,
Oxford; Mr M. Jones; Prof G. Lepsky, Reading University; Prof P. Newmark, PCL; Dr J. Padel; Mr D.
Pick; Mrs D. Riviere; Dr C. Rycroft; Prof J. Sandler, London University; Dr A. Tyson; All Souls Oxford;
Dr C. Yorke.
My gratitude goes also to the administrative staff of the British Psycho-Analytical Society. Without their
help I would not have been able to do my research in the Archives of ourSociety.
I would also thank the Special Unit at Reading University concerned with the Archives of the Hogarth
Press and the Special Unit at Sussex University concerned with L. Woolf's Archives. Furthermore I
would like to thank the director of the Warburg Institute, Prof A. J. Pratt for having invited me to give a
paper on Strachey's translation in December 1985 in the series of lectures 'Uses of the Past'
organized by Prof P. Loewenthal and Mr P. Burke.
The Strachey Trust and over all the Sigmund Freud Copyrights, deserve my particular gratitude, for
having allowed me to quote from the unpublished documents concerning Strachey and from the
Freud/Jones and Freud/Strachey correspondence.
This research is supported by a grant assigned to me by the Research Committee of the British
Psycho-Analytical Society, which I would like to thank too.
(MS. received April 1986)
Copyright Institute of Psycho-Analysis
1 For obvious reasons I cannot here refer specifically to observations on Strachey's translation made
by those who have used the Standard Edition as the basis for translating Freud intoother languages.
For some idea, however, see Robert (1967), Laplanche & Pontalis (1967), Roustang (1976),
Etcheverry (1978), Granoff & Rey (1981), Paramo et al. (1982) and This & Theves (1982).
Further material of interest may be found in the copious translators' notes which preface the Italian
translation of Freud's works edited by Musatti, which has come to represent the Italian 'Standard
98 From an unpublished letter of Jones to Rank dated 18 April 1923. The question mark is mine.

- 33 by previous commentators (Brandt, 1961), (1966) ; (Brierley, 1965) ; (Brull,

1975) ; (Kaufmann, 1980) ; (Lacan, 1977) ; (Mahony, 1981, 1982), (1984a), (1984b) ;
(Ornston, 1978), (1982), (1985a), (1985b)1seems most anxious to focus attention on a
problem which, while at first glance it may appear purely technical, in fact has profoundly
influenced the reading and interpretation of Freud's text, and its consequent application in
everyday clinical practice; this has affected at least three generations of English-speaking
psychoanalysts, as well as those of other mother-tongues.

Bettelhelm argues justifiably and persuasively for the recovery of what might be defined
as the 'unheimliche Heimlichkeit' of much of the thinking and language of Freud, and thus of
most psychoanalytical discourse. In addition, he re-proposesat times somewhat
questionablythe problem of 'Unheimlichkeit' pure and simple, that confronts the translator
of a text such as that of Freud out of the original into a foreign language, and thus the
difficulty of understanding or even of practising psychoanalysis for those not familiar with
Freud's German, nor belonging to the same cultural world (Bettelheim, 1983, pp. 45
In the light of questions raised not only by Bettelheim but also by others who have
recently taken an interest in Strachey's translation (Ornston's studies are a case in point), I
have chosen an historical approach to the subject, giving an outline of the
diverse character and numerous implications that lie behind the single name of Strachey and
pervade his work. I must stress that this is merely a rough sketch, intended to stimulate
further research, and lays no claim whatsoever to comprehensiveness. After all, I have had
to reckon with the limits imposed by a paper, even an unusually long one, and with the
difficulties that an approach such as mine has inevitably encountered, not least the problems
of tracing or gaining access to various documents.
But why resort to history, one might ask, when here and now the criticisms levelled at
Strachey and at the real or presumed errors attributed to his translation are of such
immediacy? My reply cannot but be personal, to a great extent. Although by no means
subscribing to a uniquely linear model of historical progress, in which pure, unadulterated
chronological order can alone furnish the definitive guarantee of getting the facts straight, I
nevertheless believe that, for all its shortcomings and with all the amendments one might
make to it, there is still much to be said for the intellectual tradition which maintains that the
true proposition of all historical research is always the present, even when we are
investigating the past. It is precisely the present with all its doubts and uncertainties, tensions
and frustrations which prompts us to try and understand the past to which such feelings are
tied, the better to interpret and clarify, if not resolve them.
This line of reasoning inevitably leads to the denial of the existence of any atomistically
conceived here and now. Any such approach or method of research arises out of a
reductionism often arrogant in its naivety and deriving from the lowest empiricism; and it can
end in all sorts of distortion, dogmatism and exaggeration if we ignore the existence of
the there and at that time, whose presence can nonetheless still be felt. And unless the
nature of this presence and the reasons behind it are fully grasped and interpreted, endless
confusion and misunderstanding can ensue, contributing to the continual recycling of certain
mistakes. This, then, is an attempt to reconstruct the history of how the Standard Edition of
Freud in translation came into being; to shed light upon all that the solitary signature of one
translator, Strachey, conceals; to clarify what lies behind his linguistic choices; and to assess
the implications of his cultural background. In so doing it is not my intention further to justify
certain of Strachey's mistakes, nor to furnish his critics with additional ammunition. Granted,
an historical approach may sometimes, as I shall endeavour to show, demystify certain
assumptions and re-attribute in more appropriate
- 34 quarters certain responsibilities arising from the at times excessive vis polemica Strachey's
translation seems to have succeeded in sparking off. All this, however, is incidental.
The primary concern of this study is to contribute towards a more precise understanding of
the nature of our relationship, as readers and interpreters, to the text and the thought of

Freud today, such as these have been mediated through Strachey's translation; and, in view
of this, to help towards deciding in what way and to what extent we should modify the text of
this translation.
I should add, in passing, that the issues involved in a study of Strachey's translation
themselves pose a further question, namely, the problem of our relationship as readers,
interpreters and practitioners of Freud's message when that message comes to us through
the mediation of any kind of translation; or, indeed, whether, in the case of a text such as
Freud's, there can exist any relationship which is not inevitably filtered via some form of
'translation'. A full analysis of the ensuing implications clearly lies beyond the scope of this
study, although I may proffer some comments of my own on this score in my concluding
But my adoption of an historical perspective cannot simply be put down to some strange
personal quirk, or a predilection for archaeology; this much is borne out by the insights
derived in the case of other major translations from a study of their nature, significance
and history.
To anyone having a working knowledge of the problems associated with translation
theory and its history it will be evident from the merest glance at some of the most
representative recent literature on the subject (Mounin, 1955) ; (Savory, 1957) ; (Terracini,
1957) ; (Arrowsmith & Shattuck, 1961) ; (Cohen, 1962) ; (Mounin, 1963) ;(Strig, 1963) ;
the numerous fundamental texts, among them Jakobson's contained in Brower,
1966; (Fubini, 1966) ; (Kloepfer, 1967) ; (Mounin, 1967) ; (Nida & Taber, 1969) ; (Levy,
1969) ; (Holmes, 1970) ; (Popovic, 1970) ; (Reiss, 1971) ; (Ladmiral, 1972) ; (Folena,
1973) ; (Nida, 1974) ; (G. Steiner, 1975) ; (T. R. Steiner, 1975) ;(Brislin, 1976) ; (Corti,
1976) ; (Pinchuck, 1977) ; (Holmes et al., 1978) ; (G. Steiner, 1978) ; (Kelly,
1979) ; (Ladmiral, 1979) ; (Basset & McGuire, 1980) ; (Ladmiral, 1981) ; (Lepshy, 1981) ;
Newmark, 1981; (Ross 1981) ; (Rigotti, 1982) ; (Wills, 1982) that one particular observation
has been made time and again by those involved in this field. This is that the translator puts
his signature to and often subsumes a linguistic and cultural product in whichgiven that by
its very nature the process of translation is essentially one of reflecting, even when the
translator arrives at highly original solutionswe see reflected sometimes much more
directly than in the text under translation the state of a particular culture, its historical
situation, its shifts and changes, its values, its tolerance or prejudice, both internal and
in relation to the culture of the original text. Moreover, this can be observed as a constant
factor, despite changes in the concept of translation and in the function of the translator,
relative to the historical and cultural context, and to the readership and market for
translations, which inevitably differ from one period to another. But it does not stop there.
Although this is by no means the most appropriate place for a discussion of the nature of the
original text, it may not come amiss when Freud is under consideration to mention the
poetic paradox of Paz (1971). In his own terms, Paz posits what contemporary semiological
terminology might define as the intertextuality of the original text(Kristeva, 1969) ; (Corti,
1976) ; (Lotman, 1978) ; (Segre, 1985). He states that every text, even an original one,
forms part of a system of other texts, and as such can only ever be the translation of the
translation of a translation: 'el mundo se nos presenta como una superposicin de textos,
cada uno ligeramente distinto al anterior: traducciones de traducciones, de traducciones
cada texto es nico y simultaneamente, es la traduccin de otro texto' (p. 9).
Now, we may take those translations that are considered to be of texts of great linguistic
and cultural complexity (though the category could quite easily be extended to
include other kinds of translation) as representing a sort of cultural barometer or

thermometer, from which we may read the fluctuations, and the degrees of interaction
between, the original and the translation; the personality, prejudices and idiosyncracies
projected, consciously or unconsciously, into the text by the translator; and in addition those
of the society and the readership for whom the translation is destined. It
- 35 is this diagnostic property which has in the past led and still continues to lead studies to be
made of how such translations took shape over a period of time, both in terms of the text's
own internal history, and in terms of the history and background of the one we usually
consider its author, namely, the translator, seen in the context within which he operated.
Studies made of the different versions of these translations have produced some extremely
revealing insights from this point of view. Bear in mind also that the interpretation of a major
text varies from one period to the next, even among those who share its language and
belong to the very culture which spawned it. How much more is this so, then, when it comes
to its translation, in view of the intrinsic nature of the translation process itself; not to mention
the whole series of questions raised by the issue of whether every interpretation, even
intralingual, is not in reality a translation (Jakobson, 1966); (Paz, 1971) ; (Derrida,
1981), (1985) ; (Gadamer, 1963) ; (Ross, 1981). And it is surely adding nothing new to
mention in passing the (sometimes astounding) number of translations that have been made
over the years of one and the same text into a single language.
This number increases in relation to changes in the readership and their taste in
translations, which in turn affects the nature of the demand and thus also the kind of editorial
policies governing the selection and distribution of translations. Indubitably, certain cardinal
texts have had an incalculable influence in creating particular trends in taste and scientific
and intellectual movements, through their translation into different languages and at different
stages in the development of various cultures: Homer, Pindar, Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare,
Galileo, Machiavelli, Racine, Hegel, Marx, Tolstoy, Joyce: these are merely a few of the first
names that spring to mind in this connexion. But beyond this, in some cultures at moments of
profound change, the discussion of the role and function of the translation has acquired great
importance in its own right, while in some instances, differences in the interpretation of an
authoritative text on the basis of successive translations have generated bitter controversies,
even to the extent of ultimately contributing to the outbreak of religious war. Take the case of
Martin Luther, who took a learned interest in both the theory and the function of translation
(1530), and all that was triggered off by his translating the New Testament in the particular
way he did.
However, I do not wish to review Strachey's translation in the context of a religious war,
even thoughas should emerge later in my studya reference if not to Luther then at any
rate to the Old and New Testaments, and to a certain atmosphere of 'religious' dispute
and interpretation of the 'scriptures' does not seem wholly out of place here.
At this point it might be objected that these remarks are all of a general and even purely
generic order, applicable, what is more, to texts of a literary and cultural nature. Freud's
writings constitute a textbook used for the most part by psychoanalysts and
psychotherapists, in the application of a precise technique invented by Freud for the study
and treatment of specific nervous disorders.
We must, however, get one thing straight. There is no doubt that the particular reading we
make of Freud's text is also responsible for the particular model of therapeutic practice we
derive from it. Thus the problems of translating Freud definitively have had and continue to
have momentous repercussions in the field of therapeutic practice itself. Indubitably, then,

Bettelheim is correct in maintaining what many of his predecessors along this path have
already pointed out, that any determinate 'conversion' or reduction of Freud into translated
form likewise 'converts', reduces and I might add perverts, not only the theoretical
implications but also their application in therapy. Sometimes, similarly, my own observations
are based on a conviction that Freud's text is naturally related, in terms of its cultural and
linguistic implications, to the problems at issue in the case of other major translation
ventures, to which I have made reference, if only superficially, given the restrictions of space.
I freely admit that this necessarily complicates the interpretation on my part of Freud's
therapeutic message, but that is not the direct concern of the present study.
However, Freud's work, ranking alongside other major original texts, presents many
analogies with them when we come to consider the problems these texts have created, or
continue to create, for those attempting their
- 36 translation. We find evidence of this in the simple fact that Strachey's translation took such a
great deal of time and work on his part. Consider, then, the enormous difficulties facing those
who undertook translations of Freud into languages other than English, which, according to
many translation theorists has the advantage of beingclosely related to German, or at least
more closely related to it at first sight than are the Romance languages (Nida,
1969) ; (Malberg, 1973) ; (Newmark, 1981).
Of course, in Strachey's case there were also additional factors involved; for example,
before he could even embark on his final translation, he had the task of putting together a
relatively complete corpus of Freud's various writings so that he could give his translation
that particular form. This only serves as further evidence, however, of the diversity and range
characterizing the text of the founder of psychoanalysis.
Indeed, the work signed by Strachey and generally regarded as the 'Standard Freud'
and not uniquely by English-speakersis the fruit of a prodigious work of compilation, both
linguistically and stylistically, of the original German. Of the translation enterprise, Jones
(1957) went so far as to say, 'the English translation of Freud's work under the name of the
Standard Edition will from an editorial point of view be considerably more trustworthy than
any German version '
There are those who hold that Freud's text is of great simplicity and crystalline
clarity (Ornston, 1982) ; (Bettelheim, 1983) ; (Holder, 1984) ; I myself, however, do not
wholly share this view. Such an interpretationbeing, indeed, based on Freud's own
comments (1926)is correct and permissible only so long as it does not succumb to a kind
of linguistic or stylistic 'elementariness'. The richly expressive and literary qualities of Freud's
prose have often been acclaimed in the past (Mann, 1936) ;(Schnau, 1968) ; (Schur,
1972) ; (Muschg, 1975) ; (Kaufmann, 1980) ; (Mahony, 1981), (1984b) ; thus it comes,
surely, as no surprise if I, too, stress the fact that the text we are dealing with is no traditional
medical, psychological or psychiatric treatise. Not that one could not expound at length on
the language and cultural implications of certain psychiatric texts used by Freud. Take, for
example, the richness of the German and the literary style of the great psychiatrist and
humanist Griesinger, a scholar who considerably influenced Freud and whom the latter
always greatly respected.
The work of Schnau (1968), but now more recently Mahony (1982a), (1984b),
represents a first systematic analysis of Freud's prose, though work done by Ornston(1982),
This & Theves (1982), Altounian (1983), Roustang (1983), and others has also variously
contributed in this area. Particularly in the case of Schnau and Mahony the analysis is

based on a series of highly sophisticated analytical devices which examine the expressive
complexities of the prose, and much emphasis is laid on Freud's qualities as a writer; form
and expression are seen as being of capital importance not only in their own right, but also in
understanding the nature of the clinical and theoretical message Freud wished to
communicate. The intertextual complexity of Freud's writing is something I have been able to
observe for myself, while gatheringmaterial on the richness and variety of the cultural context
informing the language and certain ideas used in 'Studies on hysteria',
'The interpretation of dreams' and 'Jokes and their relation to the unconscious' (R. Steiner,
1981), (1983), (1984). All kinds of disparate cultural traditions converge in Freud's work; he
weaves them into a complexdialogue conducted on many levels: with himself,
with other authors, and with the public (Schnau, 1968) ; (Mahony,
1982a), (1984a), (1984b) ; (R. Steiner, 1981),(1983), whom he addresses directly from time
to time. But in a sense, it is a tradition of multiple solutions and constant mobility speaking
through Freud which causes him to change rhythm and register from one moment to the next
in a single text. Mahony (1982a, p. 164) quite rightly reminds us that Freud cited Lessing
rather than Goethe as his literary model sometimes, and opines that Lessing 'among the
German prose authors, was a notable master of that pense pensante, thought thinking, a
mind discovering truth as it goes, thinking while it writes'; this quality, according to Mahony, is
the keynote of Freud's style, which is certainly not an easy one to pin down.2

2 During the final drafting of my paper I was able to read the subtle comments of Cotet &
Ranzy and in particular of Altounian (1983) on the language of Freud. Many of their
observations coincide with my own, especially, for example, where Cotet & Ranzy stress that
Freud created not the German language, certainly, but his own language (p. 126).
- 37 Moreover, Jones himself had fully recognized the stylistic complexities of Freud's writing
and the difficulties it therefore presents the would-be translator (a question I shall come
back to)when in an unpublished letter dated 6 March 1926 he wrote to Freud:
Dear Professor, Have you noticed how your last four books have regularly
alternated in style? One very abstruse and difficult is followed by one easy and
flowing, generally misleadingly easy, for it is just as rich and deep as the others 3
One might add that the 'misleading easiness' of Freud's text (though, to be objective, are
works such as 'Beyond the pleasure principle' or 'On negation' (This & Theves, 1982) so
very clear and simple?), quite apart from what many linguists or scholars have rightly or
wrongly observed about the distinctive characteristics of German as opposed to other literary
languages (Bally, 1951) ; Malblanc, 1944, (1961) ; (Kelly, 1979) is also a function of the
particular historical development of Germanculture, and in this case arguably of
Austrian culture (Erikson, 1955) ; (Gilman, 1985).4 German and Austrian texts are frequently
much more 'popular' and related to the everyday language and experience of common
people than other cultural or literary languages. Indeed, this characteristic, in the case of
German in particular, would for instance always perplex Croce when it came to reading and
translating Goethe (Fubini, 1966), whose language appeared to be so simple and popular
deceptively soafter the aristocratic and often pretentious literary language of his own
Italian, or even of French. I do not wish to confuse Goethe with Freud or poetry with
psychoanalysis here, but these are issues which have some bearing and cannot be

Clearly, all this is yet further evidence of just how difficult Strachey's job was; its similarity
in many respects to other major translation enterprises; and thus the appropriateness of an
investigative approach whose aim is a diachronic study, tracing the vicissitudes of
the Standard Edition through time, to arrive at an evaluation of the reasons behind, and the
precise nature of, particular choices, errors or solutions contained in it. But, if this were not
justification enough, the wealth and the singularity of the documentation to be found and
studied on the translation of Freud into English leads one to conclude that a diachronic study
of the factors instrumental in Strachey signing that particular translation is actually an
inexorable necessity, dictated by the very evidence we have at our disposal.
The Archives of the British Psycho-Analytical Society, indeed, contain an abundance
of material which enables us to study certain aspects of Strachey's translation in remarkable
detail. There are his personal notes, his indexes, and his handwritten corrections to
translations executed by others during the long period before work on theStandard Edition as
such commenced. There is his correspondence with Anna Freud, and even with Sigmund
Freud himself during the twenties and later; and the correspondence with Jones, both during
the twenties, and the prolific exchange during the fifties in Jones' latter years. There are also
the dictionaries and reference books used by Strachey and his wife.5 All these furnish us
with quite full and precise answers to a variety of questions concerning the internal history of
this translation; but as one becomes immersed in the material, a curious fact emerges.

3 On the occasion of Freud's centenary in 1956, Riviere (1958) gave a vivid picture of the
blend of complexity and simplicity that typifies Freud's writing: 'Always one of the most
interesting things to me about Freud was his writing; I met him first in his writings before I
knew him. You get an impression of the man from them, quite apart from the impression their
content makes on you. As is well known, his style and presentation is very different from that
of most scientific writers. (Actually Freud's writings do vary and are of more than one
description, but I am speaking now of the style which predominates and characterizes the
main volume of his work.) Its general character is not only direct and plain-spoken simple
statements without padding, but in particular it conveys vividly an awareness of his readers
and hearers, as if he were speaking directly to them and were concerned to put forward his
views in a form intelligible to them.'
4 In his paper devoted to the origins of psychoanalysis, which is also a review of the letters
written by Freud to Fliess, Erikson (1955) makes some fine and acute observations about the
difficulties of translating into English certain typically German and even Viennese
expressions used by Freud in his correspondence with Fliess.
5 Some interesting information can also be found in the Strachey Archives of the Strachey
Trust; in the enormous correspondence of the Strachey family at the British Library, London;
in the Archives of the Hogarth Press at Reading University; in the papers of Leonard Woolf at
Sussex University and in the Archives of the Hogarth Press in London.
- 38 Anyone familiar with this kind of research will be well aware that, at times, the way in
which an author (or someone on his behalf) has preserved and ordered his papers, and has
included some but not others, can be extremely misleading for those who would reconstruct
the history of his oeuvre. Freud provides as good an example of this as any: as is well
known, as if to complicate matters for his biographers, he burned many of his manuscripts.
On the other hand, sometimes what on the face of it seems unremarkable or of only

secondary importance can turn out to be a clue to new theories and avenues of inquiry. One
has only to follow up one of these 'trails'(Ginzburg, 1979) and a story unfolds of its own
accord. In Strachey's case, one is struck by the fact that the papers relating to the
internal history of his translation very often refer to, or are interleaved with, all sorts
of other correspondence and documents. Their presence necessarily brings up the question
of just what role othertranslators played, from the twenties onwards if not before, in the early
phases of building up what, many years later, would become the S.E. Take, for instance, a
figure such as Riviere, or Jones, for that matter. One wonders how much and what of all
this activitya combination and succession of names, cultural experiences and expressive
styles of every kindsurvived and contributed to the work bearing Strachey's name; how
much part did this therefore play in the creation of those expressive stylemes and technical
terms that have shaped the way in which psychoanalysis has been produced, promoted and
consumed in our century both within and beyond the English-speaking world.
If we are to answer this question we have no choice but to widen the field of our
investigation: for example, to cover the prodigious unpublished correspondence between
Freud and Jones; the exchange of letters between Rank and Jones, and between Rank and
Freud, during the twenties; the Rundbriefe ; Jones' correspondence with Putnam and with
Brill; and Putnam's exchanges with Brill and with Freud. Since it is still proscribed, I was
unfortunately not able to consult the correspondence between Freud and Riviere, though this
would probably also yield valuable information concerning Riviere's translations of the
twenties and thirties. Then, a fully comprehensive study, which the scope of this work denies
me, would also ideally trace such correspondence as may exist from that whole pleiad of
minor characters; not to mention the obvious importance of a personality such as Rickman.
As those with experience in these matters are well aware, it is often by studying the 'small fry'
that one gleans many direct intimations of a particular cultural climate. And men and women
like Hiller, Flgel, Baines, Low, Robson-Scott, Searl and Hubbackto name but a few of
Freud's other early translators in Britainalso had a role in the development of this
composite enterprise. Similarly, if they could be discovered, one should also study the
corrections made by Jones, Riviere and finally Strachey to those translations of
Freud executed by others, which appeared in the International Journal of PsychoAnalysis from 1920 onwards; along with their corrections to the volumes of Freud published
by the International Psycho-Analytic Press and later by the Hogarth Press.
But, studying Strachey's papers, after a while one becomes aware of something further.
There is more behind Strachey's name than the ins and outs of his personal life, and his
relations or indirect relations with Freud and with other translators of Freud throughout the
long years of work on this project, all of which makes the precise question of authorship in
this case quite problematic. Behind Strachey's name there are also, or rather there become
apparent and are symbolically represented, matters which go beyond the mere
internal history of the translation. Of particular note are the numerous documents covering
Strachey's dealings with the British Society and Institute of Psycho-Analysis, and with the
publishers Unwin and Lane, and the Hogarth Press; also the kinds of contract Strachey had
to sign, and so forth. I do not merely wish to touch on the possibilities that this material has
for anyone interested in the sociology of translation, and in the relationsoften extremely
close and fundamental in determining the quality of the translator's (in this case, Strachey's)
workwhich link him to the publishers and thus to his target readership. In fact, the
important thing to remember is that we are looking at a very particular situation. For it
concerns the diffusion of psychoanalysis in its

6 Bear in mind that when the Institute of Psycho-Analysis was founded in 1924, its
Memorandum and Articles of Association established as the first object: 'To print, to publish
and to sell in any language and in any part of the world works on the science of psychoanalysis' (my italics). And it is interesting to see, from this time onwards, psychoanalysis
termed a 'science', a definition that, with few variants, was subsequently retained. Many
years later, in an unpublished Memorandum on Remuneration for Translations (1948),
Strachey made a statement which, while evidence of his loyalty as an official of the
Institution, at the same time reflected the altruistic spirit that had characterized the early days
of English psychoanalysis (excluding the creation of any false myths: obviously one must
also take into account the Strachey's financial circumstances). For, in this memorandum, he
plainly stated that the Memorial Edition of Freud's work (this was the name given to the
project of the S.E. in those days) was a matter of public interest (my italics). He went on: 'In
so far as the object is one of public interest, that is to say of providing improved editions of
Freud, I am prepared to do what I can to help without any immediate or indeed any certain
prospect of pay ' (my italics).
- 39 earliest days, a process in which Strachey was directly involved, as a member of an
institution specifically designated not only for the study and teaching of psychoanalysis, but
for its diffusion, as is apparent from the constitution of the Institute of Psycho-Analysis drawn
up in 1924.6
So Strachey's personal interest as a translator was concurrent with a public, professional
role. For, after all, even if Strachey had given up clinical practice after the Second World War,
he had for many years been a training analyst, and as such assigned to disseminating and
through dissemination, to educating a particular public, first and foremost the students of the
British Society and Institute.
In my opinion, documents of this kind are of enormous importance, and help us
understand the multiform characteristics of Strachey's translation.
I shall naturally have occasion to return to these documents. For the moment, however,
to demonstrate the complexity of the relationship between the internal and the
contextual history of this translation. I shall limit myself to two examples, taken from
documents which on the face of it might seem of lesser importance or of negligible
relevance. The first concerns the important and formidable task undertaken by E. Freud, both
on behalf of his family and the Institute and the British Psycho-AnalyticalSociety in the late
forties and early fifties (Memorandum to the Members of the Pub. Com. (1956) ; (E. Freud,
1968) ; (Winnicott, 1968). This was the task of sorting out that really 'bizarre object', to use
Bion's terminology, constituted by the American copyrights of Brill and other American
translators of Freud's work. Incredible though it might at first seem, the project of
the Standard Edition would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, to realize, without
a full knowledge of the copyright agreements existing between the U.S.A. and Great Britain;
for on these, Strachey's hopes of translating into English the entire works of Freud greatly
My second example invokes the discussion involving the Hogarth Press, Anna Freud,
Strachey and the Institute, which resulted in the organization of the S.E.'s contents in
chronological order, a format which had been strongly recommended to A. Freud by E. Kris
(1946)8for an earlier translation project. This whole issue entailed all manner of financial and
organizational problems: the drafting of special contracts with the Hogarth Press; the
question, therefore, of the role played by Woolf in determining the ultimate structure of

the S.E., since he was proprietor of the Hogarth Press at that time; and the problems
surrounding the financial support given by the Institute of Psycho-Analysis and the American
Psychoanalytic Association to such a project, because of the risks involved, since it would, in
fact, have been much simpler to produce and sell

7 In a circular letter dated 1 March 1950 E. Freud got to grips with the American
copyright position, emphasizing the need to obtain the 'copyrights of 29 titles of Sigmund
Freud's works which had been published in the USA. Ten of these were translated by Brill,
nineteen by others '
8 The letter from Kris in New York dated 13 November 1946 is of particular significance, in
my view. Kris comments on Strachey's schemeat that point, partly supported by A. Freud
to publish Freud's work in eleven volumes arranged in non-chronological order. Whilst
praising Strachey's abilities as a translator, Kris nevertheless comes out strongly against this
plan, insisting on the Leed to respect chronological order in publishing Freud: 'I cannot
relinquish the idea that only a chronological edition seems to me beyond criticism, and for a
chronological edition, I believe our own edition has set a model' (my italics); the 'edition'
referred to here is the Imago Gesammelte Werke. Indubitably, in subsequent negotiations
and discussions, from which the S.E. ensued, the opinion of Kris (supported, of course, by A.
Freud) was to carry considerable weight. The reference to the German edition as a model is
also of interest; Kris almost seems concerned to maintain between Vienna or New York and
London not simply a relationship of continuity, but of supremacy.
- 40 a translation organized according to the old scheme based on subject headings.
In actual fact, this whole affair was greatly instrumental, to both positive and negative
effect, 9 in determining the eventual composition of the translation, and theS.E., in that
particular format, as well as allowing Strachey to write his monumental commentaries on the
translation, despite the difficulties that such a project in itself also comprises. But it is this
chronological ordering which enables the reader to follow the thread of Freud's both
theoretical and clinical thoughts and experience. It also already represents
an interpretation of Freud, and an enormously influential one, since it was adopted by all
those countries who subsequently undertook their own translations, using the S.E. as
their model.10 The chronological presentation also highlights the importance of the
interrelationship between clinical, theoretical and applied research, whilst giving the reader a
sense of the course of Freud's development, including problems concerning the evolution of
his particular language.
It seems to me, therefore, that the evidence that emerges from documents such as these
contains a warning; it illustrates the problems facing us when we try to clarify even a few
limited aspects of the genesis and specific quality of Strachey's translation. A full
understanding of Strachey's enterprise requires us to follow all sorts of different directions,
and to take a constant variety of factors into consideration.
Let us consider some issues that, at first sight, seem purely personal. For example the
question of how well Strachey actually spoke and understood Germana point justly raised
by Bettelheim (1983) and, in more detail, by Ornston (1982). I would also add, to some
extent going along with Bettelheim in this, the question of Strachey's degree of familiarity with
the context and cultural sources which provided the background to Freud's work; or the level
of competence in German of Jones, Riviere, Alix Strachey, Rickman and others, as well as

their knowledge of, or interest in, translation from a theoretical point of view. Another
incidental issue is the knowledge of English possessed by Freud and his daughter, Anna,
and the extent of their interest in the translation of Freud's works into English when they still
lived in Vienna and were collaborating on the checking and revision of the first papers
translated by the Stracheys, and later of the 'Kranken Geschichten' and of other papers
translated by Riviere and by Rickman. Then these is also the question of the role played
before but mainly after the Second World War by Anna Freud in the translation of the S.E. All
these questions find answers which are at the least more coherent, if not more satisfactory, if
seen in the context of the whole series of events whose significance in the creation of the
various phases of the S.E. is evidenced by the documents mentioned above.
Now, without wishing to deny Strachey title to the authorship of the translation,
nevertheless, on the evidence of the documentation, one must take into account the weight
and significance of the role played by the Institute of Psycho-Analysis as such, not only in the
various stages in the production of Freud's works in translation, but also in directing the more
specifically linguistic choices in what was named subsequentlyand by no means
gratuitously, as I intend to demonstratethe Standard Edition.
I am talking of matters which are of an administrative and financial nature, but which
reflect and at times furnish direct evidence of a precise cultural policy. This policy is itself the
product of a series of more or less conscious, yet decisive, ideological choices (Althusser,
1967), (1976) ;11(Rossi Landi, 1978) ; (Bourdieu, 1982) ; (Derrida, 1984). By ideological
choices I do not simply mean a series of opinions and operative measures concerning the
nature of psychoanalysis as a discipline and as a therapeutic

9 One has to remember that the problems involved in producing his translation also in some
ways prevented Strachey from correcting or further emending it.
10 However, chronological order had already been recommended as essential by Jones in
his obituary of Freud (1940), where he states his desire 'to possess one day a copy of the
"Gesammelte Werke" in English'; he then claims: 'It is in my opinion impossible to acquire a
thorough knowledge of psychoanalysis without making a careful study of Freud's writings,
and to do this assuredly means reading them more than once. Moreover, they should be
read in their chronological order ; one can no more apprehend a new branch of science
without studying its genetic development than one could a complex case
of character or neurosis formation ' (my italics).
11 I do not personally agree with everything Althusser says in his papers, though I consider it
extremely stimulating.
- 41 method, on a level with other scientific disciplines or the world of culture; nor simply the
standards, type and method of teaching necessary for its transmission and diffusion both
within and outside the British psychoanalytical institutionopinions, operative choices and
standards of teaching which were shared, codified and defended in Great Britain during the
first half of this century and more, by a group composed of at least three people, for in the
words of the old Latin ecclesiastical saying, 'tres faciunt ecclesiam'. But in addition, when I
speak of ideological choices I am also referring to the limitations and the inevitable historical
conditioning which these ideas, standards and operative decisions always reflect, even if
their authors and practitioners do not realize, and very often are unwilling to acknowledge,
the truth of this: with all the ensuing consequences (Steiner, 1985).

