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Boldly forward, analysts! (early months of 1919)

On January 1, 1919, Freud confesses that Ferenczi’s last letter was “doubly welcome.” “I know you to be in smooth sailing, in a commanding position, surrounded by students and adherents, soon, very soon, let us hope, in possession of your own warm house and a woman unsurpassed in many important respects.” At last, what the father of psychoanalysis had always wished for his young colleague, even before acting as his analyst, was coming true. Now, Ferenczi could work and love in peace, and become the most accomplished and trustworthy analyst in Freud’s circle, and in fact the one who could ensure the transmission of psychoanalysis and the training of analysts. Freud wrote reassuringly: “I know that much work and great inner torment will confront you, but one shouldn’t wish it otherwise.” This clairvoyance incites Ferenczi to consent to his share of torment, and to convert to work energy the residue which resisted analysis. Freud the thinker knows that an analyst must - like any man - accept the part played by destiny, by the inevitable [Ananke]: “Success will then be the way it indeed can be under all the interplay of external forces and inner powers. In any case, very honorable and, let us hope, also happy.” In the next paragraph, Freud revealed his worries about Freund, his analysand who had become the protector of psychoanalysis. Seeing his “strange behavior of being a candidate for death in the morning and healthy in the afternoon,” Freud hesitated between attributing this to neurosis or some organic cause. On January 6 he sent news of Freund, and also asked Ferenczi to be resolute in his role as leader of the new journal Zeitschrift'. “But I would still like you to keep your role as a leader secure and to