Indeed, replying to E. Freud in 1968, Winnicott, 12 the then president of the British
Psycho-Analytical Society, aptly spoke of 'team work' in connexion with the creation of
the S.E. However, one should not overlook the fact that, if we exclude Freud's family (with
the exception of Anna), this 'team', in which the most diverse personalities and views
converge, had for more than forty years largely consisted of the intellectual leadership of the
generation that had pioneered psychoanalysis in England, with few additions or changes.
One has only to go through the Minutes of the Publication Committee of the British PsychoAnalytical Society to become persuaded of this. This generation had launched a collective
enterprise, each bringing into it the baggage of his or her own cultural awareness, insights
and answers, some of which were indeed brilliant and courageous; but they brought into it
also the inevitable limitations that were the result of the particular historical situation in which
that generation had lived and operated.
Hence the whole series of questions and problems that arise when we begin to
distinguish, moving, speaking and writing behind the single name of Strachey, such a
diversity of individuals, languages, and interests, all seeking an outlet and a compromise in
the work he signed. And so, resorting to simplistic criteria to determine what is vital and what
is dead in this enterprise proves all the more ludicrous and inappropriate.
But after these protracted, if in my opinion necessary premises, what should be our point
of departure?
I have referred to the evidence, and to the close link between internal and
external history, that come to light on embarking upon a study of Strachey's papers, if we
accept the imperative of letting certain trails 'speak', trails which, through the very order in
which they lie or have been disposed, seem spontaneously to bring us to the heart of the
matter. Let us take as our starting point a moving letter written by Jones. This letter, so I
believe, helps us to clarify, to establish and also in a way to discover, I would say, the
complexity of the network from which after a long and laborious gestation period,
the S.E. was born, and thus the impossibility of isolating it as the fruit of a single individual's
labours. The letter in question, moreover, doubly serves my thesis: it was written on 28
September 1939, and represents a natural watershed around which to arrange my
subsequent considerations, since it was sent by Jones to Strachey within a few days of
Freud's death, immediately after his funeral.
In this letter, Jones invites Strachey, at the suggestion of Marie Bonaparte, to translate
the 'Gesammelte Schriften' into English, notwithstanding enormous financial problems and
the threat of impending war. Jones makes it quite clear that the reasons for doing this are
twofold: both to stand as the only 'worthy memorial' to Freud, and to: 'secure a definitive
edition for generations to come: if it is done after our time, it can never be done so well I
would suggest that

12 During the initial draft of this paper, I was unaware of the existence of this letter from
Winnicott to E. Freud, which confirms my thesis. The letter tried to clarify the role played by
the Institute, the support conceded by the Americans, the actual work done by Strachey, and
the role played by E. Freud and his family in constructing the S.E.
13 A similar letter was to be sent shortly afterwards by Jones to the other members of the
potential committee. In his letter to Strachey, Jones speaks amongst other things of Leonard

Woolf's suggestion to him 'on the day of the funeral for a prompt biography of Sigmund
- 42 we form an "ad hoc" committee, say we two, Mrs Riviere, Dr Payne and Rickman to thrash
the matter out' (my italics).13
Jones then goes on to stress the importance and necessity of making administrative and
financial arrangements; 'this is obviously the most appropriate time to issue an appeal for
American funds', he concludes, mentioning also the need to agree on the publisher.
This letter is of fundamental importance, for, on closer inspection its contents reveal
factors essential for an understanding of certain aspects of our theme. We have here the
choice of Strachey as translator, together with an invitation to undertake the work; there is
also the particular appeal to the memory of Freud as a personal acquaintance of both Jones
and Strachey, so succinctly expressed by that 'we two', even when Jones is referring to the
'Committee'; and, at the same time, we have the appeal to qualities held to be unparalleled
historically and inimitable, unique to their own as opposed to future generations: 'a definitive
edition if it is done after our time it can never be done so well ' And then there is the
committee itself, the group comprising the previous translators: Riviere, Rickman, and Sylvia
Payne, who was somewhat younger, but extremely dynamic and influential; the group was as
if designed to protect the enterprise and to ensure that it remained in the family, so to speak,
in Britain. This certainly did not obviate the need to approach America, both, I would say, for
political and economic motives, in view of the recent migration to America of many European
psychoanalysts, and more especially given the existence of old bonds, and a certain
common cultureor at least, certain cultural predilections in common. Finally, we have here
the obvious question of finding a publisher. As I hope to demonstrate, there is a
long history condensed in this letter, consciously or otherwise; and this is the document
which lays down the foundations for the future project of the S.E.
In addition, Jones, in the name of the qualifying attributes of his generation, though
motivated also by other reasons, codifies here a procedure for editing and for translating; he
does this in an extremely pragmatic and elementary manner, but also with a leader's
charismatic authority. His guidelines assumed an extraordinary persuasive power, both at the
time, and long after September 1939; this, while certainly not justifiable was at any rate,
historically speaking, understandable enough.
The ideological implications of Jones' conviction that he and his group represented a sort
of meta-historical exemplification of how to interpret Freud's message are all too evident.
Strange, the way history tends to repeat itself: for this is not so far from the convictions
understandable, certainly, and also quite moving, in the light of his personal historyof
another member of the pioneer generation of psychoanalysis: Bruno Bettelheim, who was to
use almost the same words some forty years later in 1983.
In that mood of aprs nous le dluge, Jones' words acquire a sort of apostolic, almost
pentecostal, fervour, to leave aside the even more pointed example of Moses' receiving of
the tablets of the law. Jones is perfectly convinced of his rightness in asserting that his
generation, having received the word direct from the Master's lips, can better than
any other guarantee the proper and 'definitive' transmission of that particular message
through translation. And there is no doubt that, implicitly, Jones' view proposes an argument
that is also valid purely in terms of the theory of translation (Kelly, 1979).
In perhaps a somewhat elementary and naive fashion, Jones nevertheless touches here
upon another, extremely complex problem: that of the degree of historicity of the

exclusiveness of the relationship between Freud and his most direct followers; and, in
general, the question of the relationship between master and disciples, between text and
interpreters, and the monopoly on the truth which the closest followers or the most immediate
interpreters often lay claim to having. This monopoly is sometimes the result of the way in
which the message is transmitted, and of the very attitude of the Master towards his own
work. That is, whether he admits the possibility that the implications of his words may or may
not stop where he left off, with what he has passed on to his closest collaborators or
disciples, and that certain nuances of his own message may remain hidden both from its
creator and broadcaster, and from its first interpreters. In a given situation, this whole
- 43 series of factors may wield varying importance according to the personality in question, and
his or her need to create and maintain relationships of greater or lesser dependency, as well
as according to the qualities of the message itself: its complexity, the richness of its
denotative or connotative elements; and the cultural moment in which the message comes
into being and is broadcast. For example, it is beyond doubt that the particular perception of
the nature and quality of the message, and the perception of its communication, within a
given culture at a specific stage of development, is another influential factor. For it depends
on whether more weight is placed upon the denotative qualities of
the moment of communication, where the referent is fixed and unique, or whether the
emphasis is rather placed on the connotative mobility and plurivocity of the language, even if
it is not the language of more strictly poetic and artistic communication, where by definition
the predominance of mediation, dissemblance and over-determination, without any single
referent being rigidly assigned for all time, of itself militates against 'definitive' interpretations.
Freud's openness towards his own work during his lifetime, the ambiguity and discontinuity
not just polyphonic but I would say dodecaphonic sometimesof his vocabulary, and of
certain tricks of his syntax and his style, apparently so crystalline, are well known.
What is interesting about Jones' assertions is the way they seem to identify him and his
generation with the disciples of a movement much akin to a religious faith. If we look closely,
we discover this phenomenon, albeit in different ways and to varying degrees, in other fields
of learning, leaving apart what one could observe in politics. However, all this assumes
particular importance in the field of psychoanalysis, in view of the role that positive and
negative, resolved or unresolved transference has played ever since the time of Freud, and
in view of the sometimes dramatic intensity of the emotive phenomena
of identification, dependence or independence, and filiation that Freud succeeded in
mobilizing (Granoff, 1975) ; (Steiner, 1985). The circumstances obtaining at that time were
indubitably to have their effect on the S.E., and none more than the death of Freud. It is
almost as if Jones were trying to evolve a strategy in the face of the loss of the Master, no
longer present to clarify queries about his message and to answer to the often clumsy
attempts to unravel its subtleties; so that for Jones it was almost a question of transmitting a
word which had been attributed an all but definitive form and significance, in whose tonalities
it is difficult immediately to distinguish between deference towards the magnitude of Freud's
achievement and honour at having been among the elect, chosen by Freud to share in it;
pain and anxiety at the loss of Freud; and the necessity of defending his work and furthering
it through a translation; and it is also difficult to separate all these elements from the possible
influence of the cultural and scientific convictions of Jones and his group, which must be
taken into careful consideration.14 And yet it was Jones who, with the support and aid of the
Stracheys, if not completely at their suggestion, helped Melanie Klein to come to England;

while Jones' ambivalence towards, and theoretical disagreements with, certain aspects of
Freud's work are well known.15
One is tempted to draw a parallel with 'In the beginning was the word and the word was
with God and the word was God'and with God, His disciples, one might also add, united in
His word. A word, that is, that had to be transmitted as it were linguistically and emotively by
divine Eucharist, in a sort of hieratical immobility, whose Faustian opulence, in Freud's case,
must be immune from further inquiry or exploration. But this would be to go too far, as well as
to do Jones an injustice, even if in the case of some personalities in post-Freudian
psychoanalysis one has the impression that this is precisely what did happen sometimes.
However, in the light of

14 It is worth recalling that the concept of a 'chosen' and predestined group was consistent
with the whole cultural background of Jones and Strachey, and their colleagues. There is, for
instance, the importance attributed by Darwin, and also by Galton, to the concept of selection
and intelligence as the fruit of this selection.
15 It is to Alix Strachey that we owe England's discovery of Klein, in fact, when she was in
Berlin between autumn 1924 and 1925 being analysed by Karl Abraham. Alix Strachey, and
also James Strachey, translated the lectures given in English by Klein in London in 1925. And
later on, Alix Strachey was to translate Klein's Die Psychoanalyse der Kinder into
English(Meisel & Kendrick, 1985).
- 44 all the various factors in play, what we can safely say is that Jones' reference to the 'definitive
edition', and the idealization of his generation, take on an air of prudence bordering on
rigidity, both here and elsewhere, as I hope to demonstrate. The ego ideal is superseded by
the ideal ego, thus giving rise to an attitude which errs on the side of unilateralism, if not
actually of a rather rigid superegoic attitude. It is as though in confirmation of Freud's
profound observation that children tend to identify with the superego rather than with the ego
of their parents, and that the transmission of certain characteristics from one generation to
another takes place in this way.
But then it was Freud who accepted, at least in part, the observation originating from
Klein and the British school of psychoanalysis (Freud, 1930, p. 130, n. 1) that
the superego of children is, in addition, distorted in relation to that of their parents, into whom
the children project their anxieties and then reintroject them, attributing them to the
parents' superego, thus sometimes living them out in a much more rigid, cruel and inflexible
fashion than the parents at times, though not always, merit in reality.
I shall certainly return to this whole series of questions. But I believe that this aspect of
the problem cannot be overlooked. The relationship with Freud in its
conscious and unconscious components, exemplified here from the moment of actual loss,
the death of Freud, and so expressively illustrated by Jones' letter and by his and others'
reactions; the problems of how to mourn the loss of Freud, given the presence in varying
intensities of anxieties which I would interpret as depressive and of a paranoid-schizoid type;
the defences adopted against these anxieties, linked as they are to the more or less
projective mechanisms of identification with the lost object and the relationship which is
established with it (in this case, for example, with Freud's word); the excessive idealization,
on occasion, of the object itself in order to escape its persecutory aspects, and to refute the
envious and denigratory attacks perpetrated more or less unconsciously against it; or else

the minimization of its importance in a maniacal negation, in order to deal with

the conflict and anxieties over its loss; and so on: all this must be regarded as playing a vital
role in structuring the internal and external history of the S.E.
That is, when one considers, I repeat, the specificity of the relationships
of transference and countertransference mobilized by Freud and by his method of
psychoanalysis, and of the charismatic personality of Freud himself. Certainly, this aspect of
the problem must also be tied in with the enormous conflicts and rivalries aroused over
the defence and the dissemination of psychoanalysis on both sides of the Atlantic during
those years (and later, as we shall see) in the face of the masked or overt hostility shown by
the academic world, the medical profession, and other therapeutic orientations. Then, of
course, there was also the fact that the Second World War loomed large; it is almost as if the
anxieties of loss connected with the death of Freud were projected on to a catastrophe of
much wider proportions. And, to varying degrees, the direct and indirect relationship with
Freud, with all its repercussions, rivalries and rebellions,
its conscious and unconscious dependencies, must constantly be borne in mind if we are
fully to understand the history of this translation.
To be convinced of this, one has only to turn to the correspondence and follow there the
reactions to Jones' proposal, along with his own successive stances. It becomes clear that
Jones was not alone in his views, nor in his emotive reactions, which manifestly inform the
manner of editing and translating Freud's work. I am referring here amongst other things to
the contents of a circular letter dated 9 March 1940, when Jones still cherished the fond hope
of organizing the undertaking on a local level and instantly. In his letter, Jones' words not only
convey his pragmatism, but also give clear evidence of his conviction that he belonged to the
ranks of the elect, assigned the mission of spreading Freud's work through its translationa
project of which part had in any case already been accurately completed, in Jones' opinion,
and which therefore stood in no need of major revision (which attitude is shared to some
extent by Strachey); an elect designated also to guarantee continuity with the past, especially
when one considers that this past had been filled with Freud's presence. 'Roughly speaking',
claims Jones, with his typical tone of manager in chief of the unconscious and its
administrative and political problems, 'there are about two
- 45 million words in the Collected Edition, of which about one third need to be freshly translated,
one third to be thoroughly revised and one third to be read through '
Let us look at the words of another extremely important witness, replying to the letter
Jones had sent to Kubie and others in America, 'to raise funds for the English publication of
Freud's papers.16 The letter in question, dated 28 January 1940, comprises a plan 'to found
a Society for the Publication in English of Sigmund Freud's Collected Papers'. The words of
the writer, who does not wish to be identified, testify to a remarkable sense of the
historical moment; even if to some they may have too absolute a ring. They also echo the
sentiments expressed by Jones:
Freud's death marks a new phase in the development of psychoanalysis,
a phase possibly fraught with danger. His death coincides with the definite loss of
Central Europe to further contributions to the development of psychoanalytic science.
Consequently the English-speaking countries in the future will be of even greater
importance to analysis than they have been in the past, and these cultures will have
to carry the full burden of responsibility for the fate of this science.

Since it is feasible that after Freud's death the proposals to change the scientific
foundation and technique of psychoanalysis will exceed the already numerous
proposals made in the past, and since the pen of the late founder no longer will be
able to defend his theories, it is of the utmost importance that every scholar of
psychoanalysis be able to obtain adequate and detailed knowledge of all Freud's
ideas before he decides which of Freud's ideas should be revised (my italics).
The writer then goes on to stress the need to collect and publish as much of Freud's
writings as possible, including his correspondence and his pre-psychoanalyticalworks: 'For
the sake of the quest for knowledge of later generations, every word written by Sigmund
Freud should be carefully preserved'. He then insists that: 'the careful translation of Freud's
writings into the English language would necessitate the close collaboration of many people
devoted to Freud'; and he concludes by stating: 'In view of my introductory statement, the
achievement of Dr Jones's proposal should be regarded as absolutely necessary to the
future of psychoanalysis and to the prevention of gradual decay and deterioration of this
movement. The law of self preservation demands that we strive to achieve this goal '
An interesting point is that, at this juncture, the personal letter sent by Jones to various
eminent American psychoanalysts, and bearing the names of Riviere, Payne, Strachey and
Rickman, also included that of Anna Freud.17 Adoptive children, cousins, or nieces and

16 The Archives of the British Psycho-Analytical Society contain some letters, or copies of
letters, written by psychoanalysts living in America, whom Jones had contacted at the
request of the Memorial committee. In a letter dated 2 January 1940, Brill gives his 'full
support' to Jones, even though he seems a little dubious about the possibility of finding
financial backing immediately. But of particular note are the letter from the writer quoted
above, and two letters from Alexander. Displaying great practicality, Alexander proposes the
founding of a society of about 500 persons, to comprise both English and American
members, and people in the public eye, e.g. Thomas Mann, Stefan Zweig and others. In
these letters of 16 November 1939 and 9 January 1940, Alexander fully backs up Jones'
scheme. Interestingly enough, he emphatically states the need to set up a company 'here in
America; of course, with the closest co-operation with England', (sic). The enterprise 'should
be more on a business basis and less on a sentimental one' in Alexander's view. The letters
contain an illuminating analysis of American reactions to Freud's death, and Alexander tries
to convince Jones that America 'with its 125 million English-speaking Americans with their
democratic educational system' offers 'the greatest field, both for contributions and also the
greatest market for selling'. He also suggests that they 'approach American foundations like
Rockefeller, Guggenheim'(see Alexander's letter to Jones of January 1940), stressing
also the point that 'if the company would be organized in America to interest American
Foundations would have greater chances of success' (16 November 1939)just as in Jones'
The correspondence is highly significant in all its implications, both explicit and otherwise,
and in clearly demonstrating the attempt on the part of the Americans, understandably, from
their point of view, to take at least partial control of the S.E.
17 A. Freud asked Jones to include on the committee a trusted friend of hers, Dr Bienenfeld,
who had offered to 'defray the expenses of such an undertaking' (Jones to Strachey, 10
October 1939). Jones, however, insisted that: 'It would be more dignified and worthy of the
object for a memorial to be established by a number of representative persons and
institutions than by the efforts of an individual however magnanimous', and proposed that

Bienenfeld should become secretary, treasurer and business manager of the committee. But
in particular Jones proposed, stressing the need for the help of the Americans, that there
should be: 'Issued a public appeal in Great Britain signed if possible by the President of the
Royal Society of Medicine, the President of the Royal Medico Psychological Association, the
President of the British Psychological Society and the President of the British PsychoAnalytical Society'.
Jones' intention to make the Freud Memorial an enterprise backed by the most official names
and by the most prestigious institutions in Great Britain comes across quite clearly here.
- 46 nephews, all received support and sanction for this project (albeit guardedly) from
the woman who had every right (at least from her point of view, and considering all she had
done for her father and so many of her Viennese and German friends and collegues in those
last tragic years) to see herself as Freud's most direct heir and the person primarily
responsible for the protection and transmission of his work. But the inclusion of Anna Freud's
name among the members of this Freud Memorial represents only one short episode in her
long association with Jones and Strachey, and especially in the matter of the translation of
her father's work into English, as we shall see. Anna's official participation in this enterprise
was indubitably also a decisive factor in determining certain cultural judgements, and in the
weight that Freud's family and the BritishSociety were to assumefor various reasons which
did not always coincidein the completion of the S.E. I have already mentioned, for
example, her undeniable influence in the discussion of fundamental details as to the
organization of the S.E., probably at the instigation of Kris.
Bearing in mind what I have already observed, it is significant that the desire expressed
in this correspondence for an edition, 'possibly an annotated one', of Freud's work, also
comprises at a certain point the laying down of certain directives for the translation, such as I
have been explaining, which also convey the sense of urgency about getting the work under
way. Make no mistake, it may be that it was a committee (if via the person of Jones) which
was legislating over these criteria; but it is Jones that we then find hammering home the
same criteria, in perhaps one of the finest and most significant letters that he wrote on this
subject during these months. I am referring to the letter to Sir William Baggs of 13 December
1939, in reply to Sir William's refusal to back the Freud Memorial on financial grounds, owing
to the insecurity of the situation in wartime England. Jones replied thus to Sir William, the
director of the influential Faraday Research Laboratory and more importantly, president of the
I am persuaded that you would share the view that to salvage from the Moloch of
destructiveness something of our cultural and scientific treasures is an aim worthy to
rank even with the patriotic duty of winning the war. Most decisive of all, however, is
the consideration that those of us who worked personally with Freud, partly in his
more active years, are few and old and it is on them that the burden of the
undertaking would fall. It is very much a question of uniformly editing and annotating
his writing in a way that would elucidate allusions and references the meaning of
which would otherwise be lost for those after us (my italics). (See also Jones' letter
to Strachey, 19 October 1939.)
This same theme is echoed on the other side of the Atlantic in the reply from another of
Freud's closest collaborators, who had, what is more, analysed a number of the pioneers of
English psychoanalysis; Hanns Sachs. On 6 November 1939, he wrote thus to Jones:

I applaud the decision of the Committee (sic) that a complete, uniform (my italics) and
faultless edition of Freud's works would be the best memorial, and I may add, one of
which he himself would fully approve A complete collection of all Freud's work, the
smaller articles included, uniform not only outwardly but also in the style of translation
and the use of terminology (in the widest sense) is certainly an indispensable
necessity (my italics).
About ten years later, we will find Strachey with these same preoccupations, when with
the approval of the Institute he was to draw up the proposal document for the Memorial
Edition of Freud. This marks the second major attempt to draw the attention of public and
Institutes on both sides of the Atlantic to the need for what is by now calledechoing former
projects, as we shall seea 'complete English Standard Edition of Freud's writings,
sponsored by the Institute of Psychoanalysis'. Strachey explains that due to
the constantly extending interest in Freud's ideas [it is] highly necessary that
students should have easy access to trustworthy translations of Freud's own writings.
Though most of these have already appeared in English, many are now unobtainable
and several of the most important exist only in unsatisfactory and inaccurate versions
which stand in need of thorough revision It is particularly desirable that the work of
translation should be carried out now, while many of Freud's pupils, who discussed
the details of the translation with him are still active (my italics).
What is the significance of all this?
In addition to what I have already observed, and before coming to some provisional

18 See also the letter of Bienenfeld to Woolf, 21 February 1940.

- 47 there is something else I should like to mention, which will clarify further what these
documents, in my opinion, have to show us. Before the project launched by Strachey, which
was to take the form of twenty-four volumes edited in chronological order (of which more
later), there had been the initiative of the Freud Memorial Committee. In March 1940, they
had contacted the publishers Unwin and Lane, old hands at English editions of Freud, and
Leonard Woolf of the Hogarth Press; and Jones seemed to have succeeded in persuading
them, with the assistance of Bienenfeld, 18 to consider publishing the Collected Edition of
Freud (Jones, 1940).
But apart from all the pressure to transfer the enterprise to America
for economic reasons, such as the correspondence with the Americans discloses, (and which
Alexander exemplifies) there had been an actual bid, itself unsuccessful, to find American
and English publishers. With the support of Freud's family and of Strachey, Woolf (1946) had
made his own attempt to publish the translated works of the founder of
psychoanalysis.19 But this failed attempt on Woolf's part in a way resumes an even earlier
major initiative. A committee of the American Psychoanalytic Association in New York,
headed by Otto Fenichel, planned to prepare 'a new and reliable English edition of Freud's
collected work' (Fenichel, 1945).
Fenichel's project, which also had the backing of Anna Freud, (Jones, 1945) ; (Anna
Freud, 1945), (1947)20 was very attractive to Strachey. His reply to Fenichel's
letter21 inviting him and his wife to become Freud's official translators merits studying and

quoting. Amongst other things, it contains some of Strachey's most illuminating observations
as to his concept of the translation, with personal accents which prove extremely interesting
in the light of what I shall have to say about his method of working. But the letter contains
another important revelation: there was a real risk of Strachey being won over to a project
where control over the translation would pass out of the hands of the British Society and over
to the Americans, amongst whom, indeed, Anna Freud numbered her most ardent friends
and supporters. This may have been largely due to the post-war situation in England; but
though this is purely my own hypothesisthere may have been other factors: after all, the
British Psycho-Analytical Society had been torn apart by tremendous tensions only months
beforehand, when battle between Anna Freud and the Viennese, and the Kleinians and their
English supporters, had erupted over the very question of how Freud's texts should be
interpreted, in German and in English (Steiner, 1985) ; these wrangles had, moreover, left
their mark on Anna Freud.
Fenichel had, in fact, written to Strachey on 14 July 1945; in his reply, Strachey imposes
strict conditions upon his participation, reasserting his personal leadership on the grounds
that his cultural background gave him superior title over the Americans and European
emigrants to America. Strachey thanks Fenichel for the honour conferred upon himself and
his wife, and after expressing interest in the proposal, goes on to say:

19 In his letter of 12 December 1946 Woolf informs Sylvia Payne of the project; but the letter
gives the distinct impression that he thought Payne and the Institute already knew of the
scheme, for he asks the Institute for funding. A few days later, Payne wrote to Anna Freud,
telling her that both she and Jones were in the dark about the project, and that she should
inform Jones as he 'was still the Editor of the International Psychoanalytical Press' (Payne to
A Freud, 1 January 1947); 'he, Jones, says he knows nothing about it'.
Anna replied to Sylvia on 6 January 1947, explaining what had happened: how Woolf had
contacted herself and Strachey, and the ideas for finding American financing, and adds: 'I
know that he [L. Woolf] has not contacted Jones so far since he wanted first to have
agreement with James Strachey and then secure co-operation.'
20 In her reply (dated 25 August 1945) to Jones' enquiry as to whether she knew anything
about Fenichel's project, Anna Freud declared: 'I have received the same letter as you have
recieved from Dr Fenichel. I should be glad if the "Gesammelte Ausgabe" became a reality,
but it seems to me that the project is still as far as ever from being realized. I should have
preferred it if it could have happened in England. But it seems hardly possible for any
publisher to undertake it. It may prove impossible in America too, though the Committee
there seems to show great interest and activity'.
In her reply to Payne on 6 January 1947, Anna stated: 'The American project of which you
know has come to nothing, not because of Fenichel's death, but because of the lack of
financial means of the International University Press, the owners of which had meant to
undertake it.'
21 Strachey's reply is undated but must be in July 1945. The Archives of the
British Society also contain a reply to Strachey from his former collaborator Riviere (6
August 1945) expressing her willingness to work with Strachey on certain conditions and
with many restrictions, given her clinical commitments.
- 48 I am particularly delighted that your Committee are evidently taking a very critical
attitude towards the Freud translations which have been made in the past. My own
judgments on a large proportion of them are at least as severe as yours. Much of the

work, it has always seemed to me, was done by people who understood neither
psychoanalysis, German, nor English. And this leads me to the one criticism which I
have to make of the plan. (I feel sure you will wish me to be candid even at the risk of
causing some offence.) The weak side of your proposed organization, as it seems to
me, lies in the fact that, so far as I can judge, such a small proportion of the
provisional rota of editors and 'checkers' are likely to have what I should consider a
satisfactory command of English.
I must at once explain that what I am thinking of is nothing to do with differences of
usage here and in America, which seem to be of trivial importance and easily
adjustable. I do however feel that except in the very rarest cases, no one who has not
been brought up from childhood in a language can possibly acquire an adequate
grasp of its literary idiom. And that is where your team of editors and checkers seems
to me to fall short. Unfamiliarity with English may lead a translator into actual
distortions of sense But it is of course in the matter of style that the danger is
monumental. It would be a truly melancholy event if this monumental presentation of
Freud to the English-speaking world were marred by a failure to do justice to the
literary qualities of his work.
It seems to me then, that in addition to the absolutely essential checking for accuracy
for which your Committee's scheme provides so thoroughly, there should also be an
equally careful checking for style. I feel so deeply on this point that I have the
hardihood to make what may seem a very self-assured suggestion. It has occured to
me that, failing a better alternative, I myself might possibly be employed usefully as
some sort of stylistic checker. What I have in mind is that I might perhaps be given an
opportunity of reading through each volume as it is completed and of tentatively
noting for editorial consideration any suggestions of a stylistic kind that might occur to
me. I may perhaps remark that I have in the past gone through a large number of the
Hogarth Press translations in this way (my italics).
Looking at the evidence coming from these further documents it is important to notice
that one man is always at the front line in all these battles, 'coups de main', bids to transfer
the whole translation enterprise across the Atlantic, to make Strachey the Americans' 'stylistic
checker', or to take the translation into private hands: that man is none other than Ernest
Jones. His motives are not solely (to use his own words), 'to salvage from the Moloch of
destructiveness' the relics of Freud's work, but are quite different, proclaiming something of
an obsession which lasted over thirty years. Take, for example, his letter of 26 July 1945.
Here, in an attempt to stop Strachey ending up as a translator for Fenichel's committee, he
puts to Strachey his convictions as to the leadership they share by 'quasi-divine'
Dear Strachey,
I heard of the American translation project last year. Did I not tell you about it? They
asked for my opinion and I sent them a long statement relating some of my
experiences, discussing the difficulties to be overcome and mentioning that the only
competent translators I had hitherto met were yourself and Mrs Riviere. I heard no
more about it, until I got lately the Proceedings of the last meeting of the
American Association, from which I gleaned that they have been in regular
correspondence with Anna Freud, that the project is going forward and that the
editorial board is to consist of one American and six refugees (my italics).

There is obviously one way in which a really proper Collected Edition translation
could be done, namely by you two people and my self being indemnified for spending
the rest of our lives in the task' (my italics).
Jones then adopts a more conciliatory tone towards the Americans:
One becomes increasingly reconciled to the rarity of perfection in this world, and so
we had better make up our minds that this enterprise is not likely to be an example of
it. Nevertheless, I do not see why that should hinder any of us from being as useful
as is possible with the undertaking
Some ten years later, Strachey was to pay his tribute of acknowledgement to Jones, and
was to hark back to these statements in a letter thanking him for his review of the translation
of the Traumdeutung23 (Strachey to Jones, 5 November 1955). After acknowledging
Jones' 'invaluable support', Strachey adds that his

22 With extraordinary timing, Jones wrote to Strachey during the most delicate phase of his
negotiations with Fenichel.
23 In his review, Jones (1955) praises the quality of Strachey's translation; moreover his 'impeccable
English familiarity with the subject matter and colloquial knowledge of German are all beyond
reproach'. This is, incidentally, rather an ambiguous statement. Strachey (5 November
1955) comments, 'Colloquial knowledge of German beyond reproach? Ahem'. He goes on to say, 'I
was particularly glad to see a reference to my helpers and servers, who have done heroic work'.

- 49 'running Commentaries in the S.E. were almost entirely propped up on [Jones's] researches',
and concludes: 'I think that our jobs in a different way tend in the same direction of sticking
up a reasonably true and complete picture of the Professor's work' (my italics).
Though tempered by that crucial word 'reasonably', and it must be said by his public
declarations on the nature of his translation, his words cannot but epitomize that conviction
of being in the right which I have already pointed out elsewhere. This is certainly bounded by
ideological implications and limits, which I shall go into below, but these had even sustained,
and one should add justified, his enormous feat in taking on such an enterprise, by that time
advancing in years and suffering from poor health.
At this point, someone may well object that there is no need to dwell so much on all this.
After all, in addition to Strachey's work, everyone knows of Jones' long dedication to
propagating and administrating psychoanalysis on a local and international level, as well as
his own studies of Freud: his work on Freud's biography, for example, and Strachey's implicit
acknowledgement of Jones provide ample evidence of this. From this correspondence,
indeed, there emerges a series of directives and general assertions from Jones which tesitify
to his vigilance and 'longa manus' on the various committees and in the various post-war
initiatives leading up to the S.E. This is still evident even after he withdrew
from active participation in the life and cultural policies of the Society and the Institute
of Psycho-Analysis. In the end, however, it was Strachey and those he called his 'helpers
and servers' (Strachey to Jones, 5 November 1955) who did the actual work of translation
and got the project off the ground.
A study of the correspondence between Jones and Strachey in the fifties and
sixties24 discloses many insights into discussions over terminology, and the translation from
German of various expressions; these show Jones still personally committed to resolving
concretely even questions of a purely linguistic nature arising out of his work on Freud's

biography. But it is in the correspondence of the forties and fifties from which I have been
quoting that we really see Jones at the height of his assistance of, or even intercession with
Freud's family, and thus still at the helm, albeit discreetly, of an enterprise which had been
the fruit of many years' devotion on his part. This devotion may at times appear obsessive or
even tragi-comical; but the project was one with which he had long since totally identified,
and for which he had always fought desperately that it remain the enterprise and the
patrimony of the British Psycho-Analytical Society.
The decisions reached by the very first Committee formed to honour Freud's memory in
October 1939 were very much group decisions; and that repeated relaying in the letters of a
terminology based on 'true', 'uniform' and 'definitive', shows up not just the sole pride of a
single individual, even verging at times perhaps upon puerility, and veined with a certain
nationalistic streak. What comes across in these letters, along with Jones, is the whole
weight of the lite of the English psychoanalytical establishment within the international
movement, and its own particular history. This explains the particular tone of certain
assertions. Indeed, in many of the letters I have quoted there is explicit reference to a
collective undertaking: this is quite simply demonstrated even in Jones' reiteration of terms
such as 'we', 'me and you, and Alix Strachey, Rickman, Riviere'. It would therefore be at the
very least hasty to limit one's studies merely to Strachey's activity during the fifties ; for it
would seem even from the few documents from which I have quoted, that certain of the
choices he adhered to and which constitute most of his translation criteria (choices and
criteria which have recently been the object of criticisms, motivated to varying degrees, of so
many scholars) in fact relate to a tradition and to a group: headed, moreover, by Jones.
We know of the existence of earlier translations dating back at least as far as the
twenties; Strachey was later to work on these again, having already had a hand in their
original versions. This, then, was their work in common,

24 The letters form part of Strachey's papers in the Archives of the British PsychoAnalytical Society. For the most part they are letters in which Jones and Strachey discuss the
biography of Freud that Jones was writing, and contain important observations on the
subject. They merit close study; I mean to refer to them as the occasion arises.
25 See for instance what Bienenfeld, obviously echoing Jones, says in his letter to Woolf of
the 21 February 1940' ' Dr Jones regards the whole work as very difficult, because it
seems to be necessary to create a uniform terminology Dr Jones himself must revise the
translation ' (my italics).
- 50 to which Jones alluded. But recent studies of this question have frequently, or should I say
invariably, overlooked the fact that Jones started his involvement with psychoanalysis early in
the century, publishing dozens of papers whose work became incorporated into the
first translations of Freud. What kind of link exists between affirmations made in the forties
and what came both before and after? What cultural ascendants, if any, is it possible to
identify in those terms 'true', 'uniform' and 'definitive', terms to which Strachey was also to
attach such importance? These very often originated from the pen of Jones, who, while he
set himself up as spokesman for a whole group, by 1940 did already have behind him many
years' experience and a personal and cultural history of prime importance in this field.25 I
believe that in order to understand in its proper perspective the information that has begun to
emerge from these crucial documents dating from the forties and after, we have to go back in

time. To be in a position to appreciate the limits and also the profound historical reasons
governing these declarations which ultimately determined the criteria upon which
theS.E. was based, we have no choice but to start off from the pioneer work of Jones and his
friends, in particular Brill, at the beginning of the century, considering also the historical and
cultural context in which they operated, as well as certain cutural co-ordinates of Jones'
conditioning and upbringing.
If one does indeed go back in time from the forties and fifties, armed with the discoveries
and observations we have made about the criteria governing the organization of the S.E.,
one discovers a series of facts relating to the translation of Freud which could only with
difficulty be linked exclusively to the names of James and Alix Strachey.
These insights permit us to explain and occasionally to correct assumptions about the
translation of certain technical terms and their authorship, which through custom have by
now become attached somewhat simplistically to Strachey and the S.E. But we can make an
even more important discovery through the study of these terms which were transmitted
persistently and uniformly through time, so that (as I shall elucidate) the same terms crop up
forty years on in the S.E. For such a study enables us to trace a line of continuity going back
through the forties, with the project presided over by Jones, and what followed, right back
to the beginning of the century. We can thus in some measure at least show the existence of
a link between the historical and cultural motivations behind certain choices, already
becoming crystallized, even if wavering from time to time, and some sort of desire for a
criterion of uniformity. This would be congruent with the mental cast of the proposer of such
criteria; with the need of psychoanalysis to survive in Jones' chosen field of operation; and
with the values he meant to defend and to imbue with the initiatives proposed by the diffusion
of psychoanalysis and, do not forget, by the institutions it founded.
In addition, the wealth of this information allows us to trace to their origins a whole series
of problems which, if they are apparently not strictly connected with choices and recurring
features, of a linguistic nature, nevertheless are an integral part of the specific history of this
translation. We have already glimpsed this in the conviction held by Jones and Strachey
during the forties and fifties that they were of an lite, designated for historical reasons to
pass on Freud's message in English. Seen in perspective, this represents no more than the
culminating point of a chain of events whose origins go far back in time. Reflecting on these
origins cannot simply be a matter of a perhaps eccentric taste for historical research as an
end in itself. It may also prove salutary for the immediate present.
In 1913, Jones published in London his Papers on Psycho-Analysis. In my opinion, this
collection warrants close examination. It contains essays conceived and written over a period
of six or seven years, after his departure to America in 1908 for a number of personal
reasons; and after discovering Freud's work and reading it with enthusiasm, though without a

26 The Archives of the British Psycho-Analytical Society contain material enabling one to
follow the whole of Jones' pre-university educational career, his passion for languages etc.
Jones has a good knowledge of Latin and French, and a little Greek: all languages he had
studied at school. The notebooks from his time at Cardiff and at London are of particular
note, revealing his interest in philosophy, science and ethics.
The Archives and the Library also contains some of the earliest books on psychoanalysis
possessed by Jones: Die Traumdeutung (1900), Die Sammlung kleiner Schriften zur

Neurosenlerehr (19036), Gradiva for instance were all bought in 1907, as from the original
handwritten date and Jones' signature on those books.
- 51 great knowledge of German, which he had studied neither at school nor at University.26 In
his Free Associations (1959), Jones tells us how he became acquainted with Freud's work
through the writings of Myers, Havelock Ellis and Mitchell; through discussions with his friend
Trotter; and, reading at first-hand, through the case of Doraand through the Traumdeutung ;
his study of German was via the writings of Heine (Jones, 1959, pp. 140, 141 et passim).
Two things, I would say, strike the reader. Firstly, the occasion of conceiving and
publishing these various writings; and secondly, the particular mode of expression adopted
by Jones. On closer inspection, these two questions prove to be inter-related, and apparently
explainable by Jones' own assertions, with a banality which is self-evident; but which in my
opinion takes us to the very heart of the matter.
Jones was, of course, a doctor, and by far the majority of the essays in this collection
(with some exceptions, which were not, in any case, included in the first edition) are
addressed to a specialist readership of psychiatrists, psychologists and neurologists, not only
in America, where Jones lived during that period, but in an indirect way also those in
England. Jones adopts a particular style in these writings; as one reads, there gradually
emerges from the pages an outline of the essential landmarks and milestones of
psychoanalysis during those years, an outline traced with great patience and diligence on
Jones' part, and covering Freud's works up to 19067. This outline hinges on the explanation
of certain basic Freudian concepts (with a certain amount of repetition in places), giving
translations of the essential terminology used in Freud's pieces on dreams, hysteria and
obsessive neuroses. The original German is often left alongside its English translation, with
the notable exception of the term 'ego', which, to my knowledge, is never accompanied by
the 'Ich' or 'das Ich' of Freud's original.
Perhaps it is all too easy nowadays to adopt a superior attitude towards these writings, or
to dismiss them as a mere exercise in summary and popularization. In actual fact, however,
historically speaking, and in the language they use, they represent the first uniform and
systematic collection and exposition of Freud's thought in English, executed, moreover, by an
English speaker. There is already evidence here of a characteristic terminology, which itself
gives rise to a number of considerations. For we can already detect a certain uniformity, or
monotony, even, which is a function of the tone of illustration and rsum adopted in these
essays. Indeed, they are written with an extraordinary clarity, which derives precisely from
the consistent use of a uniform terminology: one stripped to the bone, so to speak, and as we
shall see, for the most part characterized by the kind of infinitesimal precision used in
descriptions of anatomy or in botanical handbooks. Or so it might seem, were it not that
Jones is writing about what he is one of the first to define in psychological terminology as the
Freudian unconscious, and its relationship with what he calls 'mind' and 'ego', terms he uses
to convey other Freudian expressions.
I do not think, therefore, that there can be any doubt as to the importance of this
collection for my thesis. But taking these essays as the point of departure poses a whole
series of pressing questions which compel us to follow up various lines of enquiry. For if we
are to understand how Jones arrived at certain linguistic choices, and from these, to trace the
course of his work, and that of others, over the years; if we are to assess whether and in
what respects his choices formed part of any continuity, then we mustif only fleetingly
refer to the theoretical and cultural foundation that should be presumed and

whose presence can be discerned behind these works. And this is not exclusively a factor of
Jones' personality as an individual, but also of his cultural grounding, which had particular
characteristics. Thus we must inevitably take
- 52 into account Jones' personal history, his environment and inflexibilities, as well as the
prejudices, the objective difficulties of integrating a new set of hypotheses and research such
as psychoanalysis both into the world of medicine, psychiatry, neurology and psychology,
and into the wilder, cultural world, of England and of America at that period. Finally, we must
acknowledge that these factors determined a particular interpretation of psychoanalysis from
its inception, which is already reflected in thepresence, the repetitiveness, or even in
the absence, if you will, of a certain type of terminology and expressive style.
And so, inevitably, we find ourselves faced fair and square with one of the most vexed
and hotly debated issues in psychoanalysis: is psychoanalysis itself actually a science, and if
so, what kind of science is it?
After these essays, or rather, from the very time of their writing, there were to be no
doubts on this score for Jones. And this is worth remembering, for it was to have
immeasurable repercussions in the translation of Freud. Psychoanalysis, for Jones, was a
science, a scientific psychology to be related to the other natural sciences, primarily biology
and physiology. This belief can be observed in the introduction to these Papers on PsychoAnalysis, which stands as a sort of manifesto and at the same time an interpretation of
psychoanalysis. Its implications are far-reaching, and I shall return to the subject as essential
to our theme. Indeed, Jones hails Freud as the 'Darwin of the mind, who has replaced the
metaphysical or poetical phrases of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Bergson, Shaw, by a
scientific and biological one' (my italics). Jones makes a point of citing the definitions of
Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, Wille zur Macht, Bergson's lan vital, Shaw's 'life force' and
the 'vital impulse' of so many writers, maintaining that they 'are equivalent to what Freud
terms the Libido'.
He goes on to say: 'His shifting of the emphasis in psychology away from the intellectual
to the instinctive, and his derivation of the higher and more complex mental activities from
lowlier forms more nearly akin to those characteristic of animals, represent a momentous
progress in scientific thought; for the reduction of the mental to biological terms seems the
only satisfactory way of bringing psychology into line with the organic sciences, and of
establishing a harmonious relationship between it and physiology thanks to Freud, we
have for the first time, a purely biological theory of mental evolution, one free of any
admixture of supernatural, metaphysical, or ethical mysticism ' (Jones, 1913, p. 12, my
It is therefore essential to keep this model in mind in order to begin to understand the
particular extrapolation of Freudian terminology, especially in translating Freud, and the way
in which it is stripped to the bone, as I have observed; it is no coincidence that Jones speaks
of 'reduction of the mental to biological terms'. But first of all, we need a clear idea of the
terrain in which Jones grew up and started his work.
However, rather than lose ourselves in generic or general observations, such as can, in
any case, be found in his Free Associations, 27 or in what his biographers have written,
concerning the more obvious aspects of his cultural formation and his early professional life, I
should like to focus on certain characteristics in particular, which, in my opinion, are more
closely connected with the subject in hand, since they may help to clarify and better
contextualize it.

It is not inevitable that one's early experience has an indelible effect in later lifebut such
was certainly not true of Jones. He remained consistent with his to the end of his days, as we
can see from his Free Associations and from the fact that, in essence, he went on
republishing for many years his first works in the field of psychoanalysis. Now, if we go back
to the time when these early works were taking shape, it is quite clear that Jones was still
freshly influenced by the forma mentis he had adopted, if not before, then certainly during his
time at Cardiff University, and then in London (Barnard, 1969). This was the England and the
London which Jones would often refer to in later years as the London of the 'naughty
nineties' (Jones, 1959, p. 93); this decade could in turn, be seen as the outlet of what
Buckley (1966) has called the

27 It is nevertheless important to remind the reader that according to Jones (1959), he

studied Latin at school in depth, but his knowledge of Ancient Greek was rather superficial (p.
47, see also p. 52 of this paper).
- 53 'aesthetic eighties', a period which had seen the incipient crisis of the late Victorian era and
ushered in the Edwardian age (Dangerfield, 1936) ; (Houghton, 1957) ; (Hynes,
1968) ; (Williams, 1961) ; (Holroyd, 1967) ; Bullock, 1967; (Read, 1972) ; (Thompson,
1975) ; (Bradbury, 1976) ; (McFarlane, 1976). In a word, 'the Imperial City' (Wells, quoted
by Bradbury, 1976) had opened up to the influence of European culture, albeit in the face of
enormous obstacles and great prejudice, and was finally emerging, or at least attempting to
emerge, from the splendid isolation of her imperial heyday.
What chiefly concerns us in the shaping of Jones' forma mentis is the important
propaedeutical role played by the mode of expression and the language involved in his
studies. Biology, anatomy, physiology, and neurology were the subjects framing Jones'
interests and curriculum in studying to become a doctor, and these studies were to have a
lasting effect on him. More irrevocably so than in Freud's case, considering that some parts
of the university education of the two men had much in common. For even in environments
as different as were those of England and Austria in those years, university studies often
prescribed texts which, if not identical, were at times very similar (Jones, 1953), (1959) ;
(Amacher, 1960); (Clark, 1980) ; (Sulloway, 1982; Funari, 1983).
The language we are considering was full of esoteric Greek and Latin terms, and was
understood and used by a relatively restricted circle of professionals and specialists in the
fields of science and medicine, as those were perceived at that time. Such a language had
always been used by the medical world to maintain a certain distance between itself and the
public at large, even in England (Serjeautson, 1935) ; (Andrews, 1947 ; (Savoury,
1967) ; (Poynter, 1970), be it for reasons of security andcensorship, or from openly avowed
motives of prestige (Holloway, 1964). The importance of this kind of prestige is something
Jones would have learned at first hand, coming as he did from the provinces in singleminded pursuit of professional and social advancement (Reader, 1966). For he would have
encountered the awesome power of the machinery of social and professional selection that
the Royal College of Physicians wielded even in those days (Newman, 1957) ; (Stevens,
1966) ; (Poynter, 1970); (Sarfatti Larson, 1977). But as well as by this kind of
exclusiveness, the type of language employed in the disciplines under discussion was also
determined by otherconsiderations. Cardiff and London were both recently founded
universities, and thus to a greater extent than the more traditional seats of Cambridge and

Oxford at that time (Cardwell, 1957) ; (Roach, 1959) ; (Clark, 1964) ; (Rothblatt,
1968) ; (Barnard, 1969) ; (Armytage, 1970) ; (Burrow, 1970) ; (Sanderson, 1970); (Sarfatti
Larson, 1977) ; (Mulhern, 1981) ; (Baldick, 1983) their aims were scientifically and
pragmatically oriented; precision and lack of ambiguity were therefore the reflex of
a culturewhich had, with the tools of objective observation and minute description, fashioned
an instrument to banish from disciplines such as Jones was studying the last vestiges of any
interference on the part of philosophy, metaphysics or moralistic ethics.28
Much later, Jones was to make an observation of fundamental importance for our thesis.
In Free Associations, recalling his years at university and his reading there, he talks of his
early interests in philosophy: it would be interesting to make some comparisons on this score
between his reading material and Freud's. However, Jones states, 'Hume long ago warned
us against postulating a metaphysical entity, whether called "mind" or "soul", to explain the
simple phenomena of mental processes'(Jones, 1959, p. 58, my italics).
Jones' anti-metaphysical education, then, played a vital role in the interpretation he was
subsequently to give to Freud, and in the way he would eventually translate himfrom the
very earliest ventures, as we shall see. What is more, this anti-metaphysical doctrine would
certainly have been endorsed by the language used in the books Jones read and the
manuals he consulted during his years of study. There were, for example, the texts by Wells
and Lambert on physiology, anatomy and zoology, amongst others (Jones, 1959, p. 68) quite
apart from his admiration for Bradford, Hasley, and also for

28 That does not mean that Cambridge and Oxford were not characterized by some of these
aims. Yet I believe it was the pragmatism of Cardiff and London which contributed to create
the special forma mentis of Jones.
- 54 Hughlings-Jackson (Clark, 1983). An examination of the illustrations in such books reveals
an extremely precise terminology based on Greek and Latin words, since in England, as
elsewhere, these had by long tradition provided a vehicle for scholarly discourse; and, in
addition to the qualities already mentioned, on a purely linguistic level Greek and Latin lent
themselves to the formation of compound words, as well as being capable of a far wider
international currency than were Anglo-Saxon or Normanderived languages (Andrews,
1947) ; (Lennox, 1954); (Olgivie, 1964) ; (Savoury, 1967) ; (Hist, 1966) ; (Quirck,
1968), (1972), (1974) ; (Strang, 1970) ; (Milroy & Milroy, 1985).
Any of these volumes could serve as an example: let us take Wells & Davies' zoological
manual (1898), much admired by Jones. We see that in their notes to students, the authors
of this work lay great emphasis on how certain terms were formed, citing the Graeco-Latin
stems or prefixes; and on the importance of the clarity and unambiguousness of these terms:
their 'meaning should be clear at all points'.
Consider, also, what Jones might have found in the pages of that bizarre character, F. W.
H. Myers. To do so is no idle frivolity, since Myers' work was, for various reasons, important in
the history of the birth of English psychoanalysis. And, after all, Myers was one of the people
who put Jones in touch with the work of Freud once Jones was no longer a medical student.
At the beginning of Human Personality(1903) (as if to impart a feeling of the period though as
much could be said of the work done by Jones later on as Freud's disseminator), Myers not
only provides an interesting glossary well worth a second look, but, after citing the example
of Tuke and hisDictionary of Psychological Medicine, goes on to say:

When a subject so novel as ours is made the subject of discussion in many countries,
there is a convenience in using words of Greek and Latin derivation which can be
adapted to all languages and can be made to bear a clearly defined signification (p.
xiii, my italics).29
It should be noted in parenthesis that Myers and his 'Society for Psychical Research' by
no means represented a current of scientism; indeed, they were in marked contrast with the
positivistic cult of science typifying the late Victorian era (Hynes, 1968) ; (Miller-Turner,
1974) ; (J. P. Williams, 1986). However, in addition to these few observations (which are
merely intended as a rough indication), we could take other factors into consideration; for
example, Jones' exercises in Latin translation at school, and the London University entrance
exam he had to sit in Latin, and passed with flying colours, as well as his flair for languages
generally. We could also consider his interests in subjects lying outside the areas of
neurology, psychiatry and medicine, such as are revealed in his early notebooks. (I shall
consider the importance of certain terms used in these notes in due course.) We learn that as
well as T. H. Huxley and other authors mentioned in Free Associations (pp. 56, 57), Jones
was reading and annotating the writings of men such as W. K. Clifford. Another of Jones'
great mentors was Karl Pearson30 whom Jones referred to Freud, and whom Jones goes so
far as to compare with the latter in his Papers on Psycho-Analysis: 'Freud is primarily a man
of science rather than a philosopher. In philosophy he would perhaps most nearly be
classified as accepting scientific idealism, as represented by Karl Pearson' (Jones, 1913, p.
Clifford and Pearson, (Passmore, 1968) ; (Coplestone, 1977), were representative of a
type of late even if very sophisticated positivism, and if we bear in mind the penchant for
precise disquisitions and correct terminology manifested by Clifford and Pearson in the field
of the philosophy of science, psychology and ethics, we can begin to develop an idea of how
Jones' particular forma mentis matured, along with

29 The glossary is particularly interesting: it contains all sort of psychological, psychiatric and
philosophical terms formed by ancient Latin and Greek compounds. Particularly important is
the definition of 'ideational' and the difference made between 'Phantasm' and 'Phantom (p.
30 In Freud's personal library at Maresfield Gardens there is a copy of Pearson's book The
Grammar of Science, copiously underlined by Freud, and which he had bought in 1912 at
Jones' suggestion (Freud to Jones, 24 February 1912). It is highly probable that the book
gave Freud not a few ideas as to the nature of science, and what brand of science
psychoanalysis might be, at the time when he was writing his celebrated papers
on metapsychology. I will try to show that in a future paper.
- 55 the necessity for the mode of expression I have alluded to.
And then, of course, all this would only have been further consolidated by Jones'
experience of hospital work during his early days in London, his somewhat eventful private
practice as a neurologist and doctor, and his journalistic activity, long before he became
interested in psychoanalysis. Consider, if you will, his work at St Bartholomew's Hospital, or
the quantity and nature of the scientific papers he wrote and continued to write even after he
had started to become involved in psychoanalysis;31 he would often discuss such papers at
meetings and conferences, where he was able to exchange ideas with other specialists, and

where the basis of such exchange would necessarily be a common lexis and a common
mode of expression, both particularly conservatively wedded to precision (Stevens, 1966).
As for Jones' work in Harley Street at the beginning of the century, this provided ample
scope for his lively powers of observation. He was well aware, then, of the kind
of personality and mentality that characterized more than one generation of doctors in
London, 'suave, cultured, well-to-do people' (Jones, 1959, p. 230) ; (Newmann,
1957) ; (Poynter, 1970). Their behaviour as well as their speech was indicative of precise
conventions of expression and communication (Reader, 1966) in which clarity, economy of
words and the necessity of avoiding any misunderstanding constituted a professional
obligation and a mark of respect, both reciprocal and towards the patient. Finally, to complete
the picture, we have to take account of the part played by the psychiatric world itself, and of
the guidance issued by influential bodies such as the Royal Society of Psychiatry or even the
Maudsley Hospital at that time, which had a rigidly positivist and scientistic outlook (Ingleby,
However, I do not want this admittedly brief allusion to Jones' cultural background to
create the impression that what we read in his collected papers on psychoanalysis and their
particular expressive qualities were the product of a smooth and straightforward evolution,
and can therefore simply be explained in terms of Jones' history. The year 1913 which I took
as my point of departure is, in a sense, deceptive; in fact, these papers cover a span of about
six years' work, if one excludes what had already been going on in Jones' head on these
subjects even beforehand. And these were years filled with difficulties and obstacles which
Jones had to overcome, either on his own, or in more or less close collaboration with Brill,
and to some extent at least with Freud, in a climate of suspicion, hostility, and almost total
ignorance regarding psychoanalysis. In America he had to reckon with prominent figures
from the scientific and cultural establishment, such as Morton Prince, Boris Sidis, Stanley
Hall, and even James Putnam before his conversion to psychoanalysis; but he was also up
against the hostility of the academic and scientific world in England. And then, to compound
his problems, Jones had to wage a constant battle on the personal front in order to maintain
a scientific and cultural image that was equal to the situation. A full understanding of the
motives and the linguistic orientation underlying these papers is not possible, in my opinion,
without reference to all these additional factors; and the papers themselves are, after all, of
vital importance to this study, since, for various reasons, the conditions in which they came
about were to continue to have a more or less directly attributable influence both on Jones',
and on his group's, subsequent involvement in the translation of Freud.
So far, I have merely hinted at this backdrop. However, only a detailed analysis of how
and why these papers were conceived and written in a particular language, and a review of
what subsequently happened to this terminology over timeits enduring, changing or
disappearancewill show why I have thought fit to go back over these early works of Jones.
Their very terminology, moreover, provides an opportunity to note all the seemingly external
factors, the relationship with Freud and the tensions it engendered even at that early date,
which I have indicated as forming an integral part of, and having an enormous impact upon,
the whole

31 Jones will continue to write papers which are not psychoanalytical but based on his
researches on neurology, psychiatry etc. for a long time. Freud and Jung were very
suspicious of Jones' papers especially because Jones was very interested in Kraepelin's

- 56 undertaking of the translation of Freud's work into English.

Jones actually met Freud for the first time at the Salzburg congress in 1908, and then
again a little later in Vienna with Brill. Jones had spent the previous months moving around,
from Kraepelin's clinic in Munich, to the Burghlzli Asylum, where he had met C. G. Jung,
and which was at that time a psychoanalytical hotbed; and he was now on the point of
leaving for Canada, where he had been offered a university post, and where he intended to
practise and to publicise his ideas of what psychoanalysis was all about.
At Salzburg, Jones presented, in English, his first psychoanalytical paper. In it, he
introduced, or perhaps clarified, a concept which was to remain particularly dear to him: that
of 'rationalization' (Jones, 1908, 1913). In doing so, he was coining his first technical term; in
retrospect, if it is not all too facile a hypothesis, this term might even be thought to have
a symbolic significance as regards Jones' approach to translating Freud. Consider, if you will,
not merely its Latin root, but the presence of 'ratio': reason, and the defensive ends to which
ratiocinative processes can sometimes be put in order to avoid any emotive clash with the
unconscious; it is a mechanism which is often reflected in the particular use of certain words
or expressions. It has to be taken into account even for Jones' translation of Freud, as I will
try to show!
These, then, were critical months for Jones. One can, indeed, imagine him struggling to
cope, as one of very few English speakers in the midst of a group (even though nothing like
as huge as would attend a congress today) who were native German speakers, as were the
psychoanalysts from Vienna, Budapest and Berlin, or those who came from Switzerland with
Jung. And so his first experience of translating such discourse as that centring around
Freudian psychoanalysis was 'live', two-way translation, dealing with concepts which must, at
times, have been difficult for him to apprehend and decipher. On top of all this, there was the
prospect of his imminent transfer across the Atlantic. Many of those who have explored the
question of the translation of Freud and the history of how it came about seem to have
overlooked the significance of the meeting in Vienna mentioned above. It was, in my opinion,
of capital importance.
What, then, does this meeting tell us, directly or indirectly? It would be forcing the
evidence to claim that there emerged from it an organizational blueprint, planned down to the
last detail. But what Jones has to say about it in Free Associations, even if based only on
recollection, is singularly illuminating, especially, as I hope to show, in the light of what
documents tell us of subsequent events.
So, what did the three men, Jones, Brill and Freud discuss that distant day in April 1908?
Believe it or not, they talked about translation! Jones, on the eve of his departure, was well
aware of the difficulties that awaited him: he had been corresponding with Morton Prince and
Boris Sidis, men whose standing he recognized all too well; Morton Prince, for example,
represented the recently founded and extremely influential Journal of Abnormal Psychology,
perhaps the most famous journal in the field of psychiatry in North America. Jones also had
the benefit of Brill's views; for, though an emigrant to America and at home neither with
English nor with German (Jones, 1955), (1959) ; (Brill, 1942) ; (Oberndorf, 1953) ; (Lewin,
1962) ; (Burnham, 1967) ; (Hale, 1971) ; (Roazen, 1979), Brill had been moulded by
its culture.
And so Jones, together with Brill, succeeded in talking Freud into discussing how his
works should be translated into English, in view of the fact that the means of spreading
psychoanalysis and ensuring its survival in the new environment depended precisely on the

way it was transmitted: 'We discussed the best translation to use for various technical terms;
it was Freud who thought of "repression" for " Verdrngung " (Jones, 1959, p. 169).
As Freud was interested in the diffusion of his work in English, he agreed to discuss,
note, 'the best translation to use for various technical terms'. Technical terms, then: no
exegesis of the text, but a sort of minimal programme, one which is most indicative of how
psychoanalysis should be understood, and of what was to be disseminated in what was, after
all, a medical environment, with the peculiar traditions and reservations that I have already
It is a great pity that Jones should have limited
- 57 himself to recalling the discussion relating to the single term, Verdrngung, fundamental
though that concept is, and was especially for psychoanalysis at that period. He probably
had no idea how invaluable subsequent comments of his might have proved.
Bettelheim, at any rate, neglects Jones' observation, attributing the rendering
of Verdrngung by 'repression' solely to Strachey. It could be objected that
Freud'sknowledge of English was not that of a native speaker, but (and we shall have to
return to this question) Jones assures us that at that meeting Freud's grasp of English was
excellent: 'he had an excellent, rather literary command of it' (Jones, 1959, p. 169).32
Clearly, it is difficult to have any precise idea what the three said to each other at that
encounter. But it is significant that, to some extent at least, they were all products of broadly
similar educational, if not cultural, systems; and at least over such terminology as had
already been defined technical, there was consensus.
The word 'repression' is basically a Latinism. We cannot be sure whether one of the three
was specifically thinking of the way the term had already been used in America at the turn of
the century (Page, 1893) ; (Bunker, 1945) or whether Brill or Jones might not have had in
mind Putnam's essay written in 1906, when he was as yet unconverted to psychoanalysis, in
which he used expressions such as 'repressed emotional state' and 'sexual repression' when
referring to Freud and his doctrines. Neither can we be certain that Freud may not have
recollected certain remarks made by Havelock Ellis in 1903, 33 in an essay Freud was
certainly familiar with, having quoted it in his 'Three essays on infant sexuality', which I shall
come to presently. If we go by Jones' account, however, the decision was Freud's.
But the fact remains that, whatever judgement we may make as to the correctness of the
choice, the term 'repression', like Jones' (1908)'rationalization', was, as I noticed, a Latinism.
As such it was naturally compatible with technical, medical and scientific language use in
general; and this gave it the potential advantage, at least, of not breaking too abruptly with
convention, and that was already important for various reasons, as I shall demonstrate later. I
would not claim that it was therefore Freud who suggested, de facto, the mass Latinization of
psychological terms, which has so troubled Bettelheim and others to some extent
justifiably. For the present, though, let us merely register this episode, deferring judgement or
further considerations until later.
If we are to attempt therefore to disentangle the intricate web of factors which eventually
resulted in Freud's translation into English, we cannot ignore the meeting in Vienna in April
1908. Although the question of tracing the origins of newly coined terminology such as this is
a vexed one, in that it is still too easy to refer to a previoustradition, forgetting the semantic
mobility of the terms on to which the new arrivals are grafted and, to paraphrase Adorno,
the dialectic between the 'new word and the one already given' (Adorno, 1973), the Vienna

encounter assumes an emblematic value, in view of the fact that it affords us a glimpse of the
circumstances which led first Jones and then

32 There is a further expression of Jones' admiration for Freud's English in an unpublished

letter to Freud written a few months later from Toronto, where Jones was then living. 'Dear
Professor Freud, Many thanks for your kind letter, ' (Jones wrote in English). 'How I admire
your facility in a foreign language'. He then went on to confess: 'Ability to speak or write
German even tolerably is one of the things I greatly desire' (10 December 1908). See also
Riviere's comments many years later. In an article published in The Lancet (30 September
1939), she says: 'I had met Professor Freud at the Hague in 1920 at the first International
Congress of Psychoanalysis. I first realized his amazing command of the English language,
although he had not been in England for over forty years, when his contribution to the
scientific work of the small congress was an ex-tempore lecture given with absolute mastery
in the simplest and most perfect English without any notes. These impressions were
confirmed during 1922, when I studied with him and got to know him.'
33 In his essay 'Analysis of the sexual impulse' in Studies on the Psychology of Sex(1903),
Havelock Ellis discusses the distinction between sexual instinct and sexual impulse: 'The
term "sexual instinct" may be said to cover the whole of the neuropsychic phenomena of
reproduction, which man shares with the lower animals', while by 'sexual impulse' he meant
'the nature of the internal messages which prompt the sexual act'. In further defining the
sexual impulse, Havelock Ellis speaks plainly of 'emotions in early life caused by forced
repression' (my italics, p. I).
- 58 Strachey to acquire that sense of being charged with a special mission, based on a
privileged relationship with Freud: what I referred to, in introducing these observations, as a
kind of linguistic Eucharist or Pentecost.
Indeed, Freud did not merely discuss and decide on terminology, but went so far as to
authorize an official translation in his name. This is another vital element, whose significance
was to increase steadily; we will already see its effects within a few months of that meeting
between Brill, Jones and Freud. It is difficult to establish with any certainty whether all the
participants were immediately aware of the implications of this authorization. In Free
Associations, Jones states that Brill asked Freud for the translation rights, and that Freud
granted them to him; 'for myself, being fully occupied, I was only too glad that someone else
should undertake this huge task' (Jones, 1959, p. 231), (see also Jones, 1955, p. 51).
However, it seems to me that we cannot rule out a whole chain of reactions
of transference and countertransference. Consider the following: neither Brill nor Jones had
been analysed by Freud, but both were in search of close identification with the master.
His choice of the two as translator (and Freud's personal sympathies, too, clearly lay with
Brill) was a favour which the other could not lightly have shrugged off.34What is more,
Freud's personal experience must surely have already taught him, if only at
an unconscious level, the importance that may attach to being made someone's exclusive
translator. I am not simply referring to Freud's early translations of John Stuart Mill in
themselves, but thinking rather of the narcissistic satisfaction that comes across in his letters
to Martha Bernays, when he tells her that Charcot has appointed him official
translator (Freud to M. Bernays, 12 December 1885).

Even if Jones was later to deny having been jealous of Brill (Jones, 1955, p. 51), (1959,
p. 232), we know that matters were not in reality so very tranquil from Jones' subsequent
behaviour in America vis--vis Freud. For he sought an identity and a strategy in spreading
Freud's ideas in America: his efforts were not only calculated to showcase his dedication to
the master, but tended also to highlight his need to be the leader of the movement in AngloAmerican circles. The translation of Freud therefore came to represent a powerful tool to this
end, conferring status and authority.
Indeed, a few months after the encounter in Vienna, which produced the decisions
already mentioned, Jones asked a curious question. Curious, but extremely important as
evidence of something that was later to turn out to be a fundamental concern of Jones'
cultural policy, that is the desire to preside over the translation of Freudfor various reasons,
not all of them merely personal, as we shall see. Jones, then, contacted Freud with a
question whose answer he should have known already; in a style affecting to be slightly
absent-minded, he wrote from Toronto on 26 September 1908: 'By the way, do you think the
new edition of the " Traumdeutung " (which we are eagerly awaiting) could be translated, or
is the German too colloquial? Sooner or later it will have to be, of course '
A few months later, Jones talked of Brill in a letter to Freud on 6 February 1909, as one
who had witnessed his colleague's manic generosity and ability to generate major confusion
in every sphere, including linguistic: 'Brill is an exceedingly clever worker with patients. I
greatly admire his capacity for quick interpretations or his ability in the management of
patients, but I do not consider him a good scientific exponent. He is so carried away by his
personal glow of satisfaction and excitement as to forget altogether his audience '
In this criticism of Brill's address there is also an implied censure of his translation, a
sentiment which Jones was later to reiterate to

34 It is interesting and important to remember here one of the first if not the first
impression de vivo on Freud concerning Jones, during his visit to Vienna in 1908. Freud
wrote to Jung on 3 May 1908: 'Jones and Brill have been to see me twice. I have arranged
with Brill for the translation of a selection (Selected papers on hysteria) Jones is
undoubtedly a very interesting and worthy man, but he gives me a feeling of, I was almost
going to say racial strangeness. He is a fanatic and doesn't eat enough ' (Freud/Jung,
1974, p. 145).
35 Putnam tried on various occasions to draw attention to the quality of Brill's translations,
clearly from motives of personal competition; partly, perhaps, because he himself wanted to
translate Freud (Putnam to Freud, 4 June 1912)(in Hale, 1971).
Putnam also wrote an introduction to the 'Three contributions to the sexual theory' (1910),
published by Brill, praising their translation. But in a letter to Freud concerning Brill's
translation of the Studien ber Hysterie, he expresses dissatisfaction (Putnam to Freud, 17
November 1909): 'I have also read a portion of Dr Brill's translation of selected papers but
wish it was expressed in better, more fluent and more impressive English. It is very
conscientiously done, but it is very hard for any foreigner to learn another language so well
that he can use it adequately for literary work '
- 59 Freud (Jones, 1959, pp. 2312), adding his voice to that of Putnam.35

At that juncture, however, Freud remained unmoved; indeed, he wrote back to Jones on
22 February 1909: 'I am impatient Brill should bring out some of my writings in translation, I
will stand the blame for it and if there is true scientific interest independent from the money
making in your countrymen, you will profit by the reaction, rising up, after the wave of
reaction has passed '
Some months later, on 31 October 1909, Freud went so far as to state open
disagreement with Jones' criticisms of Brill, directly accusing him of hostility on personal
grounds: 'Unserem guten Brill, sind Sie mit unverkennbarer Feindseligkeit und
Geringschatzung begegnet, gewiss auch aus persnlichen, also complex motiven ' ('You
are treating our good Brill with unmistakeable neglect and hostility, and that surely also
because of personal complexes towards him').36
The meeting in Vienna, then, had brought to the surface all the most emotive and
irrepressible issues surrounding the translation of Freud.
A clearer picture of the situation emerges if we try to imagine the impression Freud must
have made on Jones and Brill at Salzburg. Freud was than at his most powerful and
charismatic, holding his audience spellbound for hours as he spoke on the case of the Ratman. He was, moreover, at the height of his strength and maturity.
'He was fifty-one', Jones recalls in Free Associations(1959, p. 158) and by then enjoyed
boundless prestige in the midst of the band of his faithful, both in Salzburg, and then in
Vienna. He was inevitably linked to this band by a common bond which transcended that of
mere language: Freud could get through to them, if not immediately, certainly more readily,
on a non-verbal as well as a verbal level. In this context, Bettelheim is right to remind us of
the particular environment represented byfin de sicle Vienna (Schorske, 1980). What is
more, without wishing to fall into the trap of inverse racism constituted by a certain brand of
Judaism, I think we cannot discount a certain 'phatic' communion, to use Jakobson's astute
observation on communication (1962) among the group of Jewish analysts around
Freud (Klein, 1981). This group was able to 'tune in with' Freud's mode of expression: his
particular gestures, rhythms, cadences and pauses; certain quick turns of phrase (Steiner,
1981), his subtle inferences tinged at the same time with irony and geniality. All these
endowed with a special kind of aura not only what Freud wrote but also the way he spoke; for
example, at the Wednesday meetings at his home with the little Viennese 'Verein'.
This 'phatic' communion owed much to social and historical factors: after all, we are
talking about communities which had only been integrated into the Austro-Hungarian Empire,
officially adopting its language, for one or two generations. There was thus a group solidarity
which was cemented all the more by the whole complexsituation of pro- and anti-Semitism,
apart from the veiled or not so veiled hostility Freud himself encountered from the Viennese
medical world at the beginning of his career. The cultural and linguistic implications of this
issue cannot be dismissed, neither in the light of real or presumed charges levelled at the
myth of Freud, nor of Sulloway's studies. What is more, Jones'

36 However, in his preface to Selected Papers on Hysteria and other

Psychoneuroses (1909), Brill thanked Jones, along with Peterson and W. A. White, amongst
others, 'for their many helpful suggestions in the translation of this work'.
Part of Freud's goodwill towards the 'gute' Brill may have been due to the fact that the latter,
in his somewhat manic, impulsive generosity, had pledged the returns from his translations to
Freud and to the Verlag. (See Bienenfeld's letter to Jones of 18 November 1939.) The copy

of the Agreement between the Executors of the Estate of A. A. Brill and Sigmund
FreudCopyrights Limited (March 1951), states nevertheless that Brill had the right to 'retain
all royalties and other income' deriving from the translations.
37 Obviously these remarks do no more than hint at the complexities of the problem. It would
take a detailed study to comprehend fully the anti-Semitic reactions of English and
American culture to Freud.
- 60 account in Free Associations gives what must be fairly conclusive evidence to this effect.
Indeed, he recalls the difficulties, which were also linguistic, involved in disseminating a
science founded on infant sexuality, prejudicially regarded and not merely
in Germany and Austriaas 'Semitic'. For this period was still overshadowed by the Dreyfus
affair37(Klein, 1981) ; (Roudinesco, 1982) ; (McGrath, 1986).
Jones' pages relating to this matter are surely of paramount importance to the study in
hand (but see also Brill, 1940), (1973, pp. 15860). Jones describes the scene with, as it
were, the eye of an anthropologist embarking on the exploration of a world which, if not
actually distant, was certainly mysterious for him. Strangeand significantto relate, he
dwells on the group's cultural background, their familiarity with the texts and language of the
major literary and cultural traditions to which Freud would constantly refer, and he even
remarks on their dress, whose style both their behaviour and their language reflected. It was
certainly at odds with the studied elegance and niceness of the Harley Street fraternity: 'their
cloaks were more flowing and their hats broader than one saw in Zurich, London or Berlin'
(pp. 1667). Jones does go on to say that this was a 'general Viennese characteristic' (p.
167), but it seems to me that there is more to it than just this. I have no wish to emphasize
unduly the semiological or semiotic relationship between behaviour and language, or
between mode of dress and mode of speech, but it seems to me that if 'manners maketh
man', even these minor details are indicative of what I would call Freud's 'flowing souplesse'.
This is the quality Jones calls 'Schlamperei' in his Obituary for Freud (1940, p. 10). Although
his observation here that in Freud's style there was 'lucidity but also elision' contains a
criticism, it is of paramount importance, in that it sums up what is also the essential beauty of
Freud's message, that is, his way of addressing the unconscious in a manner which is
always 'overdetermined' even when put into words.
Pouncing on the technical terms was one way of coping with this 'elision'. But the choice
of terms, as I have said, reflected a number of factors, including the fascination
understandably mixed with personal and cultural malaiseexercised by this
extraordinary language: a language which constantly skirted the confines of every branch
of knowledge, from literature and philosophy to psychology, aphasia, neurology and
psychiatry etc.; and which then switched to everyday language(Riviere, 1956), 38fermenting
it, however, and lending it ambiguity as it met the discovery of the unconscious. The listener,
especially if a foreigner or, as in the case of a migrant like Brill, someone who had become a
stranger to their own country, experienced a barrage of images, uncertainties, halfunderstood words, and personal emotions catapulted into what he heard. This experience
will be familiar not only to anyone approaching Freud's texts for the first time, but also to
those who have had years of personal analysis and analytical practice.
Now, to those two foreigners on the point of departure, the translation of Freud, the
authorization to spread the word in another language, meant the chance to capture
something of the man; but also, on a more or less conscious level, to transform him and, if
not nail him down, certainly immobilize him and make him 'theirs'. In short, to identify with

him, or alternatively to make him identify with them, in their position of privilege: for they did
enjoy a certain privilege over many others; they would inevitably filter Freud's message via a
particular linguistic system and culture at a certain point in its evolution: the AngloAmerican culture of that period, whose influence certainly weighed. We are not obliged to
embrace wholesale the anthropological and linguistic theories of Sapir (1949) in order to
consider them. Mediating between the two men and Freud was the latter's interest in and
great affection for England and English culture. Freud may well have advised them to
immerse their lexis in the languageof Shakespeare, or rather the experience of reading him,
before attempting a translation; but the records say nothing on this score. Not long
afterwards, Jones was to write on Hamlet,

38 Riviere's account of Freud's art in speaking to everybody and his genial perception of the
particular nature, cultural background etc. of different audiences, is still one of the best.
39 In this letter, Freud offers his services to translate one of Jones' writings.
40 In this letter, Freud states his willingness to correct the translation of Jones' paper
on Hamlet.
The paper on Hamlet was translated into German in Schriften zur ange wendeten
Seelenkunde (1911, pp. 1065). Later on, even the paper on The Nightmare was translated
in the same journal.
In the Neue Zentralblatt fur Psychoanalyse (1911, p. 617; 1912, p. 685) there are abstracts in
German of more than 16 papers of Jones; made by Rank and Ferenczi.
- 61 though rigorously applying to his analysis a mere handful of 'technical' terms drawn from the
work in common with Brill, under the benevolent patronage of Freud, who even offered to
correct the translation of Jones' work into German, if not to translate it himself. This is a
factor to be borne in mind, in view of the implicit guarantees ofbeing 'in the right' which this
afforded Jones (Freud to Jones, 20 Nov 1908 ;39(18 Dec 1910).40
One thing, however, is certain. Freud's authorization to translate his works set in motion
all the complex interaction of what subsequently came to be called in various ways the
elementary unconscious symbols, the full affective force of primal phantasies, the law of
the father, the code of the unconscious (Fornari, 1975). What particularly comes to the fore is
the relationship of filiation and dependence (Granoff, 1975) ; (Roustang, 1976), with all its
more or less narcissistic elements, and the more or less omnipotent anxieties associated
with them. Today, with so many years' hindsight, and the experience we now have of
certain unconscious processes, including the potential of projective and
introjective processes both to enlighten and confuse, this aspect of the problem can scarcely
escape our notice. In fact, Freud's text could have been read and interpreted in the original
by almost anyone, if within certain limits, as the story of the dissidents reveals. And yet,
paradoxically, only one person (with few exceptions) was authorized to translate Freud's
work and thus to interpret and publicize it in English! There then arose, of course, the
problem of all the differing interpretations made of the text in English As if it needed
mentioning, there was the riskif not the satisfaction, for various reasonsof altering Freud
in translation, duplicating the text and making an image in the likeness of the translator.
Hence the necessity for the author, or someone close to him, to check over the translation, in
view of the niceties of the message and its implications, not to mention the huge influence
of the unconscious affective processes, verbal and otherwise, activated by psychoanalysis

itself. After all, psychoanalysis did not originate as a purely theoretical activity, let aside the
problems whether it is actually possible to exclude thepresence of unconscious emotions and
their consequences even in the observatories of logic, mathematics, linguistics or
any other theoretical science.
Obviously any act of translation or, indeed, communication of a text, already carries the
inherent risk of distortion, to the extent, on occasion, of the text's recreation in the translator's
(or the communicator's) own image. In this case, however, there was the further formidable
complication of all the problematical and unruly reactions
oftransference and countertransference that were unleashed, and transposed on to the
translation, with all the rivalry between siblings, and relations of dependency with thefather,
or with parent figures, this engendered among those with privileged access to the words of
Freud initiating his investigation into, and, indeed, his own translation of the unconscious.
This factor was to prove a most subtle and powerful way of bonding, as it were, a group of
workers which, though at first very small, in time grew to include whole psychoanalytical
societies, via the more or less conscious investment with privilege by the figure of an
authorised interpreter. This figure would become a kind of repository for the truth of Freud;
and, in turn, the creator of a particular version of that 'truth'. Brill and Jones would have been
able to witness this before long merely from observing the widespread adoption of
psychoanalysis in America from the first decade of this century onwards; indeed, so eagerly
was psychoanalysis embraced there that its language was swiftly catapulted outside
specialist circles, to become within a short time the slang of a culture, to use Trilling's
words (Hoffmann, 1959) ; (Fleming-Bailyn, 1969).
So it was that the translator came to acquire the distinction of a privileged son, or if you
- 62 a sort of favoured apostle, spreading the Gospelor rather, what would inevitably prove to
be to a certain point a version of his own. This distinction necessarily carried with it
both envy and admiration; and we should also include here, in my opinion, something noted
by Bion (1961) in his observations on the unconscious groupdynamics of people working
together, who may have an expectation of almost messianic and omnipotent proportions
associated with the creation of a perfect son, more perfect even than the original, in this
case, arising from the translator's encounter with the text. With all the perfectly justifiable
criticisms that may be levelled at Brill, we surely cannot altogether discount something of the
kind, not just in his work, but also in the criticisms of Jones, Putnam and many others. In the
end, it took over forty years to arrive at the so-called 'definitive' S.E., an issue which will have
to be borne in mind further on. In any case, it would have been hard to imagine instant
success in arriving at the definitive version, even admitting that such a thing could exist in
such a volatile field as that of psychoanalysis at the beginning of this century, and
considering the conditions in which the enterprise was initiated.
The more or less overt clashes between Jones, Putnam, Brill and Freud himself are,
therefore, the first clear exemplification of the precise influence of unconsciousfactors in an
enterprise of this nature, an influence which, in my opinion, is still to be felt. When faced with
Strachey, we shall presently come to another singular episode which occurred in the
twenties, in England; an episode which confirms the necessity to keep the most open mind
and the most critical perspective possible in any assessment of the historical origins of
Freud's translation into English, and of the numerous problems involved, both at the time and

still today. These problems tend to flatten out and look elementary if we limit ourselves purely
and simply to taking up the translated text with a view to criticizing or improving on it.
The task facing Jones and Brill was, indeed, fascinating, but at the same time extremely
complicated. I have on more than one occasion mentioned the difficult circumstances in
which these two had to operate. The truth of this becomes apparent from even a superficial
glance at the correspondence between Jones and Freud, dating from as early as Jones' first
few months in Canada. As always in such cases, it is important to avoid taking particular
statements as absolute, and to remain aware of the complex variable of personal factors at
issue. In this case, for example, there was Jones' wish to look good in Freud's eyes, 41 to
put it in common terms. Be that as it may, these letters talk plainly of the need to pursue a
tactic, a strategy. This alone gives an intimation of the problems confronting Jones, and
confronting the diffusion of psychoanalysis.
Certainly, from one point of view, compared with the situation in England and the
personal difficulties Jones had experienced, the atmosphere of the New World, curious and
open to new ideas, with the emphasis more on psychiatry than neurology, seemed full of
promise, especially considering the particular juncture American psychiatry was going
through at that time; indeed, 'I think if we are careful that your theories can be introduced
here with less prejudice being aroused than in Germany', Jones wrote to Freud on 18
February 1908 from Toronto, in a letter informing him that his work 'was in great call in
America, especially in New York and in Boston' though we should note
Jones' insistence on being 'careful' and avoiding 'prejudice being aroused'.
A few months later, Jones told Freud that no less a personage than Morton Prince had
asked Brill and himself to write a series of articles on Freud and psychoanalysis. Freud wrote
back on 20 November 1908, in a letter of particular note: 'As for your and Brill's intention
about writing those articles for Morton Prince's Journal, I heartily agree with you and wish
you had already done it. It might be the best way to introduce my

41 Both Freud and Jung, for instance, had more than one reservation about Jones'
commitment to psychoanalysis and his personality during those first years, at least until
Freud's journey to America. One has only to read the correspondence between Freud and
Jung (1974) to be persuaded of that. In the letters exchanged between Freud and Jung at
that time, one can find expressions like: enigma, compromiser. used by Freud and Jung to
refer to Jones (see pp. 20886). Freud will tell directly to Jones his doubts about his
commitment to psychoanalysis during the first years in a letter dated 24 February 1912
where he speaks of 'a time of dark inconsistencies from your side and I had to face
the idea you were going to become a stranger to us' 1974, p. 297).
- 63 teaching to your countrymen, perhaps much more efficacious than a translation of my papers
So, while Freud gave his full support to the project, to the extent of suggesting that the
papers by Jones and Brill would be of better tactical value than the actual translation of his
works, it is significant that both Freud and Jones adopt a tone of caution; an attitude which
characterized the whole operation of broadcasting psychoanalysis.42 Indeed, before long
Freud was to go so far as actually to warn Jones against succumbing to too ready an
enthusiasm for Morton Prince, also stressing the difficulties in passing certain words into

general circulation. After all, more or less in the same period, Freud was sceptically writing to
Jung (Freud to Jung, 17 January 1909, in 1974 p. 196):
There is a good deal to be said about America. Jones and Brill write often, Jones'
observations are shrewd and pessimistic, Brill sees everything through rose-coloured
spectacles. I am inclined to agree with Jones. I also think that once they discover the
sexual core of our psychological theories, they will drop us. Their prudery and
their material dependence on the public are too great.
In the event, it was Brill and Abraham who had originally told Freud that Morton Prince
had refused to publish certain of their articles, 'on their containing too much of sexual
matter' (Freud to Jones, 22 February 1909). In this letter, Freud continues 'you say he
[Morton Prince] is not prudish, 43 but he answered Abraham that he could not accept the
term "homosexual" because he has so many lay readers', adding ironically: 'or ladies maybe'.
One had, then, to be wary of employing certain expressions. Moreover, caution in a general
sense, as a tactical ploy (which was, naturally, also reflected in Jones' choice of words, both
written and spoken) is the keynote of another series of remarks on Freud's part (Freud to
Jones, 22 February 1909):
Consider it is a piece of psychoanalysis you are performing on your countrymen; you
are not to say too much at once or at too early a moment, but theresistance cannot
be avoided, it must come sooner or later, and it is best to provoke it slowly and
Freud expresses himself with exemplary clarity: the timing and measure of the doses
would need careful regulation to overcome resistance.
By that date, Jones had formed a perfectly clear idea as to the obstacles in his path. The
letter he wrote to Freud just before the one I have been quoting indicates this quite clearly, I
feel, as well as being of key importance to the present research. In view of recent
studies (Bry & Rifkin, 1962) ; (Burnham, 1967), 1973, (1983) ; (Hale,
1971), (1978) demonstrating the fecundity and the implications for psychoanalysis of the
particular transitional phase that psychiatry in particular and culture in general were
undergoing in North America at that time, some of Jones' assertions may seem somewhat
excessive. But they do provide extremely interesting evidence of the ambivalent cultural
relations between America and England, which played, and still play, a role in the whole issue
of the diffusion of Freud's ideas on either side of the Atlantic. Apart from these
considerations, though, the letter reveals a precise plan on Jones' part: what could be called
his cultural policy. Although this policy related to his situation at that time, certain
lines mutatis mutandis crop up again later, on his return to England.

42 It is interesting to note that even Jung, at that time still very Freudian, seems to share
some of Freud's and even Jones' worries concerning the way psychoanalysis should be
diffused in America in order to overcome Prince 'and other objections'. In a letter to Jones
dated 23 February 1909, Jung claimed: 'One cannot burst out with the sexual theory right at
the beginning. I have many thoughts on this matter, especially the ethical question. I believe
that with the open declaration of certain things, one saws off the branch on
which culture rests, one undermines the compulsion to sublimate and that is the very thing
the Morton Prince people instinctively fear.'
43 In reality, Jones had his problems with Morton Prince too!

Prince was trying to control Jones' wish to spread psychoanalysis, commenting on the
danger his paper on the nightmare presented to stir up the sexual curiosity of people and
reminding Jones of the danger that this paper could compromise his academic career in
America, awakening a prejudice, however unjust, unfounded and undeserved that prejudice
might be: ' we are not reformers and there is no obligation to prove our psychological
point' (Prince to Jones, 9 April 1909). And Jones, by the way, seemed very doubtful, and
tried to please Prince(13 April 1909) in order to publish his paper in Prince's review. Jones
wrote 'I underestimated the capacity of the article to give offence to certain readers. I am
ready to undertake the necessary revision of the article if you would like to publish it now'.
- 64 Aside from the catastrophic picture Jones painted of Canada, he had the following
comments to make on psychiatry and the academic world in Boston and New York in
general, and his American colleagues and the cultural context in which he had to operate in
particular (Jones to Freud, 7 February 1909):
They are so concerned in money making as to do practically no original work or
observations. The main difficulty is their colossal ignorance. So far I have not
met one man in America, except of course Brill, who has even read the
Traumdeutung You see, ' Jones continues, sparing only Putnam, 'the problems
here are peculiar to the Anglo-Saxon race, and one must know nicely the kinds of
currents or prejudices in order to combat them most successfully. I am sure it is
important to aim first at the recognized people and not to popularize too soon. There
is so much vulgarization and exploitation of everything here, that one had a strong
weapon in insisting on the exact scientific side of the subject. That is what I mean to
do. Also I want to be generally reapprised in neurology and psychology
and other fields, so that one will be more readily listened to. A man who writes always
on the same thing is apt to be regarded here as a crank, because for the superficial
American every subject is easily exhausted except for cranks or if the subject is
sexual he is simply tabooed as a sexual neurasthenic. I also think it is important to
give first more elementary points or to link them into recognized psychological
principles, so as to get them accepted. If one begins with the latest pinnacle of the
towering edifice, it must appear in the air to those passing by, if the supports are not
also shown (my italics).
Ignorance and a lack of original research, then; and in order to combat these, the need to
maintain 'the exact scientific side of the subject, ' Jones reports. And it is no ordinary process
of popularization that he proposes, but once more a progress made step by step, associating
the unknown with the known, linking psychoanalysis 'into recognized psychological principles'
beginning with the simplest and most basic, just as an evolutionist should. After all, a few
years later Freud expressed something similar although in more general terms when in his
'Introductory lectures on psychoanalysis' (1916) at one moment he stated: 'Human beings, as
you know, have an instinctive tendency to fend off novelties. One of the ways in which this
tendency is manifested is by immediately reducing the novelty to the smallest proportions, by
compressing it if possible into a single catchword' (p. 214).
This procedure naturally called for a language which could accommodate such
specifications. But what exactly were 'the most recognized psychological principles', in
American culture? Bear in mind that little more than ten years earlier (and things certainly
had not changed that much in the meantime) in 1894, Baldwin, the culturally open-minded
editor of the prestigious Psychological Review, had written a famous paper called

'Psychology Past and Present', launching the new manifesto of American psychology, in
which he had stated:
To say that this is the age of science is only to repeat what is now trite and what no
student either of philosophy or of history needs to be told. It is the age of science
because it is the age of devotion to science and results in science. But it is a very
different thing to say that this is the age of scientific methods It is necessary for a
psychologist that he should reason from a basis of fact and by inductive procedure
one of the ideas which lie at the bottom of the so-called 'new psychology' is
the idea of measurement. Measurement, determination in quantity and time, is the
resource of all developed science (pp. 3723).
There was, then, a very real anxiety in American academic circles at that time, despite
Jones' reservations as to their intellectual level, that psychoanalysis might end up in the
hands of the 'hordes of parasites' of pseudo-doctors and quacks, 44 in view of the headlong
and haphazard way in which medicine, psychiatry and psychology had taken off and were
developing in the New World, often beyond any possible control (Hale, 1971) ; (Sarfatti
Larson, 1977) ; (Burnham, 1983). In order to avoid this danger, and at the same time be
understood and accepted, to make an impact, one had, therefore, to be capable of a
precision and clarity of expression which would project at least in some measure an image of
psychoanalysis which

44 'Hordes of parasites' is an expression used by Jelliffe in a letter to Freud, to denote the

pseudo-doctors and psychiatrists in America (Jelliffe to Freud, 7 March 1938) (Burnham,
1983). So we see that thirty years after the events we are considering, this was still a matter
of concern to Jelliffe.
- 65 approached that of a determinable science, availing itself of 'scientific' methods such as were
in vogue in psychology.
So we see that the task of those trying to introduce the psychoanalysis of Freud was by
no means an easy one. But one thing already seems to me to stand out quite clearly at this
date. Whether translation or propagation was at issue, the way to overcome resistance was
by means of the language adopted. With prudent regulation this could be made to assist the
work of infiltration, in the first place by linking in wherever possible with existing knowledge.
However, in the case of psychoanalysis, existingknowledge was almost entirely devoid of any
linguistic tradition on which to draw. There was, it is true, the psychiatric language of a certain
sexology, the language of academic psychology and that of physiology and neurology. This
both Brill and Jones knew. But preceding and surrounding the two rivals (and others such as
Putnam)45there was almost a total linguistic void, in terms of predecessors in the field of
translating and spreading Freud's work. This was another factor to be reckoned with. For
what linguistic experience was there, what points of reference existed for the psychoanalysis
that Jones had left behind him when he went to America? Up until then,
English culture and language had absorbed virtually no trace of Freud's work.
No detailed study has been made for England such as those of Burnham and Hale
charting the diffusion of Freud within American culture. So we have to fall back on the
evidence provided by Jones (1945) and by Strachey (1945). These two, to varying degrees,
have given some account of how they came into contact with the work of Freud, intimating at
the same time the course of its diffusion in England at the turn of the century. But perhaps a

clearer picture of the situation confronting Jones and Brill can be obtained from studying the
accounts, extracts and reviews of Freud's work written in English. There is certainly no
arguing with Strachey when, writing to Jones on 18 July 1945, he says:
I think it is a remarkable fact that the basic discoveries of Psychoanalysis should
have been accessible in print to English readers within six months of their first
publication in German
referring to F. W. H. Myers' notes on ber den psychischen Mechanismus des hysterichen
Phnomene by Breuer & Freud (1893). Myers had spoken of this study at a meeting of
the Society for Psychical Research in April 1893, the comments were subsequently
published in a paper in the 'Proceedings' of the same society in June 1893, under the title
of The Psychical Mechanism of Hysterical Phenomena. But on reading these notes, or
indeed those Myers added in 1897, which then recur in his bookHuman Personality(1903),
with the exception of the translation of certain terms, such as 'abreagirt' by 'worked
out' (1893, pp. 1967), we discover that they are merely rsums; commendatory; but
intended to inform the reader in second-hand language. Perhaps it is worth drawing attention
to the wording of the title of Myers' summary, since it reflects a mentality which was
to affect more or less indirectly the work and thought of Jones and of many other early
followers, pupils or collaborators. For the ideas of Freud (and, in this case, of Breuer) made
their official entry into English culture with a text whose title, an exact translation, was The
Psychical Mechanism of Hysterical Phenomena(Myers, 1893), where beside the word
'psychical' we find the term 'mechanism', emphasizing the debt of the young Freud to the
mechanistic thought of his time. This slant would also have sounded more familiar and
acceptable to Brill and Jones, and to the readership Burnham (1967, pp. 1967) had in mind
many years later. It must be said to Myers' credit that in his way he had realized from the
start the revolutionary value of the discoveries of Breuer and Freud in emphasizing the
essentially psychical nature of hysteria, a notion well suited to the climate of research and
the beliefs of the Society for Psychical Research (Strachey, 1945) ; (Hynes, 1969).
Perhaps we may note something along the same lines in Mitchell-Clarke's subtle review
of the Studien ber Hysterie, understandably dear

45 It is interesting to note, for instance, that Freud, in thanking Putnam for one of his papers,
claimed that the paper gave him the opportunity to learn 'die richtigen englischen
bersetzungen fr meine Termini'the proper English translations for my terminology' (Freud
to Putnam 28 January 1910 in Hale, 1971, pp. 3534).
46 See for instance the unpublished letter of Strachey to Jones (23 May 1954), where he still
discussed the translation of 'Sache Vorstellung' as 'idea of things'.
47 It is very interesting to note that Wundt's Grundzge der Physiologischen
Psychologie (1902) vol I p. 348 contains an important history of the word 'Vorstellung'. Wundt
traces the use of 'Vorstellung' to the eighteenth century and the school of Wolff. In the case
of Freud one has also to consider all the German sources he and Breuer used at the time
they were writing their papers on hysteria (R. Steiner, 1984a). All those sources were
constantly referring to the term 'Vorstellung'.
- 66 to Jones, and published in 1896 in Brain, the renowned English neurological journal. In his
account of the 'Studien', whilst leaving certain terms in the original language, as was often

the practice, Mitchell-Clarke translates 'die Moebious Vorstellungen'a much discussed

concept in the studiesby the term 'ideas', and occasionally also by 'representation'. This is
a matter of particular interest, for the translation of this term was, as we shall see, to undergo
various changes later on, at the hands of Brill, Baynes, Freud himself to some extent, in his
paper in English of 1913, and Strachey, who was to continue to discuss the question with
Jones to the end of his days, one might say.46 This was a term with profound philosophical
implications within German culture, as even in the case of Freud is illustrated not only by his
interest in the work of Strmpell (R. Steiner, 1983), but by another author dear to Freud:
Schopenhauer, whose book Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (1819) had been translated
into English a few years previously by Holdane & Kamp in 1883, under the title 'The world as
will and idea'47(E. Payne, 1958).
It is certainly to Mitchell-Clarke, at least in England, that we owe the translation in the
psychoanalytical milieu of 'psychische trauma' as 'psychical trauma' (p. 404), and of 'Abwehr',
'Abwehrneurose' as 'voluntary suppression'. It is worth noting in this case that the latter
English term was in use for some considerable time as synonymous also with 'repression'. It
is interesting that Mitchell-Clarke insists on the notion of 'voluntary', which is much closer to
the original 'active' sense of the German verb; he also specifies Freud's method
as being 'cathartic'; and, finally, he translates 'Zwang' and 'Zwangneurosen' as 'imperative
ideas' (p. 411) rather than 'obsession', 'obsessive ideas' or 'obsessive neurosis', as if to
stress once again the 'active' role of such ideas.
However, these are only hints, shadowy names and concepts scattered here and there in
the pages of specialized neurological journals; they merely signpost the long road to be
covered: no more than that. It is difficult to establish with any certainty how much of all this
was remembered by Jones when he went to America. Havelock Ellis represents a case in
particular, I would say, and not just because of his assessment of Freud (from his early works
at least), and the prestige and influence Freud recognized in him. For the latter had much to
do with his distinctive mode of expression, which employed a particular terminology; and this
in turn increased his standing in Brill's opinion, as well as in that of Jones. Indeed, Jones
makes more than one positive remark about the eccentric English intellectual in his collection
of essays in 1913, despite the prudishness and the censorial attitude, upon occasion
extremely vicious, of the superego of late Victorian and Edwardian culture towards Ellis in
spite of Gay's recent general observations (1984)(Glover, 1945), (1966) ; (Jones,
1953), (1955) & (1959) ; (Steven, 1966) ; (Russell, 1968) ; (Hynes, 1968) ; (Read,
1972) ; (Brome, 1979) ; (Grosskurth, 1980). I am not solely referring here to what has
already been noted by anyone who has studied these matters, namely, the coining by
Havelock Ellis, and the acceptance by Freud, of such terms as 'autoerotic', or the use and
cultural validation through Ellis' writings of terms like 'narcissism', 'inversion', 'homosexuality',
etc. (Ellis, 1897); such termsand I would include 'polymorphism' hereare widespread,
and are even listed in part in the glossary of Myers' work, Human Personality(1903) (besides
the fact that they can also be found in Krafft-Ebing's work). Myers' text, it should be
remembered, was read and studied also by the young Strachey (1945).48

48 Various of the young pioneers of British psychoanalysis, such as Alix Strachey and
Riviere, also referred to Myers in one way or another. And in this context it would certainly be
worth studying in depth the whole curious phenomenon of the Society for Psychical
Research, which would seem to have been a great source of inspiration to early English
psychoanalysis, in view of the richness and cultural density of the language used by Myers

and by many of his colleagues. It was a language with a high concentration of Greek and
Latin terms, drawing on contemporary traditions, both English and European, not only of
neurology, but also of psychology, psychiatry, philosophy and religion.
- 67 I have already remarked on the moralistic use made by the medical world, to which Jones
belonged, of their own exclusive language, avoiding the risk of censorship by means of the
linguistic filter of Greek and Latin. What I should like to point out in addition is that Havelock
Ellis bears witness to a very real persecution on the part of English censorship, despite the
fact that he too used Graeco-Latin terminology when talking about infant sexuality.
Furthermore, many passages in Krafft-Ebing'sPsychopathia Sexualis (to which we owe the
adoption in psychiatric circles of much sexual terminology, to use another of the examples
well known to Jones) had been left in Latin upon its translation into English (1906), and not
only in the first edition, as comparison with subsequent editions shows, in order to escape
the severity of the sanctions in force against publications which might fall into the hands of
laymen. So, in addition to the linguistic void facing psychoanalysis in England, we must
include the ideological implications, ethico-social and professional, underpinning the tradition
of so-called scientific discourse which one might attempt to use as a basis in initiating the
propagation of Freud's work.
To get an idea of the prevalence of these ideological values even beyond the sphere of
English culture, we come via the name of Krafft-Ebing to Freud himself.
It is of course impossible here to mention, or to study in detail,
Freud's complex relationships to Ancient Greek and Latin and their cultural and ideological
implications. There are of course similarities but also important differences between Freud's
Austro-German background and the late Victorian and Edwardian British cult for
Ancient Greece and Rome (Olgivie, 1964) ; (Jenkins, 1980). Some extremely interesting
observations on Freud's cultural milieu in this context have been recently made by
Momigliano (1969), Schorske (1980), Gilman (1984) and particularly by Anzieu (1985).49 But
here, let us simply remember that, for instance, we find Freud adopting Krafft-Ebing's Ancient
Greek and Latin terminology more or less wholesale, for obvious reasons of prudence and
prestige. And then we can even find Freud using Latin in a personal letter to his doctor-friend
Fliess on 8 October 1897 (Freud, 1954, p. 219). Here, intimately describing his personal
experiences relating to the discovery of infantsexuality, he tells how his libido towards
'matrem' had been aroused on the occasion of an overnight train journey from Leipzig to
Vienna which had afforded an opportunity to see her 'nudam'. In this use of Latin, it is difficult
to distinguish between customary medical usage, since Latin was also predominant in
German and Austrian medical circles, and the presence of a certain
linguistic tradition speaking through Freud. Besides the reason indicated by Gilman and
Anzieu, this classictradition blends, therefore, late Victorian and fin du sicle Viennese
prudence and prudery with the need to keep one's own fantasies and desires at a safe
distance through the use of a foreign and acquired language, even in private
correspondence. Admittedly, this is said a posteriori, since we know Freud actually wanted to
destroy his letters to Fliess.
In any event, it was difficult to escape this prevailing atmosphere: a factor which must be
regarded as crucial.
Let us take another illustration of the cultural climate in which these first samples of
psychoanalytical language had begun to circulate in England. A few years before Jones left
for Canada, the editors of the first issue of the British Journal of Psychology, in 1904,

echoing Baldwin's sentiments, were at pains to stress that psychology was a 'positive force'.
Ward, in his famous article 'On the definition of psychology' (Hynes, 1968, p. 218), had
maintained that 'psychology has now become entirely an empirical science, divested alike of
[the] theological and of [the] metaphysical assumptions'.
On the side of academic psychology, then, there was also little hope of stepping beyond
the bounds of rigorously scientific language in psychoanalytical discourse.

49 I think Anzieu's paper together with Gilman's deserves particular attention and
appreciation for the detailed study of the influence of Ancient Greek culture on Freud. Freud
preferred Greek to Latin for various reasons (Gilman, 1984). Yet, besides all that has been
noticed, one has also to take into account that sort of technical 'esperanto' based on Ancient
Greek and Latin, which circulated through scientific and medical texts through Europe and
which needs a very sophisticated ideological tool to be understood.
- 68 Bear in mind, too, that (as we have already seen to some extent from the
correspondence between Jones and Freud) the situation in America was characterized by
some difficult ideological criteria, and here, too, discretion in using certain language was
called for.
Burnham's (1964) division of the work into periods and his exploration of the texts can
help to shed light on many aspects of the matter in hand, even if his studies, barring a few
cases, 50are not strictly linguistic. But, as far as the early years are concerned, even
this material amounts to precious little. After all, what could one hope to glean from one short
paragraph dedicated to Breuer and Freud and their ber dem psychischen Mechanismus des
hysterischen Phnomene appearing in the first issue of the Psychological Review in 1894,
even if the person reviewing the work of the two 'Distinguished Viennese Neurologists' (p.
199) was no less a person than William James?
James' use of the phrase 'subliminal consciousness' to render 'unbewusst' may well be of
archaeological interest to some, at least; more importantly, it illustrates the divide between
two different usages: that of the term 'unconscious', the 'unbewusst' of Breuer and Freud,
and that of 'subconscious'. This and its various alternatives, as used by James, were for
many years to come, also used by neurology and psychology at large, both in England and in
America, to differentiate from the purely physiological 'unconscious'.51 James' choice of
'subconscious' is partly understandable in that Breuer and Freud sometimes used the
alternative 'unterbewusst' in their early writings, a term which lent itself to translations such
as 'subconscious', 'subliminal', etc. In addition to this usage we also find the expression
'psychic traumata', as well as 'worked off' for 'abreagirt', in James' description of the findings
of Breuer and Freud.
It was certainly Onufrowicz in his article 'The warding off of neuropsychoses', published in
the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease in 1895 who furnished the most detailed
description of what Freud meant by 'Abwehr Neuropsychose'. In this text, which passed
almost unnoticed at the time, it is certainly worth focusing on the description of affects and
memories which are 'transferred' (for 'bertragt' p. 14). For it is tucked away here that, for the
first time, the expression to 'transfer' crops up. And we have to thank the anonymous
reviewer of the Journal of American Association in 1896 for perhaps the first clear rendering
of what Freud meant by 'unbewusste Erinnerungen', in an article on Freud's Die Ethiologie
der Hysterie: here he talks of 'unconscious memories of sexual occurrences in

early childhood' (p. 393).; and another interesting rendering by this reviewer is 'compulsory
ideas' for 'Zwangvorstellungen. A further analysis of the material so painstakingly collected by
Burnham ultimately reveals a kind of patchwork of terms, a fine web of meaning which,
extending on both sides of the Atlantic (bearing in mind what I have said about England, we
can draw certain analogies, as well as contrasts, between James, Myers and Mitchell-Clarke
and Onufrowicz and the anonymous reviewer mentioned above), sought to capture for the
first time the linguistic fragments of a doctrine and an experience which seemed all too
nebulous and spasmodic in its initial manifestations in the English language.
However, as Burnham rightly observes, the situation changed radically after about ten
years, for a number of reasons which he outlines.
The impression gained from reading what was written in journals such as the Interstate
Medical Journals, the Journal for Mental Diseases or the Psychological Bulletin, is one of
expectation (Schwab, 1906) ; (Putnam, 1906), (1909) ; (Sidis, 1906) ; (Meyer,
1905), (1906) ; (Hoch, 1907; etc). I would certainly not deny the importance and often the

50 Burnham makes some very perceptive comments on Brill's use of the term 'mechanism',
and on certain aspects of its translation.
51 There is much evidence that could be quoted here, and one of the subjects raised by
such material is that of the relationship between the Anglo-American and the French
neurological and psychiatric worlds; in France, the term 'soubcoscient' was widely used, as
the work of Janet shows. But apart from all this, it may be of interest to note that in
the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research (1913, Vol. XXVI), where Freud
published in English 'A note on the unconscious in psychoanalysis', there appeared
alongside this essay a work by Sidis, one of the luminaries of American psychiatry, well
known also to Jones, entitled 'The theory of the subconscious', in which Sidis, like many
others, distinguished between the 'subconscious', where reactions were 'accompanied by a
psychic life', and the pure 'Physiological unconscious based on registration of neuropaths
and neurograms ' See also theJournal of Abnormal Psychology (1907, Volume 3, Part 2, p.
36)A symposium on the subconscious.
52 This was of undeniable importance. Jones subsequently had to struggle against Morton
Prince, for example, in order to attribute solely to Freud the right to call his method by the
name of 'psychoanalysis'. (See Jones to Putnam 10 April 1910), (Hale, 1971, p. 217).
Curiously enough, very often Brill was using 'psychanalysis' during these years.
53 In his review of a study by Riklin on a case of hysteria, Meyer (1905) talks of 'conversion',
'sexual traumatism', 'conversion symptoms', 'suppressed resistance' and 'imperative
neuroses' ( (Meyer, 1905, pp. 255 & 256). Note that 'imperative neuroses' to render
'Zwangneurose' echoes Mitchell-Clarke's translation (1896) of 'Zwangvorstellungen' by
'imperative ideas'. Both cases involve the use of an active term to translate 'Zwang'.
- 69 great perception of such writings; take, for example, Schwab's essential notes on Freud, and
the fact that he (1906, p. 144) and Putnam (1906, p. 25) were responsible for introducing the
terms 'psychoanalysis' and 'psychoanalytic method' in English.52 But it is as though these
writings were there to testify to something which was about to take shape almost
independently of them; and they were an indication of how imperative that 'something' had by
now become. In a controversial text about Freud (1906), Putnam translates a short passage
of Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualitt, where he speaks of 'inversion instincts', giving at the

same time a picture of the development of Freud's ideas from the first studies on hysteria.
Sidis (1906), speaking about 'The pathology of everyday life', to which he gives this title in
translation, mentions theexistence of a 'censor' (p. 102), going on to expand
the metaphor of censorship as he demonstrates the effects of the 'suppressed motives of
desires' of the 'subconscious mental life' in the 'upper primary consciousness'. Meyer reviews
Jung's works on free association tests, so close to the hearts of his American colleagues in
psychiatry and neurology, with their empirical mentality and their notion of
the complex (Meyer, 1905) ;53 in his commentaries, Meyer ably makes a case for the
credibility of Jung's work, as well as that of Freud, referring to 'the practical test of the
hypothesis here as in all human experiences' (Meyer, 1906, p. 279). He also reviews in
considerable detail both the case of Dora and the Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualitt(Meyer,
1906b), where he speaks of hysteria in terms of 'symptoms which are the expression of the
most secret and "displaced" or "converted" desires or wishes', going on to stress that
'empricism in the best hands will alone decide on Freud's contentions'; however, Freud,
in a systematic presentation of his experience with the sexual life of patients has
opened the eyes of the physician to an extension of human biology which differs very
favourably from the sensational curiosity shop of the literature on perversions', to
such a point that 'Freud's work is absolutely essential "and" is to the psychopathologist as important as the study of dietetics to the general physician (pp. 281
& 282 my italics).
A range of examples, then, whose net effect is to convey the linguistic and ideological
parametersand, I would add, the limitationsof the genre of scientificdiscourse which was
to accommodate Brill's translations and the first systematic diffusion of Freudian language.
When we come to analyse this material, we find a certain attitude emerging over the
years 19057, with the reconciliation of the unknown to the known: consider in this context
also the terminological application of the word 'subconscious', as used, for example, by
Putnam (1906), when referring to 'subconscious life', and Hoch's use of the term
'unconscious desires' (1907). What gradually evolved at this period was the adoption, or at
least a more mature consideration, of an explanatory model of hysterical disorders and
obsessive neuroses ('anxiety neurosis') based on a very simple causal mechanism: that of
the repression of sexual instincts in the child. This was what American psychiatrists,
neurologists and psychologists had extrapolated from reading certain of Freud's texts, and
were beginning to pass around amongst themselves, using a language whose terminological
bases were as yet still shifting. It was a readership not much devoted
to hermeneutics (without wishing to detract in any way from the scientific integrity of Meyer,
Sidis, Hoch et al.); their criteria were pragmatic and therapeutic, and they needed to
establish a core of terms to refer to, terms with some scientific credibility and status.
Broadly speaking, then, this was the situation confronting Brill and Jones, and these were
the means at their disposal: so far, so good. But at this point, a closer examination of the
- 70 texts, both their own and others', is called for, if we are to understand how they came to
construct the precise language and means of expression which, despite thepresence of
uncertainties and difficulties, permitted the introduction of Freud's psychoanalysis on a
relatively wide scale and, I would say, in a more or less systematic fashion.
These data are essential for an evaluation of certain features of a project whose
implications cannot be ignored, if we are fully to understand subsequent developments,

including sundry aspects of Strachey's work. For the present, I shall merely allow the texts to
speak for themselves, reserving any analysis or tentative conclusions until sufficient
information has accrued.
In addition to what can be learned from the actual translations done by Brill, and from his
papers and those of Jones, and occasionally of others such as Putnam, the lectures given by
Freud at the Clark University, Worcester, in America, during his historical trip in the autumn of
1909, provide a useful point of departure for a study of how the linguistic strategy which first
saw the light in Vienna as far back as 1908 gained substance, and of the way in which Brill
and Jones went about resolving thecomplex series of problems, pressures and conditioning
they had to deal with in America. These lectures were translated by Chase under Freud's
supervision, 54 and just how important Freud considered them to be is revealed in an
unpublished letter to Jones on 31 October 1909:
'Zumeist beschftigen mich jetzt die Vertrage fr die Clark University, die bersetzt
und in America verbreiten werden sollen' ('At the moment I am principally occupied
with the lectures for Clark University, which have to be translated and distributed in
In my opinion, there is much to be said for taking these lectures as pivotal to many of the
writings I have mentioned. In the first place, since their translation was carried out under
Freud's supervision, they give us a fundamental linguistic reference point. Then, the fact that
Chase uses a terminology which is often identical to that of Brill and Jones brings us face to
face with another crucial issue: since Freud had endorsed Brill, and in some way Jones, as
his translators, 55 we can safely assume theexistence of a rapport and of collaboration, at
the very least, between Vienna and the American outposts. Finally, the very nature of the
lectures themselves, the cut and style Freud uses, typify the whole project of the translation
and diffusion of psychoanalysis. Here we see the deliberate and necessary expedient of
propaedeutical simplification being adopted for the American market, a policy that we have
already seen as a general strategy in the correspondence between Freud and Jones.
Basically, the stuff of these lectures was cut to suit that elementary model of the concept
of the psychic apparatus derived from psychoanalysis, and the explanation of mental
disorders in terms of a mere handful of defence mechanisms, which I have already
mentioned, and on to which the interest of the American lay and scholarly readership was
focused during those years. Another striking illustration of this phenomenon is provided by
Jones' explicit references to Freud's ideas in his essay on Hamlet, 'On the Oedipus
complex as explanation of Hamlet's mystery' (1910).56 So very explicit is Jones, in fact, that
in his description of how impulses become repressed, based on the Freudian model, in
particular on the 'Studies on hysteria', he not only adopts the term 'repression' but repeats
the word or its derivatives ten times or more in a few pages as if to be sure of hammering
the idea home to his readers.
Now, for its transmission, such a psychoanalytical model required a language tailored
accordingly. And, as I intend to demonstrate, we have to accept that this was, for a long time
to come, a decisive influence, both directly and indirectly, determining many aspects of the
subsequent work of the translation and exegesis

54 In the American Journal of Psychology(1910) where these 'Fnf Vorlesungen ber

Psychoanalyse' were published under the title of 'Five lectures on psychoanalysis', it was
specified that they were 'translated by H. W. Chase and revised by Prof S. Freud' (p. 180).

55 In the 'Fnf Vorlesungen' (Freud, G.W. 8, pp. 411) Freud mentions Brill and his
translations in glowing terms on two occasions.
56 It seems likely that this was the first time the term 'Oedipus complex' appeared in English.
In his translation of the 'Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualitt', Brill refers to the 'Oedipus
fable'(Brill, 1910, p. 73), but I could not find the definition 'Oedipus complex' appearing there.
- 71 of the Freudian text in the Anglo-American world. Alongside such material as I have cited we
should also include in this context a work by someone who was to become one of Freud's
fiercest opponents, thanks to one of those curious affronts not altogether infrequent in
the history of ideas: C. C. Jung. The work I am referring to is Die Psychologie der Dementia
Praecox (1906), translated by Brill in 1908 and published in 1909 (Brill, 1939, p. 324).
Written by Jung when he was still very Freudian in outlook, this book is fundamental to an
understanding of the history of the treatment of psychoses. And, being for historic reasons
the first complete work of a psychoanalytical nature to be translated by Brill, the English
version came to contain some of the basic terms of English psychoanalytical jargon. Those
very terms, indeed, that have come under criticism from Bettelheim and others.
Of course, to complete the picture would require going into the correspondence between
Freud and Brill during these years, as well as that between Jones and Brill, perhaps, if such
letters exist. In all probability various questions regarding the choice and discussion of
terminology, and so on, would be further illuminated.
However, the two 'adoptive brothers' (if we think of the relationship
with unconscious parent figures which must be inferred in their relations with Freud) seemed
united enough in their strategy, particularly if we compare it with that of Chase. And the latter,
under Freud's protective and propitious shadow, himself goes back to Brill and Jones, and
occasionally to Putnam.57
Let us see, then, what information even a modest survey such as my own, whose scope
is merely to indicate a line of enquiry, can retrieve from this material. To begin with, let us
take two key concepts in the first of Freud's lectures translated by Chase: the 'psychic
determination' of the symptoms observed first by Breuer and then described by Freud; and
the importance Freud gives to the power of recollection and memory in the development of
hysterical symptoms (G.W. 8, p. 9). Chase's translation gives a dual version, German and
English: 'determiniert' and 'the symptoms were determined' (Chase, 1910, p. 185). Here he
uses a similar expression to Brill, who, in his translation of the 'Selected papers
on hysteria' (Brill, 1909b), speaks of 'determination of the hysterical symptoms' (p. 27). Even
before this, however, Brill had referred to the fact that the symptoms of dementia praecox
were 'psychically determined', as indeed 'all our actions and speech in both normal and
abnormal behaviour' (Brill, 1908, p. 234).
Even Chase's celebrated expression, 'Our hysterical patients suffer from
reminiscences' (Chase, 1910, p. 187), in view of the analogy in this instance between
Freud's text of the Lectures to Clark University and that of the Studien ber Hysterie, seems
pretty closely modelled on Brill's translation, 'The hysteric suffers mainly from
reminiscences' (Brill, 1909, p. 15).58
In the second lecture, where Freud (G.W. 8, p. 20), explaining his divergence from
Breuer, introduces the concept of 'Widerstand' and of 'Verdrngung' (Freud, G.W. 8. pp. 20
1), Chase's translation (p. 193) talks of 'resistance' and of 'repression'. This echoes only too
clearly the writings of both Jones: 'resistance' (1908, 1913, p. 6) and
'repressverdrngen' (1909a, 1913, p. 185) and Brill: 'psychic instincts which are

repressed' (1908, p. 232), 'repressed states' (1909a, pp. 2830), (1909b, p. 610) ; not to
mention, of course, the decisions concerning this term that were made in Vienna, in April
But the story does not end there: if we read Chase's translation of the whole sentence in
Freud's text in which the word 'Verdrngung'

57 Strictly speaking, we should also consider the abridged translation by C. Macfie Campbell
of a paper by Ferenczi, 'ber aktual und Psychoneurosen im Lichte der Freudischen
Forschungen und ber Psychoanalyse', published in the New York State Hospitals Bulletin,
1909, Vol. 2, p. 8496. This contains the translation of much terminology according to the
practice then current of printing the dual, EnglishGerman, version. It should, however, be
noted that this is a summary and not the actual translation of Ferenczi's essay. But it does
give us the impression of a largely uniform diffusion of a certain technical terminology during
those years. See the importance given by Freud to Putnam's terminology in his letter of 28
January 1910, as quoted on p. 66 of this paper.
58 A curious aside: Brill's translation keeps to the singular in the introduction (G.W. 1 p. 86),
'Der Hysterische'. In the Standard Edition, Strachey converts this into a plural (Vol. 2, p. 7)
'hysterics suffer from reminiscences'.
59 Note, also, the way in which Brill attempts to reproduce (albeit in his rather clumsy
English) the variety of terms used by Freud, echoing Mitchell-Clarke's old translations (p. 67
of my paper). For example, referring to the case of Lucy R (G.W. 1, p. 174), Freud states '
wo Hysterie neu akquirirt werden soll, eine psychische Bedingung hierfr unerlsslich ist,
nmlich dass eine Vorstellung absichtlich aus dem Bewusstsein verdrngt von der
assocativen Verabeitung ausgeschlossen werde'; here, Brill gives 'Vorstellung' as
'presentation' in his translation (1909, p. 23). Then, a little further on, Freud talks of
'Unvertrglichkeit der einen zu verdrngenden Idee mit der herrschend Vorstellung masse
des Ich'; Brill, in an attempt to respect the German, translates 'Idee' (1909, p. 23) as 'idea',
and 'Vorstellung masse' as 'presentation mass'. Further on again, Freud once more refers to
'die verdrngte Vorstellung', for which Brill gives 'the repressed presentation'. On
the other hand, in all the passages mentioned, Strachey consistently employs 'idea' to
translate both 'Idee' and 'Vorstellung'.
- 72 appears, we make a rather singular discovery; and the decisive influence of Brill comes
across all the more clearly. For where Freud states 'Die Unvertrglichkeit der betreffender
Vorstellung mit dem Ich der Kranken, war also das Motiv der Verdrngung' (Freud, G, W.
8, p. 21), Chase gives the translation (p. 193), 'the incompatibility of the idea in question with
the Ego of the patient was the motivation of the repression' (my italics). From Chase, to
Freud, who supervised him, we have to go back to Brill, and not just for the translation of
'Vorstellung', which Chase renders here as 'idea', as Brill did in many passages of his
translation of Jung (1909a passim) and in the 'Selected Papers on Hysteria' (Brill, 1909b
passim) (although Brill also occasionally used 'presentation' (Brill, 1909a, p. 47), a fact
worth remembering, in the light of the changing fortunes this term was to have, as I already
mentioned, in subsequent English translations of Freud.59 See also Jones (19101913, p.
13), however, where he translates 'Die Trennung der Vorstellung von ihren Affekt' with
'separation of the idea from its affect'.

Rather than this question, it is the translation of the term 'Ich' which, I feel, merits
particular attention. This term is translated by Brill as 'Ego' from the time of his paper on the
'Psychological factors in Dementia Praecox' (1908, pp. 230 & 232) and his published
translation of Jung's work on Dementia Praecox (Brill, 1909a, pp. 24 & 25 and passim)
which were separated from each other by only a few months and echoing each other too.
The term then reappears several times in Brill's translation of Freud's texts
on hysteria (Brill, 1909b pp. 1719 passim) and Jones repeats the term at least twice in his
paper on 'Action of suggestion in psychotherapy' (1910), (1913, pp. 250 & 251).
It is difficult to pinpoint with any certainty the origins of a choice of this nature where,
nevertheless, Jung and his views seemed to have played a part too.
It is obviously inappropriate at this point to lose ourselves in the subtleties of trying to
establish precisely what Jones and Brill meant by the term 'ego', given that the texts of Freud
or Jung and Ferenczi they were referring to were limited in number at that juncture. But more
often than not the term was used to designate what Freud termed 'das Ich' and was by then
already considered as a 'technical' term defining the conscious ego. See Brill (1909a, p. 25)
'the conscious ego' and Jones (1911, 1913, p. 306)'the conscious ego'.
However, I think it is worth remembering the context in which Brill first used the term with
reference to psychoanalysis. Glancing through the contemporary American periodicals of
psychiatry and psychology, we find that the term crops up frequently in this period, in
evidence of the stamp and the existence of a tradition which had to be acknowledged, even
at the risk of distorting the innovation represented by 'das Ich' in Freud's particular view of the
unconscious. But we should remember, contrary to the assertions of Bettelheim, that the
term 'ego' was essentially rooted in philosophy and psychology, and certainly had no
pejorative sense (Bettelheim, 1983, p. 54), even if Freud eschewed the Latin form, whose
use was nevertheless widespread in German culture.
To pick an example from among the many which Brill might have come across, take
James' review of a book by the Baron du Prel, published in the Psychological Review, 1894;
on page 631, James refers to the ego as 'our unconscious intelligence'. Or, to take a text
which Brill and Jones certainly might have laid hands on:60 the

60 It is interesting to note that in this paper Jones is mainly referring to Ferenczi's paper
'Introjektion und bertragung'. He translated some passages of it and put them in his text.
See also Gordon, 'On Double Ego' (my italics), A.J.M.S., March 1906, p. 480, quoted by
Jones (1909, Jahrbuch fr Psychoanalyse).
- 73 Psychological Bulletin, in which, in September 1906, Hughes devoted a paper to the question
of defining what was meant by the terms 'ego' and 'self' (p. 289), a problem which in
American culture had been touched upon specially by the work of the same William James,
during those years (Fine, 1985).
The Journal of Abnormal Psychology, to which Brill and Jones had contributed a number
of their earliest articles at the invitation of Morton Prince, also published a 'Symposium on the
subconscious' in April 1907. Among the contributors was the eminent French psychologist T.
Ribot; in his paper, translated for the occasion by J. W. Coutney, he frames the problem with
characteristic address; at that time, he maintains, 'the majority of psychologists admit that the
"ego", the person, was a syntheticalcomplex which in its normal states is made up of

relatively stable elements, in spite of incessant variations' (p. 36). At this point, one could also
notice that already in 1885, B. Sachs had transalted and published in America, Psychiatrie by
the famous Meynert. Sachs used the ego, primary and secondary ego (p. 275), to translate
Meynert's 'das Ich', 'primre', 'secundre' Ich.
Turning our attention to Jones in particular, we find that his cultural background contains
substantial evidence concerning the use of this term, quite apart from any consideration of
the word 'ego' in its various compounds (after all, 'egotism' and 'egoism' were fashionable in
late Victorian and Edwardian culture).61 As an example, we could consider the incredible
'tour de force' on the part of the anonymous translator of F. Nordau's Entartung, which,
published with the title 'Degeneration' in 1898, was to become a popular work.62 The book
contains a chapter on 'Ichsucht', which in translation is termed 'Egomania'. Swept along by
Nordau's eccentricities, the translator then goes on to introduce the terms 'I' and 'not I', 'Ego'
and 'not Ego', to render 'Das Ich' and 'nicht Ich', 'Die Ichbewusstsein' and 'nicht
Ichbewusstsein' (p. 17). Note that here again the term 'Ego' is preferred in connexion with
the conscious mind.
Moving on to texts with which Jones was directly acquainted, we could cite as an
example Maudsley's famous treatise Body and Will(1883), whose sixth chapter is entitled
'Disintegrations of the Ego'.63 Or we can even go back to the notebooks Jones kept in his
student days, in which, on reading Clifford, Jones notes his use on various occasions of the
term 'ego' in an antimetaphysical but still philosophical sense.64 And I am certain that if one
were to widen the field of research, further prompts and leads could be discovered. One also
tends to suspect that the translation of the term 'Ich' must have featured among the many
others discussed by Freud, Brill and Jones in that

61 They are quite frequent in Jones' papers (1910b), (1910c), 1913, p. 211, 1913, p. 397). I
should like to make it quite clear that it is not my intention to report in detail the story of the
birth and use of the term 'ego' in English culture. I merely mean to draw a few examples from
texts that were in circulation at that period and which certainly Jones, if not Brill, might have
read, or from texts which were widely known within certain circles.
I have John Padel to thank for a further observation: the term 'ego' was used by Kipling. For
example, in 'Light that failed' (1891), that is, at around the time of the translation of Nordau's
book, Kipling says (p. 59), 'I have made a discovery, Torp, there's too much Ego in my
Cosmos'. The supplement to the OED (1972, A-G, p. 914) relates that on the level of
spokenlanguage, 'ego' was also commonly used in debates by masters and pupils of English
public schools at the beginning of the century.
62 Myers also notes that Nordau's book contains half a page of terms based on the Greek
root 'phobia', and which Nordau had drawn from French sources. The translator has no
choice but to reproduce these in English, thus giving them currency. Some of these locutions
are so strange as to recall certain of Strachey's oddities when beginning to translate Freud,
and suggesting the term 'cathexis'.
63 This section contains extremely interesting material concerning the distinction between
'ego', 'self', 'organic ego' etc. (pp. 31315). In passing, Maudsley's differentiation between
'true' and 'untrue self' is of particular significance, even if based squarely on an
antimetaphysical framework of an organic and biological nature. For, without claiming that
the sense in which Maudsley uses the term is in any way identical to that of Winnicott, we
can say that 'true self' also has a tradition going back to late nineteenth century English

64 Jones' notes are contained in a notebook which has inscribed on the flyleaf, 'E. Jones,
University College Cardiff 1896'. They include extracts from Clifford's lectures 'Aims and
instruments of Scientific Thought, August, 1872' and 'First and Last Catastrophe, April 12,
1874', which is of particular importance and in which the term appears at least four times. It is
interesting to note Clifford's spontaneous translation of 'Ich' as 'self' or 'ego'. But we should
not forget that it is used with reference to a subject in a metaphysical or ethical sense, and
thus in a purely philosophical context. But the derivation of 'ego' from an area
of language which was by no means exclusively medical (for Clifford was one of the major
exponents of late Positivism in England and professor at the University of London, and was
principally concerned with mathematics and geometry) seems to me important. On Clifford,
see Copleton(1977).
- 74 notable encounter in Vienna; after all, Brill had then started work on his translation of Jung's
book on Dementia Praecox(1908), while still at the Burghltzli, and the term is used several
times in this work (Brill, 1939). But among all the many possible hypotheses concerning the
ancestry of the term, and along with the undeniable fact that Freud endorsed it in the
translation of his lectures, there is one final comment I would like to add. In Brill's paper on
the 'Psychological factors in Dementia Praecox' (1908, p. 235), there is a reference to a
Swiss patient, a schizophrenic, who had read the works of Nietszche, and also in particular
Max Stirner's book Das Einzige und sein Eigentum ; Brill cites this work giving the American
translation of the title, 'The Ego and his Own' (p. 228). A strange fate, then, for this term,
whose route into the annals of psychoanalysis also passedand not entirely by chance,
surelyvia the identity crisis of a psychotic patient and the observations on dementia
praecox by Jung.
The history of 'ego', was, therefore, anything but rigid and unilateral even in its Latin
version, leaving aside the permutations that the term 'Ich' underwent in later Freudian
psychoanalysis. Indeed, when it made its first appearance on the psychoanalytical stage, the
term already seems to have been a composite of different uses and meanings: in short, of
many egos. In fact, if I may be permitted a somewhat simplistic, not to say blasphemous,
play on words, it was almost a case of 'ego a-go-go'. However, it is one of the terms which,
from the time of all these palimpsests onwards, continued in uninterrupted use in
The fact that Strachey was to adopt the term in the S.E. over 40 years later, despite all
that psychoanalysis and Freud's message had been through in the meantime, only goes to
show the complex scope of the links connecting his translation with the period of the birth of
psychoanalysis in the English language in America that we are currently looking at.
Moreover, it is important to bear in mind that it was in America that the term officially came
into being, even if via the indirect agency of a travelling, immigrant Jew; and in America the
term was to go on to establish a niche for itself in psychoanalysis. Think of the school of Ego
psychology, for example, which by no mere chance flourished above all in New York, Brill's
centre of operations.
Coming back, after these essential details, to Chase's translation of Freud's lectures, it is
interesting to note his translation of 'Sublimierung' (Freud, G.W. 8, p. 25) with 'sublimation'
(Chase, p. 196). This was a concept which had fascinated Putnam (1909), who had
discussed it with reference to Freud on various occasions in his writing, where he also
translated it as 'sublimation'65(and see also Brill, 1909a, p. 48). Freud had laid no little

stress on this notion throughout the course of this lectures at Worcester, sensing the interest
there was for this in American culture.
Equally significant, in my opinion, is the way Chase deals a little further on with the
concept of 'Einfall' (Freud, G.W. 8, p. 27), a concept Bettelheim has quite rightly drawn
attention to (Bettelheim, 1983, p. 95)66 though magnifying Strachey's responsibility out of all
proportion. Chase employs the paraphrase 'thought which irrupts into consciousness'67 (p.
197) given that it was impossible to translate this literally with 'free associations'.
And then at a certain point in the third lecture Freud comes to the subject of dreams and
their interpretation. Many readers may well remember Freud's subtle and ironic turn of
phrase when introducing and explaining the need for an interpreter and for
the interpretation of dreams (G.W. 8, p. 32): 'Es erscheint mir fast anstossig in diesem
praktischen Zielen zugewendeten Lande als "Traumdeuter" aufzutreten'; which Chase
translates (p. 200): 'It seemed rather an impropriety in this country so devoted to

65 This was probably one of the words Freud was referring to as correct English translation
of his terminology in his letter to Putnam.
66 Bettelheim accuses Strachey and Freud's other translators of not having understood the
significance of 'Einfall' in translating it with 'free association'. However, Strachey, clearly
mindful of the observations made by Chase, and referring specifically in these lectures,
maintains that 'association' for 'Einfall' is 'a question-begging word' and he tries to avoid it as
far as possible 'When, however we come to " freier Einfall ", "free association" (though still
objectionable) is hardly to be escaped' (S.E. Vol. XI, p. 29).
67 See also Macfie Campbell (1909, p. 854), where he translates 'Einfalle' as 'casual
- 75 practical pursuits, I should pose as "interpreter of dreams".'
Freud goes on to say: 'Die Traumdeutung ist in wirklichkeit die Via Regia zur Kentniss
des Unbewussten' (G.W. 8, p. 32) ; which Chase translates as 'The
interpretation of dreams is in fact the Via Regia to the interpretation of the Unconscious'
(Chase, p. 200).
The translation of 'Kentniss' as 'interpretation' here is certainly open to dispute.68
Yet despite Bettelheim's understandable, if not entirely admissible, objections to the
translation of 'Traumdeutung' as 'interpretation of dreams', Chase's rendering was approved
by Freud, who seems subsequently to have remained satisfied with the expression.69 Here
again Chase harks back to Brill, and to Putnam, who had employed Brill's version in his
introduction to the latter's translation of Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualitt(Putnam in Brill,
'Three contributions to the sexual theory', 1910, p. ix). 'The interpretation of dreams' thus
came into psychoanalytical usage well before Strachey's time, influencing, furthermore, what
the title of Freud's work was taken to mean in languages other than English.
Perhaps it is of interest to note here Brill's vacillations over this coinage; in a paper a few
months previously (Brill, 1909c, p. 13), he had translated 'Die Traumdeutung' as 'the
divination of dreams', which today might have met more with Bettelheim's approval.
Then, curiously contrasting 'Enstellung', there is the expression 'free association' (Chase,
(p. 201), which has fallen foul of Bettelheim. Yet quite apart from what he could have found in
Jones (1909, 1913, p. 185 'free association') and Brill (1909c, p. 13), what Chase does is

merely to give a stark translation of the expression coined by Freud himself,

'freie Association' (Freud, G.W. 8, p. 34), in the wake of considerable interest shown in
America in Jung's studies on verbal free association tests during his time there with Freud.
When Freud moves on from neuroses to dreams, talking of his forays into
'Traumarbeit' (G.W. 8, p. 35), Chase translates this as 'dream work' (p. 202); however, Brill
also mentions 'dreamwork' (1910, p. 8), and Jones refers to 'dream making' (1910, p. 320).
As for Freud's expressions 'latenten Traumgedanken' (G.W. 8, pp. 34 & 35) and 'manifest
Trauminhalt', Chase gives 'latent dream thoughts' and 'manifest dream content (p. 201); but
see also Brill (1909c, p. 11), 'manifest latent thoughts', and Jones 'latent, manifest
content' (Jones, 1909, 1913, p. 315) and again Brill (1910, pp. 58).
The fact that the translator is sometimes particularly sensitive to certain nuances in
Freud's language is hardly surprising. For example, where Freud talks of 'psychischen
Vorgangen' in connexion with 'Verschiebung' and 'Verdichtung' (G.W. 8, p. 35), Chase gives
the perfectly literal translation, 'psychic processes' (p. 202); conversely, both Brill and Jones
use 'mechanisms' from the time of their first papers onwards, thus setting the seal on
a distortion of Freud's text which was partly endorsed by Freud himself, since he, too,
sometimes refers to psychic mechanisms as such.70 However, in the 'Traumdeutung' he had
clearly defined 'die Verschiebung' and 'die Verdichtung' as 'die beiden Werkmeisters' of 'die
Traumarbeit': the two craftsmen of the work of dreams (Freud, 1900, p. 326). See Brill (1908,
p. 233) where he refers to 'dream mechanism';

68 Jones' correct version appears almost simultaneously with Chase's rendering, when,
reproducing the famous quote about 'Die Traumdeutung' in one of his papers (Jones, 1910,
p. 329) he states, 'The Interpretation of Dreams is the Via Regia to the
knowledge of unconscious mental life'. In the same paper, Jones gives prominence to
'berdeterminierung', translated as 'overdetermination', and to the 'Darstellung' of dreams,
translated as 'Dramatisation'. For the record, however, Jones had already referred to 'overdetermination' in 1909 (Jones, 1913, p. 201). In another paper dating from 1910 (Jones,
1913, p. 312), he alludes to the 'Mischbildung' of dreams, which he translates as
'composition', and to 'secundre Bearbeitung', which he translates as 'secondary elaboration'
(p. 329).
69 Later on, when Brill came to translate the 'Traumdeutung', it was announced without the
hint of an objection as 'The Interpretation of Dreams' in Die Internationale Zeitschrift fr
70 The mechanistic distortion of the processes of dreams seems to have escaped the
watchful eye of Bettelheim. Unfortunately traces of this distortion are to be found even in the
excellent and to date unsurpassed Vocabulaire de la Psychanalyse by Laplanche & Pontalis,
who miss the fact that Freud does not use the term 'mechanism' in
'The Interpretation ofDreams' (Steiner, 1984).
In evidence of the uncertainty of the situation, note that Brill also occasionally employs
'process'. Talking of Freud's theory of Wit, Brill (1911) says 'The dream work is the name
given to the psychic processes which are responsible for the transformation of the latent into
manifest thoughts of the dream ' p. 281).
71 On the subject of dreams, we should also remember that Brill (1908) refers to 'wish
fulfillment' (p. 237), and in 1909a, translates 'Simbolism' as 'symbolism' (p. 55). See also how
Brill uses this term in his paper 'Freud's theory of wit' (1911, p. 280). We also find
'overdetermination' (1909a, p. 61) and 'psychic censor' (p. 5).

- 76 and Jones (1909a, 1913, p. 315), where he speaks of the 'psychological mechanisms' used
'to conceal from the individual certain feelings and processes', referring, obviously, to Freud's
'psychische Mechanismus der Hysterie', but then extending the term's application, as Brill
does, to include dreams (Jones, 1909a, 1913, p. 316): 'The mechanisms by means of which
is brought about the distortion between the latent and the manifest content are quite precise'.
Again, always in his paper 'Freud's theory ofdreams' (1909a, 1913, p. 320), Jones writes, 'the
mechanisms by means of which the manifest content (etc.) the second distorting
mechanism condensation anddisplacement are the two main mechanisms by means of
which ' (p. 322). And so, when Chase had to translate 'Verschiebung' and 'Verdichtung', it
comes as no surprise that he should adopt 'displacement' and 'condensation' (Chase, p.
202), if we think that Brill (1908, p. 23) had already used condensation, and later on (Brill,
1909a, pp. 215) we find condensation and displacement, 71 followed by Jones (1909, 1913,
p. 319) who also used condensation and displacement to translate Freud's processes of
the dream work.
Note, incidentally, in these first attempts to describe the processes of dreamwork, the
precedent set for these two expressions in the English translation, which strange to say, was
to constitute the archetype for translations into other languages. In my opinion, the English
version does not render the full implications of the German word 'Verschiebung', which
implies the notion of 'Shifting', 72 and thus conveys a sense of the perennial mobility of the
unconscious processes. This is particularly noticeable when the term refers to the
characteristics of the primary process and of the latent content of dreams, as Freud uses it in
'The interpretation of dreams'. For 'displacement', with its notion of a 'place' from which one
has been dislodged, gives the idea of something much more rigid and focused (Steiner,
1983). Similarly, the term 'condensation' loses the root 'Dichtung', poetry, contained in the
German term, especially in the way the term was used by Freud's romantic sources on the
subject of the processes of dreams (Steiner, 1983). But by translating 'Dichtung' with
'condensation', the term is essentially (if not exclusively) reduced to a physico-chemical
denotation connected with the idea of vapour condensation, which is obviously also one of
the possible meanings encompassed by the German term. This particular emphasis brings
us close to a view Freud was later to express regarding psychoanalysts: 'unverbesserliche
Mechanisten und Materialisten' (Freud, G.W. XVIII, p. 79).
Thus we see the specific bias of the translator coming across in the translation. In this
respect, however, we can probably justify certain choices on historical grounds, given the
currency of certain terms in educated English and American circles at that time. Consider, for
example, what such an authority as McDougall had to say three years later, in his renowned
book Body and Mind(1913), as to what he understood by the concept of 'soul'. Chase,
indeed, translates 'Seele' and its compounds such as 'Seelenlebe' (Freud, G.W. 8, pp. 7,
39) as 'soul' and 'soul life' (pp. 185, 205) sometimes, but see also Brill (1909a, p. 49) 'the
soul' for 'Seele'. This is a question meriting further attention, having recently aroused the
interest not only of Bettelheim, who pivots his case for a humanistic Freud upon it, 73 but
also of others (Fornari, 1984; Granoff, 1983; Pontalis, 1983); (Steiner, 1981), (1983) ; a
strange phenomenon, probably due to what may be called 'Zeitgeist' or 'la force des choses'.
One may sympathise with the reservations of Granoff and Pontalis, which are nevertheless
essentially related to Freud's notion of 'Seelenapparat'; and the re-proposal of the term 'soul'
has also found fault with Kermode (1983), Prower (1983) and Rycroft (1983). But

72 Curiously enough, beside the fact that the notion of displacement appears already as a
general process in Meyer (1906, see p. 70 of this paper), a translator of Wundt's Grundriss
der Psychologie (1896), Hubbard (1902), translated 'Verschiebung' as 'Shifting' (p. 336).
73 But Bettelheim is wrong in claiming that even the 'earlier English translations' did not
translate Seele as 'soul' (1983, p. 73).
- 77 notwithstanding these objections, it is beyond doubt that Chase's translation in this instance,
which had Freud's seal of approval, is an attempt to render all the implications contained in
'Seele'; even in the lay acceptance in which it is used by Freud (Prower, 1983), this term
comprises the notion of the human spirit and of the fount of life in general, which to a degree
the English word 'soul' also implies. McDougall uses the term in the above-mentioned work,
stressing the fact that the 'soul' he is alluding to is not of metaphysical nature (p. 13).
Even more interesting is to compare Chase's translation with Jones' papers of the same
period. In keeping with his make-up, Jones consistently uses 'mind' or 'mental life', even on
occasions where it is evident that in the German Freud chose 'Seele' (Jones, 1909, 1913, p.
34) where he translates 'Seelenlebe' as 'mental life'.74
Then we come to Freud's remarks in these lectures concerning infant sexuality and the
phenomenon of 'bertragung', significant in the immediate impact made by their terminology,
whose use was widely adopted into specialized language as well as that of other fields (G.W.
8, pp. 34, 54). Chase translates 'bertragung' (p. 54) as 'transference' (Chase, pp. 205 & 215).
Brill (in 1909a, p. 48) and (in 1909b), in his translation of some of Freud's papers
on hysteria, had already given this as 'transference',75 and Jones, referring for the first time
to the case of Dora (Jones, 1910), had also given the translation 'transference' in much the
same period (Jones, 1913, p. 14). But remember also Onufrowicz (1906).
The terminology of Chase's translation listed below is simultaneously replicated in Brill's
translation of Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualitt, on which he worked in those very months.
Chase translates 'Sexual Trieb' (Freud, G.W. 8, p. 45) as 'sexual impulse' (Chase, p. 209);
'Triebkomponenten' (G.W. 8, p. 45) as 'impulse components' (Chase, p. 209), 'erogene
Zone' (G.W. 8, p. 46) as 'erogenous zone' (Chase, p. 209); 'Sexualbefriedigung' (G.W. 8, p.
46) as 'sexual gratification' (Chase, p. 209); 'libido' (G.W. 8, p. 46)76 throughout as 'libido';
'Sadismus' (G.W. 8, p. 46) as 'sadism' (Chase, p. 210); 'Masochismus' (G.W. 8, p. 46) as
'masochism' (Chase, p. 210); 'Schaulust' (G.W. 8, p. 46) as 'exhibition pleasure' (Chase, p.
210) which probably Bettelheim would prefer to the later Strachey translation of 'scopophilia'
which gave rise to some of his most irritated comments (Bettelheim, 1983, p. 91),
'Selbsterhaltungs-triebes' (G.W. 8, p. 47) as 'self preservation instincts' (note the use of 'self'
rather than 'ego') (Chase, p. 210); 'Objektwahl' (G.W. 8, p. 47) as 'object choice' (Chase, p.
210); 'Genitalzone' (G.W. 8, p. 47) as 'genital zone' (Chase, p. 211); Regression' (G.W. 8, p.
50) as 'regression'; 'partial Triebe'77(G.W. 8, p. 50) as 'partial impulse' (Chase, p. 211);
'Autoerotismus' (G.W. 8, p. 46) as 'autoerotism' (Chase, pp. 10910) and 'Fixierung' (G.W.
8, p. 49) as 'fixation' (Chase, p. 212).
Turning now more specifically to the terminology of the translation by Brill of the 'Three
contributions to the sexual theory': where Freud mentions 'Latenzperiode'(Freud, 1910,
G.W., p. 77), 78Brill translates this as 'latency period' (Brill, 1910, p. 39). And he renders
Freud's allusion to 'Betatigung der Afterzone' (Freud, 1910, G.W. 5, p. 86), with a Latinization
of the term 'After', as 'activity of the anal zone' (Brill, 1910, p. 45), thus introducing 'anal' into
English usage; Brill may well have had Freud's essay of 1908 on anal erotism in mind here.
To continue the list of terms, we find 'Polymorph perverse Anlage' (Freud, 1910, G.W. 5, p.

91) translated as 'polymorph perverse disposition' (Brill, 1910, p. 49), 'Fetischismus' (Freud,
1910, G.W. 5, p. 52) translated as 'fetishism' (Brill, 1910, p. 18) ;

74 Translating a passage by Lwenfeld from German, Jones renders 'seelischen Leben' as

'mental life' (Jones, 1912, 1913, p. 418). Previously, however, recounting an excerpt from
Nietzsche's 'Youthful Wisdom', translated by someone else, he leaves 'soul' for
'Seele' (Jones, 1910, 1913, p. 404).
75 But note that the concept of transference found in the 'Studies on Hysteria' cannot
immediately be superimposed on that of the case of Dora and Freud's observations in his
lectures in Worcester in 1909.
76 Note that in his paper 'Freud's conception of psychoneuroses' (1909c, p. 8), Brill likens
the Freudian concept of libido to the Greek concept of Eros, to explain its implications;
Putman, moreover, suggested 'craving' as a translation for libido. See also Brill, 'Three
contributions to the infantile sexulaity theory' (1909, p. 2).
77 It is interesting that Chase often translates 'Triebe' as 'impulse', seldom as 'instinct'.
78 I am using the Gesammelte Werke text. I compared it with the 1910 Leipsig and Vienna
Version of the 'Die drei Abhandlungen zur sexualitat'; there have been no changes
concerning the terminology I am referring to.
- 78 'inzestuosen Phantasien' (Freud, 1910, G.W. 5, p. 126) translated as 'incestuous
phantasies' (Brill, 1910, p. 63), and 'Reaktionsbildung' (Freud, 1910, G.W. 5, p. 140)
translated as 'reaction formation' (Brill, 1910, p. 72). All these terms, and many others, thus
acquired legitimacy and, while they were associated with expressions from thelanguage of
psychiatry and sexology both pre-dating and contemporaneous with Freud's work (see
Moebius, Krafft-Ebing, Havelock Ellis etc.), on their application to the Freudian unconscious,
they became transformed and 'resemanticized'as is often the case also in other fields
of knowledge when a given terminology is applied in a new way by a great innovator (Corti,
1978) ; (Boyd, 1979) ; (Kuhn, 1979). Not that Brill, Jones and Putnam themselves were
probably completely aware of this 'resemanticization', although one has to acknowledge
Brill's late statements about his early translations when 'familiar words had to be vested with
new meanings' (Brill, 1939, p. 324).
It may be worth noting here, in passing, Brill's translation of the term 'Trieb', in which the
influence of Havelock Ellis is probably to be seen. The latter's rendering of 'sexual impulse'
was deservedly quoted both by Freud and by Brill, and for the most part Brill also translates
'Trieb' as 'impulse' and rarely as 'instinct'. And this is, indeed, Chase's strategy with this term
in translating Freud's Worcester lectures.
If one wanted to be pedantic at this point, one could go on quoting.
Brill's occasionally grotesque faithfulness to the exact wording of Freud's text leads him
not only to employ definitions such as 'autoerotic' and 'object love' but also to coin the
expression 'narcism', 79 an obvious calque of the term 'Narcismus' (1911), which was applied
by Freud in the case of Leonardo and then promptly taken up by Brill in a paper in 1911 (p.
5). Jones, for his part, displays particular care in his handling of Freud's lexis. For instance,
his first attempt to convey the meaning of 'Unlust' resulted in the translation
'discomfort' (Jones, 1910, 1913, p. 15) ; but the term was to continue to preoccupy him for
years before he could reach a satisfactory solution, as we shall see. He was also responsible

for translations of brief passages from Ferenczi, from which English psychoanalytical lexis
was to gain the term 'introjection' (Jones, 1910, 1913, p. 251).80 What is more, Jones
makes a distinction (in my opinion, rightly) between 'desire' and 'wish' in Freud's definition of
the conative quality of the affects(Jones, 1912, p. 419, 1913): 'The conative aspects of
the affects in question may perhaps be best denoted by the expression desire, or in
Freud's language 'Wunsch', the 'wish'. Jones seems sensitive here to the difference which
exists even etymologically between 'wish' and 'desire' as translations of 'Wunsch'; just as,
indeed, exists in German between 'Sehnsucht' and 'Wunsch' (Steiner, 1984).
There is no doubt that Jones showed a marked preference for Latinization in these years.
One might object that Jones' task was facilitated by the amount of scientific and cultivated
terms based on ancient Greek and Latin, in the English language. Yet English is also well
known for being a language extremely rich in perceptive and emotional and expressive
nuances, based for instance on its more indigenous anglo-saxon heritage. I will introduce
further evidence and reasons for Jones' personal choices later on. For the moment let us
simply note that it is basically he who was responsible for introducing 'preconscious' to
translate 'Vorbewusst' (Jones, 1910, 1913, p. 13), while others had been using
'foreconscious'; he also translated 'uberdeterminiert' with 'overdetermined'(but see also Brill,
1909a, p. 27), 'Sammel-person' with 'collective person', 'Knotenpunkte' with 'points
of junction', 'Mischbildung' with 'composition', 'Darstellung' with 'dramatisation', 'Vortraum'
with 'introductory dream', 'secundre Bearbaitung' with 'secondary elaboration',
'Traumergeger' with 'dream instigator', 'Bequemlichkeitstrume' with
'comfort dreams' (Jones, 1909, 1913, pp. 316327) ; (Jones, 1910, 1913, p. 15)'primary and
secondary processes' and translated also 'Befriedigungerlebnis' with 'gratification' and

79 I have discovered the term correctly translated as 'narcissism' in a paper published in the
first issue of the Psychoanalytic Review (Vol. 1, November 1913). See 'Some Freudian
contributions to paranoia problems': 'There is a stage between autoerotism and love of an
object in which the individual takes his own body as an object of love: this is called
80 Curiously enough, in his version of 'Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualitt' (Standard Edition,
1953), Strachey was to translate 'Trieb' throughout as 'instinct'.
- 79 'innere Widerstnde' (Jones, 1911, 1913, p. 308) with 'internal resistances', 'Erregung' with
'sum of excitement' (Jones, 1910, p. 14). And whereas 'Abreagierung' has been translated
as 'walking out of', for example since Meyer (1893) and James (p. 71 of this paper), Jones
gives the translation 'abreaction' (1910, 1913, pp. 1415) (but see also Brill, 1909,
'abreaction' p. 3). In this connextion, we should also note Putnam's remarks as to the
difficulty of translating the words 'Angst' and 'libido' into English.
Having arrived at this point, what can we conclude? Before embarking upon this however
summary examination of lexis, I talked of how Brill and Jones needed a plan capable of
skilful modification in response to the requirements and experience of American psychiatric,
psychological and neurological culture. The reasons for this I demonstrated from a study of
the correspondence between Freud and Jones soon after the latter's arrival in America.
As for Freud, the ironically tinged remarks he made concerning the pragmatic nature of
American culture, such as we saw in his 'Five lectures', can leave us in no doubt as to the
kind of strategy he himself favoured for the purposes of infiltration. And by now it must be

clear that the policy for deciding on certain basic terms that was adopted by both Brill and
Jones, and also by Putnam, was that of trying if at all possible to hook them into the
prevailing culture. This included taking into consideration the first rudimentary attempts to put
across certain of Freud's ideas that had already been made in America by their close
predecessors, using the same sort of Ancient Greek but overall Ancient Latin
rooted language. The terms I have in mind include 'repression' and also 'psychoanalysis',
'transference', 'unconscious', 'sublimation', 'displacement', 'censor' and 'ego'. But the striking
thing about the new terminology is the sudden leap, the enrichment of the language with
respect to what was already known. With a progress which will need further analysis and
comment, within two or three years, American and, indirectly, English culture were virtually
bombarded with a volley of expressions and terms which all at once made it possible for a
specialist and lay public to grasp the fundamentals of Freudian psychoanalysis, not to
mention Jung's ideas. We get a strong impression of this from the enthusiasm reported by
Brill, whose lectures in New York were attended by people from all intellectual walks. And the
very fact that even the popular press in America quickly took this language to itself shows
that if only on an extremely superficial level ofcommunication, something had been
definitively sparked off (Hoffman, 1959) ; (Shakow & Rapaport, 1963) ; Ruitenbeek, 1966).
But rather than the sheer numbers of terms in themselves, I feel we should look at the
method adopted by Brill and Jones, and employed by Chase with Freud's approval. For what
emerges is of fundamental importance, especially when seen in perspective. Wherever
possible, Brill and Jones (in particular) opted for a procedure ofassimilation, Latinizing and
Graecizing Freud's text to an enormous extent. An obvious example of this is the case of
'ego', whose history I have already mentioned; but it is equally true of 'interpretation',
'condensation', 'displacement', preconscious', 'process', 'discomfort', 'presentation',
'representation', 'dramatization', 'sublimation' and all the others I have quoted.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, I would like to stress again that the legitimization of
these terms also orginates in part from Freud's own language, in particular where he refers
back to sexology, and in his early writings, which are marked by a certain
mechanistic tradition (Hoffer, 1984).
At this juncture, what needs to be clarified, in my opinion, is where this obligation to latch
on to the known, which principally took the form of utilizing two dead languages (prestigious
though they were even in America) was leading.
It is perfectly clear that this policy served to quell anxieties and to endow certain of
Freud's ideas with greater dignity and scientific credibility, as if it was essential to elevate
them in some way. But equally undeniable, it seems to me, was the additional security
measure which such an approach afforded, although beyond certain limits even this could
not stem the rapid vulgarization of psychoanalysis. Admittedly, there was a great difference
between the way certain terms were applied by Jones and even by Brill, and what happened
to these same terms when they later began to pass into general use. But this kind of
terminology represented the key
- 80 to getting psychoanalysis accepted within certain circles and amongst the ranks of
recognized cultural lites in America, who continued to use a certain technical jargon in their
lectures, in their writings, and also for professional purposes.
However, there is also something else we should mention here. Notwithstanding the
objective difficulties of launching psychoanalysis, which partly explain the use of this kind of
linguistic camouflage (thus revealing as too partial and severe at times Bettelheim's and

others' albeit understandable observations in attributing solely to Strachey

the transformation of Freud's language, forgetting the reasons that led Brill and Jones to
attempt a similar operation long before), neither Brill nor Jones was merely the hapless
victim of a set of circumstances. They shared the values and the ideology of their
particular culture, even if they did clearly intend to change certain aspects of it; but the gulf
separating them from men such as Morton Prince, Meyer and the others was not so huge.
Take what Jones had to say in the introduction to his 1913 collection; for example, in his
reference to biology and his unequivocal assertion that Freud had 'reduced' the psychic to
biological terms, he was not that far from Meyer when the latter, in Freud's defence, relates
his work to biology etc.
The definition of Freud as 'the Darwin of the mind' was basically an attempt to render him
in linguistic terms, if not actually in personal terms, a somebody, a man of science profoundly
rooted in Jones' own culture and that of his colleagues. Moreover, from this time on, Freud's
own involvement is another factor to be taken into account.
Although we cannot entirely ignore a certain distance on Freud's part, an indifference,
perhaps, to involving himself fully in a project which was, for some while, to remain
somewhat alien to him, or at any rate not of such crucial importance as it was to Brill and
Jones, he nevertheless gave it his blessing. His approval of their efforts in spite of the
rivalries etc. seems to have been quite substantial, if one excepts, perhaps, the translation of
'Seele' as 'mind'. Freud preferred 'soul', at least from the documents I have been able to
study. In the case in point, Chase's translation seems to highlight the differences that existed
between attitudes in Vienna, London and New York: a question I shall have to return to
The charismatic power conferred by Freud's legitimization dominates the whole
enterprise, even if in different ways and with varying emphasis for Brill, Jones and Putnam.
Indeed, in these years, Brill and Jones achieved much under Freud's auspices, by and large
reaching agreement despite differences of opinion, as is borne out by the whole range of
linguistic choices. And these achievements of theirs are vital to a full understanding of the
reasons behind Jones' stance of the forties of which I have spoken, and of the extent to
which Strachey himself was influenced by this cultural and ideological imprinting.
This, by the way, comes across in the notes, meagre and superficial though they are, that
Brill and Jones made on the very subject of translating Freud. Strangely enough, it is from
this time that they begin to talk of literalness and of respecting the original text as far as
possible. This is a theme which was to re-emerge later on, and on which I shall have more to
say in my final analysis. Brill himself was certainly aware of the shortcomings of his
endeavours; and I am not just thinking of what he was later to say
retrospectively (1942) concerning his earliest translations: 'I made no effort to produce
literary excellencies, I was only interested in conveying these new ideas into comprehensible
English' (pp. 53940).
For equally interesting is what he maintains in the preface to his translation of 'Selected
Papers on Hysteria', where he states at least the intention of some kind of programme, such
as also crops up again, mutatis mutandis, in 1909.
But I have certain particular remarks in mind. After thanking Jones amongst others for his
helpful advice (an important comment in its own right, in that it demonstrates the link which I
have stressed between the two men), and after assuming full responsibility for the numerous

81 It is interesting to notice that Freud was using soul on writing in English to Jones (see
letter dated 24 February 1912, 'took a load from my soul'). Obviously it is not a 'technical'
expression, but rather a colloquialism.
- 81 'barbarisms found in the translation', he goes on:
For one thing, it must be borne in mind that aside from the subject matter, Freud is
not easy to read even in the original. Indeed, I feel quite certain that only those who
have read the original will best appreciate the task of the translator. But no matter
how devoid of literary excellencies this translation may be, it can at least claim one
merit, to wit, it is a faithful reproduction of the author's thoughts. This is really all that
should be required of a translation (my italics).
Fifty years after the time of these affirmations, in a delightful evocation of the early days
of the Institute of Psychoanalysis in New York, Lewin (1962) still recalls that Brill had said of
his translations:
I know there are plenty of mistakes in my translations, but put yourself in my place.
When I started I had nothing to go by. It was up to me to decide how I should
translate 'Verdrngung', whether it should be called 'suppression' or 'repression', and
I worried about it a long time. So now all of you fellows are saved that trouble.
Jones' writings at that date contain no specific mention as to the quality of Brill's work.
However, in response to Putnam's serious reservations about Brill's 'atrocious English'82in
translating Freud, and in the course of discussing who should translate Hirschmann's book
on Freud, Jones comes out with the opinion (Jones to Putnam, 11 Dec 1910, in Hale, 1971,
p. 247)83a literal translation is the best solution, going so far as to maintain that 'literal
quotation is always fairer'. And in fact Jones often gave Freud's original German alongside
the English translation during those years, especially in the case of so-called technical
But no 'historical' translation can ever be purely literal, a fact corroborated in this case by
the extraordinary brand of 'literalness' affected by Brill and Jones. It was, indeed, a hybrid
characterized by a particular manipulation of Freud's terminology, and producing results with
such clear ideological connotations as to merit further commentary. So Brill and Jones were
far from being 'fidi interpretes', If I may adapt Horatio's famous definition regarding translation
in Ars Poetica: 'fidus interpres' (Kelly, 1979). In this light, Freud himself is not entirely
objective when he claims (in reply to Putnam, who had complained also to him about Brill's
translations): 'I surmised that his [Brill's] translations were conscientious rather than
Of course, we cannot pretend that Brill or even Jones was in a position to supply the kind
of equivalents proposed by modern translation theorists in the case of texts with a high
semantic content and markedly expressive style (Catford, 1965; Jakobson, 1966; Nida, 1964;
Poovic, 1976; Malberg, 1975); after all, the range of problems encompassed by the notion of
'equivalence' is particularly complex in such cases. To get an idea of what these two were up
against, one need only look at the ideas that prevailed in those years about the art of
translation, both in England and in America (Cohen, 1962) ; G. Steiner, 1975; (T. R. Steiner,
1975) ; (Bassnet & McGuire, 1980). And then there is the cultural upbringing both of Brill
and of Jones to consider, as well as the great haste in which the first translations were
thrown on paper. However, the very absence of any elaborate criteria, or, indeed, of the
application of basic principles to the first attempts at translating Freud (notwithstanding Brill's

evidentperception of the complexity of Freud's prose) is in itself demonstrative of a particular

interpretive attitude.
Rather than the translation of a 'fidus interpres', the work of Brill and Jones would be
more aptly described as a 'traducion servil', to use the colourful expression of Paz (1971, p.
10). The

82 'I respect Brill and I have written an envoi for his translation of the "Drei Abhandlungen".
But he writes atrocious English, if one must call it such, and would not give us as good
standing as you could' (Putnam to Jones, 14 September 1910), (in Hale, 1971, p. 229).
Putnam's reservations were to surface again in 1916, writing to Jones on 12 November: 'His
[Freud's] "Leonardo" [translated by Brill] is out, as of course you know. I am sorry to say the
translation seems to be extremely poor, mainly to be sure from the literary standpoint. It
seems to me a serious misfortune that Freud, whose writings and style which, though fine,
are sometimes hard to master, should have been presented so inadequately to his English
speaking public' (Hale, 1971, p. 295).
83 On 14 October 1910, Putnam wrote in a letter to Jones, 'As you may know, I love good
English and do not believe that anyone can make a really good translation except somebody
who is born into the language in which he is to work and who realizes that to make a good
translation means to render the author's meaning in the best terms' (Hale, 1971, p. 235).
- 82 Spanish word 'servil' to some extent still retains the meaning of the Latin root 'servus'; though
the question here is what purpose, rather than serving Freud, this translation actually did
Influenced by that particular environment and by the values they both shared, as I have
said, Brill and Jones took up the linguistic arms of the Ancient Greek phalanges and the
Roman legions to wage their campaign. In so doing, they constructed a kind of Trojan Horse
to penetrate the fortress of American (and indirectly, English) psychiatry and psychology,
neurology and medicine. Perhaps I am speaking here with the benefit of hindsight; but this
stratagem indubitably could sometimes result in a sort of coercion of psychoanalysis inside
the 'linguistic' horse where it was held prisoner from that time onwards, within the very
linguistic instrument adopted for its diffusion.
For what characterizes the creation of the Anglo-American version of the 'primitivi' (de
Mauro, 1984) of psychoanalysis, i.e. its basic technical terms ('technical' terms, indeed, in
that they represented a specialized lexis to express the essence and the innovation of
psychoanalysis), is a tendency to define the new 'science' essentially in terms of a
therapeutic technique or a method of psychological enquiry related to the natural and
physical sciences. Even from a linguistic viewpoint there was a reinforcement of what Snow
defines as the dichotomy between humanistic and scientific cultures. In Freud's original text,
however, this antithesis is anything but clear-cut, since the two dispositions tend continually
to be superimposed one upon the other.
This translation was certainly no stimulus to an exegesis of Freud's text, based on the
profound implications and cross-currents contained even in his 'technical' language: on the
contrary, there was a preference for a monosemic simplification of Freud's language, rather
than a respect for the richness of its polysemy. Neither Brill nor Jones could indeed consider
a very significant statement made by Freud about the characteristics of a translation, in
speaking about the dream and the changes that are taking place in it, in the 'Introductory

lectures on psychoanalysis' (1916, p. 172): 'After all, a translation normally endeavours to

preserve the distinctions made in the text and particularly to keep things that are similar
separate'. This statement clearly does not support or allow for any reductive simplification in
the process of translation but the inflexibility of the dead languages, with their almost hieratic
sanctity, also had a hand in this, contributing to the legitimization of psychoanalysis in the
eyes of theother scienceswhich at the time were still rather far from beginning to go
through their own identity crises: a problem which, before long, was variously to attract the
attention also in Anglo-American circles, of Wittgenstein, Carnap, Neurath and others (1919,
1931, 1939) (de Mauro, 1984, p. 78). So, this monosemic tendency, aided and abetted by
the 'rigor mortis' of the dead languages, much of the time helped create an illusion that one
could encapsulate, 'reduce' psychoanalysis, to repeat Jones' expression, and stem, if not
arrest, the tide of signifiers and things signified that the discovery of the unconscious had
unleashed. This was not just a case of the translator aspiring to reframe the foreign text in
terms of the referents and connotations proper to his or her own language and culture. It was
rather a question of the inherent elusiveness of that specific text. For quite apart from
considerations relating to its author, its very subject matter induced pronounced anxieties, in
the course of attempts to get it under control; for as Freud says as far back as the
'Traumdeutung', it is impossible to know the unconscious (Freud, 1900, p. 617). But this was
certainly not the kind of concept that Brill and Jones were meaning to promote at that time.
On the contrary, the immediate and practical need was for a 'foolproof' answer, which could
create the illusion that the words had unique and unitary referents, such as could be applied
in therapeutic practice. Camouflaged in Ancient Greek and Latin, the technical terminology
might, indeed, have risked transforming the 'talking cure' into a 'talking pill'; but in
appearance at least, this very 'monosemy' guaranteed the transmission and survival of
psychoanalysis. Not that all was crystal clear at that date, even at the level of translation:
basically, these first attempts were little more than rough drafts. One might well question, in
fact, whether everyone in America at that period understood the same thing by terms such as
- 83 'ego', 'displacement', 'condensation', 'over-determination', 'polymorph perverse',
'unconscious', and so forth. And then, consider the problems created by 'Vorstellung', to
quote just one of many conspicuous examples.
There was in addition another factor we should bear in mind. Opinions may differ as to
the limitations and inherent risks of this operation; and indeed, Bettelheim is undoubtedly
correct (leaving aside his exclusive charges against Strachey) in insisting that, thus
manipulated, Freud's language is stripped of its conotative elements. However, and I write as
one who is no subscriber to the philosophy that everything must be excused and justified
simply by virtue of its already having passed into the annals of history, the fact remains that
these first attempts to translate Freud were caught up in the dawning need to institutionalize
psychoanalysis and the organs of its administration outside Austro-Hungarian borders; and
the importance of Jones' role in instrumentalizing this emerges quite clearly even at that
early date.
We can see this if we come back to his correspondence with Putnam, and his only
apparently inconsequential observations relating to literal criteria in translating. For whereas
in Putnam, we pick up echoes of a literary education, the heritage of his study of philosopy, in
Jones, such preoccupation with form and style as is certainly present (and of which we shall
see more evidence later) is fused into a project of an institutional cast. It is this dimension
that earlier prompted both my circumspect allusion to Luther's translation of the Bible, and

then, in elucidation of the attitude of Jones and his group in the forties just after Freud's
death, my further reference to movements of a religious nature.
Taking upon himself Freud's preoccupations and wishes (which he and Ferenczi had, in
any case, helped to stimulate), and with his notion of the circle of the seven elect, recipients
of the ring in token of especial loyalty and love from Freud, Jones decided there was a need
to set up a 'Verein', an international association of psychoanalysts (Jones,
1955), (1959) ; (Brome, 1982). In his letter to Putnam of 14 August 1910 he writes:
We are so likely to have the work damaged by amateurs and charlatans that it
becomes necessary to protect our interests, enrolling those with some
properknowledge of the subject, in a rather official Verein, which would, therefore, be
some kind of guarantee in a general way that the members knew what they were
talking and writing about (my italics, Hale, 1971, p. 225).
Then, again, in his reply to Putnam's suggestion of the translator Linenthall for
Hirschmann's book, Jones insisted (17 October 1910):
The trouble about Linenthall is that he knows nothing of psychoanalysis, which is a
grave disadvantage in a translator (my italics, Hale, 1971, p. 237).
In the light of all that I have been trying to demonstrate up to now, however fragmentarily
and not always under the easiest of circumstances, we can now see emerging in embryo
form a working model for the standardization of the new professional knowledge through a
particular linguistic instrument: the translation of Freud's work in that specific mode. The
distinctive form assumed by the translation was to guarantee reciprocal understanding and,
in a certain sense, confer a professional identity, upon the user, yet the translator had to
know psychoanalysis! The form and the use of a certain language, then, lay at the heart of
the creation of a particular scientific and professional lite corps. But while a
certain language was to contribute towards the creation of the institution, this language was,
in its turn, already the product of a certain conception of that very institution, as the
ideological implications of the translations done by Brill and Jones and the institutional
models they had in mind and had to deal with have already shown. And then,
the language itself tended to become institutionalized immediately, in virtue of its users, the
psychoanalysts, who could only define themselves as such if they could demonstrate
professional competence in its use.
Foundations were thus laid for the standardization, on a linguistic level at least, of a
whole professional field, that of the budding Anglo-American psychoanalysts. But channels
for a far more widespread uniformity were to be created, as we shall see, by the growth of
the International Psychoanalytical Association, then in the process of formation; and,
contemporaneously, the means of gaining control over that diffusion. Especially once the
heads of the
- 84 Association got together for a considerable period with various of the contributors
and minences grises behind the translation of Freud into English.
There was, therefore, an enormous amount at stake, in terms of gaining cultural
dominance and being able to influence, directly and indirectly, future developments in
psychoanalysis: even if at that time Jones was not fully aware of this.
But significant in this context is his insistence on the translator's knowledge of
psychoanalysis: the crucial implications of this issue were now beginning, for a variety of
reasons, to make themselves felt. On whom should the choice of official translator fall? In

Vienna, Freud had discussed the matter with both Brill and Jones; and then officially chosen
Brill But from whom and what source should a prospective translator learn about the
rudiments of psychoanalysis? And what effect might such decisions have on the ultimate
translation itself? Deferring for the moment the answers to these questions (whose import,
again, seems to me to date from the very first attempts to translate Freud into English), let us
focus on the relevance of Brill's first translations and the papers by Jones and Putnam and
their consequences. If theidentity of the International Association will be conditioned
linguistically through a determinate translation and use of Freud and by the
prominent presence of doctors from the beginning and, later on the appearance of the
publications I mentioned above at once opened the way to the foundation both of an Institute
of Psychoanalysis in New York, and of the American Psychoanalytical Association which
were 'medical' (Brill, 1939): the one under the auspices of Brill; the other, of
Jones (D'Amore, 1979) ; and there also followed shortly the founding of
the Psychoanalytical Review, the first specific periodical on psychoanalysis to be published
in the English language(discounting the Nervous and Mental Disease Monograph Series, in
which Brill's first translations, of Jung's Psychology of Dementia Praecox and of Freud's
works, were published). This now meant that as well as being propagated, psychoanalysis
could begin to be taught according to specific principles, a sort of code which could shape a
curriculum with all the consequences and limitations described by Bernstein (1974), Bourdieu
(1975) and Derrida (1984). Granted, there were still many uncertainties and vacillations; but,
taking 'simplify' as their watchword, these principles crystallized around the
unanimous repetition, both spoken and in writing, of a somewhat restricted number of terms
whose use, if not uniform in application, was nonetheless constant. Thus dialogues began to
be set up, and psychoanalysis took on an institutional life whose positive and negative
potential cannot have been wasted on Jones. The extent of this activity becomes apparent if
we widen our sights beyond the statements and writings of Brill, Jones and Putnam, to take
in the vast number of articles published in America over this period, in periodicals,
newspapers and books, both specialized and otherwise (Read, 1920). Ruitenbeek (1960)
quotes more than 200 books on psychoanalysis in America between 1910 and 1920!
The set of terms in question might be defined, if the analogy does not seem too strained,
as the linguistic correlatives (artificial, to be sure) of the paradigmatic dimension, cautiously
to use Kuhn's definition (Steiner, 1985), psychoanalysis had by then taken on, which was
rendered all the more acute by its becoming codified in that particular translation.
At this juncture, let us turn from the story of the diffusion of psychoanalysis across the
Atlantic and return with Jones to England, to follow his fortunes on the intellectual and on the
personal front. Jones was armed with the handful of terms, established 'in concordia discors'
with Brill, that I have been discussing; and this terminology, interspersed throughout his
papers, conversations and lectures, constituted a starting point, the springboard for an
operation to launch and establish psychoanalysis, upon which Jones' thought and actions
were focused with a series of immediate initiatives from the instant he set foot for good once
more on British soil.
The reason I have gone over what lies behind Jones' preface to this collection of papers
before embarking on any analysis of them is precisely that once we have grasped their
background and the cultural circumstances in which they were written and published,
circulated and discussed in America, the collection is seen to be a kind of
- 85 -

manifesto; the instrument of battle; the first bricks used by Jones in the construction of what
we might tentatively describe as his linguistic empire. And only with an
adequate knowledge of the events during the period from 1913 to 1920, which saw Jones'
rise to undisputed leadership of the psychoanalytical scene in England, his split with the
Americans, and Strachey's addition to the ranks of Freud's translators, will we fully
appreciate the value and necessity of going right back to the very roots of the translation of
Freud into English.
Upon consideration, it is clear that there was nothing fortuitous about the publication of
Jones' writings, with the official launching in public as well as into the medical world (even if
this was only of limited interest to Jones himself) of his papers and the terminology contained
in them. Indeed, the correspondence with Freud already reveals the latter pointing out that
attitudes towards psychoanalysis in Britain seemed to have changed from what they had
been on Jones' departure for America. As early as 1911, on Jones announcing his plans to
come back and live in England, Freud had expressed his approval, adding:
by the way, (England) has become a better soil since you left. I had to refuse no less
than three offers for translating the 'Traumdeutung' from Englishmen, expecting as
you know that Brill will do it soon (Freud to Jones, 9 August 1911).
A cursory review of the rate of expansion and the quality of certain publications reveals
that, if not at the exponential rate of growth that was seen in America around 1910, a
perceptible change had been taking place on the English front. Little by little, even before
Jones' actual return to London, but with a certain regularity, these terms had been coming
back across the Atlantic like some species of sea-swallow, soon lodging themselves in
articles, reviews and publications. Thus there gradually came intobeing a kind of 'hypertext',
to use the terminology of Gnette (1972), which in turn started to act upon the original
hypotext, itself seldom consulted, so that the laws and conventions of the former came to
prevail. These were all the more effectual and convincing in that the whole enterprise of reimportingor importingpsychoanalysis from America into England (or rather, what had
been understood as psychoanalysis) was in the hands of very few people, namely Jones and
Brill, with occasional contributions from Putnam and one or two others. The terms in question
are those in particular over which Brill, Jones and Putnam seem to have come to an informal
There is naturally no way of establishing with absolute certainty whether, in transit from
New York, Boston and Toronto to London, Cambridge, Oxford and Scotland, this series of
generally Greek or Latin based terms did not acquire new shades of meaning. This problem
arose from the moment work on translation was begun, even if Jones and Brill paid no
particular attention to it at the time, and it was a problem that would continue to arise. For the
universal identity of terms whose Greek or Latin root is common to many languages is often
only apparent, even in the case of 'technical' terms. (Nida, 1974) ; (Newmark, 1981; Malberg,
1979), though what was to be understood by 'technical' terminology in psychoanalysis is yet
another question. Nevertheless, allowing for such differences between American and British
English as may apply in this particular case, these conventions, however fragile, seemed to
hold sway for some while. What is more, the number of original Freudian texts available for
direct reference was still very limited; but what we can note is the predominance of that kind
of hypertext which, as I mentioned earlier, was beginning to circulate in England. Let us take
one of the first resums of psychoanalysis, written by Hart in 191084. Hart was another great
admirer of Pearson and the linguistic criteria championed in his 'Grammar of Science', such

as economy of thought, 'the single formula which will resume an indefinite number of

84 Hart will publish an extremely well informed paper on 'Freud's conception of hysteria'
in Brain(1911). Here he will use again all the technical terms, borrowing them from the
translations and the papers of Brill, Jones and even Chase.
- 86 (my italics), to use Hart's words (Hart, 1910, p. 113) ; he also discusses at length the literal
translation of Freud's 'Unbewusste' with 'unconscious'. Hart's summary is dominated by the
terms 'unconscious', 'complex', 'repression', 'projection', 'conflict' and so on: the very terms
that we find in the papers of Brill and Jones. And in Hart's book of 1912, which to my mind
was to have a direct influence upon Jones's preface to his Papers on Psychoanalysis in
1913, Hart maintains that these terms are conceptions 'devised to explain the phenomena
which are observed, just as in physical science the concepts of force and energy' are devised
to explain the phenomenon of motion (my italics, Hart, 1912, p. 19). If only in appearance,
then, the adoption of a particular terminology could enable a parallel to be drawn between
psychoanalysis and the language of the 'hard sciences': at that date, this represented a kind
of passport, a means not only of parrying the blows from medical science but of meeting the
particular demands of the philosophy and epistemology of empiristic stamp that prevailed in
Cambridge and Oxford. But was this really Freud?
For example, from the start it was the term 'ego' that was referred to in England by
Mitchell as early as 1910rather than 'Ich' and its compounds, including the transition from
the form with the article, 'das Ich', to the purely pronominal version, with all that that implied.
Mitchell was in this instance referring to the works of Jones, and in particular to
'Psychoanalysis in psychotherapy' (Mitchell, 1910, p. 673). And then Mitchell himself was
one of the first, if not the first, to recycle the term in a work published by an English journal
under the aegis yet again of the Society for Psychical Research; and as much can be said for
'repression', 'psychoanalysis', 'repressed ideas', 'repressed complex', 'repressed wish',
'conversion' (pp. 6745).
We can note something similar in the case of Brill's translations.85 Eder refers to them in
what may have been the first clinical case to be described and published in England; he
mentions 'Three contributions to the sexual theory' in discussing 'A case
of obsession and hysteria, treated by Freud's psychoanalytical method' (Eder, 1911, p. 782).
The symptoms and problems presented by the patient in this case are described with
allusions to 'free associations', 'unconscious homosexuality', 'repressed wishes' (p. 753) and
'psychical repression' as Eder calls it, quoting the German term alongside the English, as
was often the practice in that period. Also worthy of note is Eder's use of 'gratification',
'transference to a particular phobia' and other expressions (pp. 7834).
So, something was getting under way: and that something was indubitably a
phenomenon whose origins were external, and which involved a precise evaluation of the
cultural situation, and of receptivity to new ideas within institutions and among scholars,
inside Great Britain. Sometimes it is the lesser figures, authors of a simple note or preface,
who succeed in capturing with remarkable precision the essence of an era. The neglected
writer of the preface of Eder's translation of 'On Dreams' (which I shall come back to shortly),
published in 1914, sums up the situation extremely accurately, in a veritable soul searching.

Admittedly, Professor Mackenzie was himself a kind of outsider in that he taught psychiatry at
the remove of the University of Aberdeen. However, let us read what he has to say:
Curiously not in this countrythe country of great psychologists, Locke, Berkeley,
Hume, Hartley, Thomas Reid, Dugald Stewart, Adam Smith, James Mill, John Stuart
Mill, Bain, Spencer, among the dead, and whole schools of distinguished
psychologists among the livingnot in this country, but in America, was the value of
the new material seriously considered (p. ix) In America, it has been entirely
different. Even the names of the men are now familiar in our English magazines
Muenstenberg, Morton Prince, Boris Sidis, Ernest Jones, J. Mark Baldwin, not to
mention William James and Stanley Hall. It looks as if every new idea unearthed in
the Old World is put to the test by someone in the New. Britain remains curiously
cold. It would be interesting to ask the reason. Is it our metaphysical training? Is it the
failure of the philosophical schools to realize the value of all this new raw material of
study? Is it, perhaps, the fear that 'the unity of consciousness' may be endangered by
the study of Double Personality, Multiple Personality, Dissociation of Consciousness,
Dormant Complexes, Hysterias, Phobias, Obsessions,

85 The authoritative journal Brain published a review of Brill's translations of Freud's

'Selected papers on hysteria' claiming, 'The translation is on the whole remarkably good'
(1912/13, p. 324).
- 87 Psychoneuroses, Fixed Ideas, Hysterical Amnesias, Hyperamnesias and the masses
of other notions correlated, roughly, under the term 'unconscious'? Thesuggestion of
fear is not mere conjecture (p. x).
Mackenzie's preface also contains a very acute observation as to the antimechanistic
nature of Freud's dream universe:
Displacement, condensation, dramatizationthese are the short names for these long
and complicated processes. In the course of his expositions, Professor Freud uses these
processes almost as if they were 'demons', and he admits frankly their figurative
character (my italics, p. xxvii).
So what exactly was happening? What we witness is a wholesale importation from
America, both conceptual and linguistic in nature, and evident not only in the use of terms
and expressions, but also in the creation of articles and books, translations and institutions;
these, as we shall see, were literally to generate the recognition of psychoanalysis in Britain
at that period, thus necessarily raising the issue of how the work of translating Freud should
be continued. But to understand the reasons behind this particular phenomenon, I believe
that a review of some of the broader historical issues is essential at this point.
The mechanical juxtaposition of sociohistorical context and cultural factors can run the
risk of seeming overly reductionist and simplistic: the more so when examining
the transmission and establishing of linguistic phenomena, and in the case of something so
new and elusive as the description of the unconscious. But, as we have already seen more
than once, a discerning reference to the cultural conditions prevailing in England during
these years is not entirely inapposite.

We can scarcely escape the fact that the London and the England to which Jones was
now returning had changed in his absence, relatively brief though it had been; and this
includes attitudes towards psychoanalysis.
But do not misunderstand me. If I trot out once more that clich of English cultural
historiography, the London of the Post-Impressionist exhibition, with its public canonization of
the Bloomsbury group, it is not that, like Virginia Woolf, I feel that this exhibition changed the
face of England and of humanity: 'on or about December 1910, the
human character changed' (Hynes, 1968, p. 325) ; and therefore feel that, ipso facto, this
explains the changing fortunes of psychoanalysis in Britain. Far from it: indeed, the cultural
limitations of the Bloomsbury group have justly been pointed out in various quarters recently
(Sanders, 1957; Bell, 1968; Holroyd, 1971; Edel, 1979; Williams, 1980; Partridge, 1981);
what is more, the profound ambivalence of much of the group towards psychoanalysis is
evident, as a mere glance through the letters and diaries of Woolf shows. Bloomsbury and
the Post-Impressionist exhibition, along with the intellectual movements which were springing
up in that bastion of tradition, Cambridge, around 'that archintellectual semi-secret society,
the "Apostles"' (Bell, 1969, p. 69), such as Lytton Strachey and Maynard Keynes, as well as
around the philosopher, G. E. Moore, the young Bertrand Russell, the already famous H. G.
Wells, Bernard Shaw and so on, all of these represent partial reference points, the cultural
buoys on to which we may anchor a much wider, more complex and contradictory
phenomenon: that of the growing pains and the tensions of a society still immured
withinlitist partitions and rife with prejudice, such as was bourgeois Edwardian society at
that time (Hynes, 1968).
The fact remains, however, that during the years from 191011 onwards, despite a
climate of growing hostility towards Austro-Hungary and Germany (which comes across quite
clearly if we look at the Spectator during the period when Strachey worked there as a young
man), 86things were coming to a head for psychoanalysis in Britain. This is certainly at least
in part a function of what I would call mature Edwardianism: an increased opening up
towards Europe characterizing certain aspects of English society, even if within extremely
narrow bounds: which I hope to bring out a little later on.
But if nothing else, the subject of the general

86 I am quoting the Spectator because of James Strachey, but one should and could refer to
all sorts of periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets, books, etc.
87 The information I have elicited from the archives of St Paul's School for the period of
Strachey's attendance shows that he regularly attended Greek, Latin and French classes;
there is no record of his having studied German, although one cannot entirely exclude the
possibility, since at that time the school laid great emphasis on its learning.
- 88 atmosphere of that period, and the Bloomsbury group and certain of its followers, ushers
Strachey on to the scene. For this was the period when he finished at Cambridge University,
where he had been an unenthusiastic classics student (Cambridge did not yet offer the study
of English literature for students like James and his brother: the first professorship in English
was set up in 1911 [Baldick 1983, pp. 801]), but where, after directing a series of
translations from Greek and Latin, and occasionally from Latin into Greek and vice versa,
building on the apprenticeship in the classics he had served at St Paul's public school in
London87 (Bamford, 1967) ; (Olgivie, 1964) ;(Jenkins, 1980), James Strachey had ended

up with an unclassified degree in moral sciences from Trinity College. But his time there was
nothing if not full: he experienced the whole phenomenon of the secret society of the
'Apostles' and their initiations (Sanders, 1953) ; Partridge, 1981; (Sherman, 1983) ; (Meisel
& Kendrick, 1985): members included his brother Lytton, as well as Keynes, and later,
Wittgenstein and many others. He also attended the lectures and seminars of that master of
elegant and precise definitions in moral matters, the influential moral philosopher
Moore (Levy, 1979); and, between the bouts of lethargy for which he was renowned in that
period, he nevertheless even got round to taking up Germanwhich he did not at that date
know (Sherman, 1983, p. 341) on the advice of his brother Lytton. Then, equipped with a
curriculum vitae and an academic record that were thoroughly typical for one of his social
status (Laski, 1939) ; (Holroyd, 1967) ; (Sherman, 1983) ; (Grosskurth, 1980), and falling
prey to that aboulia of his which, as we shall see, was to crop up periodically, he became
personal secretary to his uncle, Loe Strachey, then editor of the Spectator, taking
to writing unsigned articles on the liberal arts (Sanders, 1953).
What, then, of James' milieu during this period, 19091913? As for his work environment,
the prevailing ideology at the Spectator was a rather conservative liberalism; Bergson and
Croce were the names in vogue; and not a week passed without the publication of an article
full of quotations in Greek and Latin, on some aspect of ancient civilization.88 Outside work,
James threw himself into parties and weekend gatherings in the country and in London, in
the salons and at the houses of his brother's friends and the Stephens, or of Virginia Woolf
and her husband (L. Woolf, 1960)89 whom he had known since his Cambridge days if not
earlier. In this setting, and with his insecurity and his desperate groping in all directions after
answers, 90 amid a welter of emotional problems of every kind, Strachey exemplifies the
crisis of a whole generation of 'aristocratic intellectuals'in the precise definition used by
Annan (1951) and Khan (1984)in their struggle to come of age and their painful breaking
withtradition (Laski, 1939).
Strachey's had been a typically eccentric Victorian family background (Asquith,
1971) ; (Edel, 1979) ; (Hassal, 1964) ; (Holroyd, 1967) ; (Russell, 1968) ; (Sanders,
1953) ; (B. Strachey, 1980) ; one only has to think of the very personalities of
James's mother and her interest in French literature, 91 of his father (Sanders, 1953) and of
his brother, about whom too much has perhaps already been written. Emerging from this
background, James now moved in the cultural circles of the Bloomsbury group, with their
aesthetic snobbery and exclusive lifestyle; as Holroyd has remarked (1967), there was also
an admiration for antiquity contributing, in an ambiguous way, towards the definition of that

88 I have done no more than scan five or six years' issues of the Spectator, looking
for material written by Strachey. But the abundance of articles on classical Latin and
Greek culturepublished over this period comes across quite clearly, giving an idea of the
taste for and familiarity with classical languages among that particular readership.
89 It is interesting to note that Woolf went to St Paul's school too and later to Cambridge
more or less in the same period as James Strachey. In Woolf's papers there are several
translations from Latin and essays on Ancient Greek subjects, when he was a student.
90 See, for instance, the letter of Woolf to Cox on Strachey during this period (16 May 1913):
'We meet James (Strachey) floating down the Strand at midnight rather like a
Chinese girlwho was somehow gone astray, poor woman. His cheeks are lovely pink' (Woolf,
1976, p. 27).

91 An examination of the books owned by the Stracheys and catalogued by

James' mother reveals a predominant interest in that household for French rather than
English literature (Strachey Papers, BL).
92 See Virginia Woolf's letter to Bell (23 March 1919): 'The Stracheys have induced him
much against his better judgment to adopt James as a dramatic critic ' Letter to Arnold
Foster (5 February 1919): 'Alix at Gordon Square, she seems still set with the ferocity of a
vulture, it quite alarms me, upon her usual victim James Strachey '
93 See The Diary of Virginia Woolf', 21 November 1918: 'Poor James Strachey was soft as a
moss, lethargic as an earthworm. James lolled at the 17 Club to lecture on 'Onanism',
prepared to earn his living as an exponent of Freud in Harley Street. For one thing, you can
dispense with a degree.'
- 89 model of 'civilized man and manner' which became one of the group's emblems; but it was
antiquity revered with their own particular, exclusive slant: they were, after all, by definition an
litist sect (Williams, 1961). And so, this was the backdrop against which, during this period,
Strachey started to take an interest in the Society for Psychical Research, and that, as we
have already seen, he discovered Freud, and also read Jones' Papers on
Psychoanalysis(Strachey, 1945). His decision to get involved in psychoanalysis was
eventually to come to fruition during the First World War, after leaving the Spectator for
the Atheneum, adopting an ideology that was politically more democratic and pacifist,
deciding to live with his future wife, 92 and considerably widening his knowledge of
Freud (Strachey, 1965, 'Autobiography'). But throughout all these changes, he remained
constant to his circle of friends and their way of living and thinking. Indeed, Strachey's
continuing involvement with this world is recorded in the observations of Woolf, who
mentions, for example, her reactions, half-sardonic, half-amused, to Strachey's first public
manifestations of his interest in psychoanalysis (Woolf, 1918).93
This is a far cry from the first readings and discoveries of Jones and Trotter. For
Strachey's experience of Freud was certainly not filtered through the perspective of the world
of medicine and hospitals, such as the Freud discovered by a petty-bourgeois Welshman, a
provincial figure struggling to make his mark in the great capital at the beginning of the
century. It was Jones himself who later on in his Free Associations(1959) stressed his
different background from 'various friends of the Bloomsbury variety' (p. 36). James
Strachey's reading of Freud derives rather from the atmosphere of the salons, the somewhat
strange conversations (Woolf, 1919)94 in Bloomsbury and Gordon Square; from a world of
art critics and intellectuals such as Fry and Bell, and, of course, Lytton Strachey. In this
world, Freud was adopted into the conversational repertoire of a narrow circle: the 'jeunesse
dore' who, in semi-revolt against their traditions and their families, nevertheless retained
the language and manners that typified the refined upper middle classes at that time. In his
book on Moore, Levy (1979, p. 271) recalls the precious question of the Bloomsbury
gatherings, 'What exactly do you mean?': a question which sums up the whole ethos of
the group's way of thinking. One cannot forget that, even in the case of Strachey's translation
of Freud later on.
Let us leave aside for the moment the ambivalence of the personal and cultural relations
between the young James and Jones, and imagine Strachey's possible reaction to Jones'
definition of Freud as a 'man of science'. After all, in his autobiography he calls his
own father 'a man of science'. Even at that early date, Strachey might well have already seen
Freud as belonging to a kind of family pantheon in the distinguished ranks of those (who also

included Darwin, a family friend of the Stracheys) to whom Galton had devoted his wellknown work, English Men of Science(1874). And among the two hundred families of English
'men of science'endowed, naturally, with superior intelligencewe also find James' family
(Galton, 1874). James' interest in Freud is a sure manifestation, if nothing else, of his
family's customary knack for sensing certain winds of change; it went beyond that aloofness
and even at times apathy that James displayed throughout his life (V. Woolf;95 (Winnicott,
1969) ;(Sherman, 1983) ; Gillespie, 1985; Khan, 1984; King, 1984; Tyson, 1985). This way of
looking at innovation was marked by great intelligence and practicality,

94 In Virginia Woolf's letters and diaries, there are frequent references to the
Bloomsbury group's gatherings, describing the particular atmosphere; including, for example,
James' long silences.
95 The strangeness of Strachey's character is frequently mentioned both in Woolf's diary and
in her letters. See Woolf to Vanessa Bell, 18 June 1919: 'He (James) won't admit he is
in love; in fact, he denies there's such a thing as being in love' (pp. 36970).
96 See The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Friday 24 January 1919 (p. 235): ' But when I think of a
Strachey, I think of someone infinitely cautious, elusive and unadventurous'; then an
extremely astute observation: 'To the common stock of our set they have added phrases,
standards and witticisms, but never any new departure; never an Omega, a PostImpressionist movement' (p. 236).
- 90 but also by a rigorous circumspection.96 In its own way, indeed, this, too, was a question of
relating the unknown to the known, integrating it into an inevitably domestictradition: despite
Strachey's democratic professions later on, for example, to Riviere (Anderson, 1968).
These were also the formative years of certain others who were to pioneer the first
systematic attempts to translate Freud into English in the twenties and thirties. As well as
Rickman (Payne, 1953), whose background was medical and scientific, we should also
mention Riviere (Strachey, 1962; Heimann, 1962; (Brome, 1982) who, as Strachey stated in
his obituary of Riviere (1962, p. 228), came from his same middle class, professional,
cultured late Victorian box. Although she had not strictly speaking had an academic
education, Riviere, too, had links with Cambridge, and with the Society for Psychical
Research at that period; prior to this, as an adolescent, she had spent some time
in Germany studying the language: a fact worth bearing in mind (Strachey, 1962, pp. 228
Indeed, Strachey recalls meeting Riviere in Cambridge at her uncle's, the noted classicist
A. Verral. For all his lethargy, Strachey was lastingly impressed by Verral's uncompromising
rationality and analytical clarity (Strachey, 1962, p. 229); an interesting point, perhaps, in that
it may demonstrate culture helping to create a certain forma mentis. Finally, we should
mention Alix Strachey, his future companion and wife, who collaborated with Strachey on the
work of translating Freud: she often features in Woolf's letters and in Carrington's
diaries (see also Sherman, 1983) ; Khan, 1984; (Meisel & Kendrick, 1985).
Like her husband, and more so than Riviere, who kept to her uncle's circles, Alix was
another who was culturally formed at Cambridge, in the school of Bullough, the philosopher
of aesthetics (A. Strachey to J. Strachey, 2 January 1925, Meisel & Kendrick, 1985, p.
170). Later, in the mid-twenties, when she was in Berlin havinganalysis with Abraham and
improving her German, these years would come back to her, with memories of the

conversations of the Bloomsbury crowd, and the get-togethers at Gordon Squarewhere

she virtually pressganged James into cohabitation, if we are to go by Woolf's account.97
It may not be going too far to say that these two women, Alix Strachey and Joan Riviere,
who played a significant part in the spreading of Freud's ideas in England, were, in these
formative years of theirs, living proof of the validity of claims for an intellectual role for
women (D. Read, 1972) ; there was, after all, something of this in the air, so to speak:
especially in certain circles. Not that we could not apply similar arguments to the role of
women generally in the psychoanalytical movement, both in England and elsewhere; in
England, however also, one might say, developments on this front constituted part of the
ideological platform of English feminism (Read, 1972, p. 212), which had found its voice in
these years, spearheading feminist movements in Europe. Note that I am alluding here
merely to a general context, without inferring specific feminist positions on the part of Alix
Strachey, Riviere and other women pioneers of the thrust to develop psychoanalysis in
England. Indeed, in Riviere's case, it was perhaps rather a question of malgr elle-mme,
however much Freud may have admired her qualities, since, by Strachey's account, she
always remained somewhat of a Victorian in outlook (Strachey, 1962).
This, then, is the background to personalities and events that were to prove crucial to our
theme; and this, too, provides the setting for Jones' return to London. First, though, he had
spent some months in Vienna, in direct contact with Freud. During this time, the two men
would often talk far into the night, thus fostering a relationship of close friendship and
reciprocal esteemnaturally, with its inevitable ups and downs, and
with unconscious resonances whose enduring effect on Jones' life subsequently, including on
his activities as a translator and cultural co-ordinator, can scarcely be dismissed. We

97 Besides what I have already quoted, see Woolf's letter to Bell 29 July 1919, ' She [Alix]
deserves to win. It's piteous to see her ladling out silver to him for dinners and
operas'(Woolf, 1976, p. 380).
- 91 cannot but speculate that in the course of their long personal conversations, Freud and
Jones must also have touched upon psychoanalysis, discussing its theoretical and technical
problems perhaps in German, but most certainly in English. And then, in addition, Jones had
a brief didactic analysis, the first of its kind, with Ferenczi, which would probably have been
conducted in a mixture of German and English. Presumably, both experiences must have
reinforced Jones' convictions as to the use and legitimacy of a particular terminology, since
neither Freud nor Ferenczi, for a number of reasons, gave it any veto. And finally, before
returning to his mother country, Jones had attended the Congress in Monaco in 1913 which
had brought to light the profound rift between Jung and Freud (Brome, 1982).
At a famous Congress held in London in August 1913, Jones had occasion to use this
terminology again, as he defended Freud (in English) against Janet, present solely in order
to attack psychoanalysis. Then, in October of the same year, Jones laid the foundations for
the first embryo of a psychoanalytical society, the LondonSociety of Psycho-Analysis:
his Papers on Psychoanalysis and Brill's translation of Die Traumdeutung had just been
published, thus providing the material and the means to teach and spread psychoanalysis.
Freud's support had been unconditional. In complimenting and reassuring Jones on his
decision to return 'to the older and better mother country' (Freud to Jones, 28 April 1912),

Freud this time as good as gave him an investiture as sole appointed spokesman of
psychoanalysis on English soil.
I have already mentioned the importance of this relationship of narcissistic privilege as
Freud's disciple or favoured son, in understanding various aspects of the story of Freud's
translation into English. And Freud's words (Freud to Jones, 10 August 1913) are, to my
mind, of crucial relevance to what would ensue:
The interest of psychoanalysis and of your person in England is identical, and now I
trust you will 'schmieden das Eisen solange es warm ist' (my italics).
A little later, on 22 August 1913, Freud added:
I am glad you are entering with full sails into English scientific life your work is
enough for a man, but your capacity for doing work is immense
Naturally, it is difficult after an interval of so many years to be certain of the effect these
words had, or whether Freud fully realized the significance of the investiture I mentioned, in
terms of the future of the translation of his work. At that date, in any case, this undertaking
was still officially in the sole hands of Brill; however, Jones was beginning to emerge as
organizer of what, nowadays, we might term a cultural policy, free from that
exclusive dependence on an organization such as the American world of psychiatry and
medicine in general.
If nothing else, the conditions in England certainly favoured an initiative of a more
personal stamp; and Jones' plans were soon to materialize.
Freud, it is true, had felt for Jones a few months earlier (Freud to Jones, 28 April 1912):
I am sorry to think that you will not yet have done your duties of an instructor and
popularizer when you come to England; it is a great sacrifice, I know, but you will
have to wait a long time before finding who did in your stead (sic).
However, the work of teaching and popularizing psychoanalysis back on English soil,
during those months and the years to follow, provided an enormous incentive to Jones. As he
participated in the debates on Freud at the Royal Society of Medicine, and the
numerous other meetings both in London and all over the country (Jones, 1915, ) (1959) ;
(Glover 1946;) (Clark, 1980) ; (Guirard, 1982;) (Brome, 1982), gatherings which Jones
called 'miniature congresses', he came into contact with psychologists and anthropologists,
scholars and laymen, thus extending his audience beyond the then modest membership of
the London Society of Psycho-Analysis. It would be anti-historical to deny that regular
intercourse with such a public gave ample evidence to Jonesand to friends such as Eder,
Mitchell and Flgelthat the same terminology that had been born in America out of the
need to render the first elements of psychoanalysis, could also furnish the means of making
contact with the more extensive world of scholars, albeit with inevitable instances of
- 92 doubt and confusion. But Jones' path was by no means all plain sailing. The openness of the
English cultural world to new ideas was still strictly limited: in London as elsewhere in
England, Jones encountered, just as previously in America and still before that again in
London, the suspicion and hostility of large areas of public and medical opinion. Admittedly,
psychoanalysis had already found a place in the M.D. examinations of the University of
London's psychiatry department (Clark, 1980, p. 353) ; but bear in mind that when Brill's
translation of the 'Interpretation of dreams' came out in London in 1913a bold move, this,
on the part of the English publishing worldthe publishers, Allen & Co Ltd, clearly specified

in the introduction that 'The sale of this book is limited to Members of the Medical, Scholastic,
Legal and Clerical professions'.
We have only to read contemporary views, such as that of Strachey's uncle, Loe
Strachey, editor of the Spectator and one of the bitterest opponents of what he called
'Demoralizing Literature' (L. Strachey, The Spectator, 27 January 1912), to see just how
ambiguous a distinction Strachey's criteria for censure made between pornography and
certain types of scientific literature (Hynes, 1968). Clearly, then, there was an implicit risk in
trying to popularize psychoanalysis in those days, notwithstanding a certain measure of
open-mindedness. A note of reassurance was therefore in order; after all, when Eder
presented his first case of homosexuality treated by psychoanalysis, he found himself by the
end of his lecture addressing an empty hall. And precisely this note of reassurance even
creeps into the above-mentioned introduction by Mackenzie to Eder's translation of Freud's
essay on dreams:
It is, however, less important to discuss (Freud's) theory than to understand his method.
The method is called 'psycho-analysis'. The name is not inviting, and it might apply to
any form of mental analysis; but it is at least consistently Greek in etymology and has
taken on a technical meaning in the medical schools' (my italics).
So Mackenzie, too, with the prevailing pressures, was anxious to dispel the
apprehensions of a particular public, by stressing that psychoanalysis was something
scientific, with a Greek name, and one, moreover, that had been adopted as a technical term
by the medical schools.
The medical schools: as we shall see, these were at the very heart of Jones' aspirations;
but at the same time they also constituted his bugbear.

This is the first of a series of papers of mine which I hope will be published in the Review on
the history of Strachey's translation of Freud. I have tried to reconstruct the early phases of the
translation of Freud's work into English. Starting with the evidence from the documents of the Archives
of the British Psycho-Analytical Society, and the correspondence between Jones and Strachey and
others at the time of Freud's death, I explore what happened during the first decade of our century at
the time of the first discovery and diffusion of psychoanalysis in England and America. I focus
particularly on the papers of Brill and Jones, but also others, at the time when Jones went
to Canada and helped Brill introduce psychoanalysis to North America. I illustrate their relationship and
that with Freud, and the kind of support Freud gave to the first attempts to translate his work into
Translations of technical terms were based on a massive use of ancient Greek and Latin radicals.
Although there is evidence that Freud also relied on the two ancient languages, there is no doubt that
the translation done by Brill and Jones increased very significantly the 'scientificity' of
Freud's language at that time. I have tried to place this in its historical context and to stress the tactical
reasons for adopting these particular linguistic devices. I also emphasize
the conscious and unconscious positive, but also less positive, ideological implications which shaped
those early attempts to translate Freud, which Strachey later on had to be confronted with too.

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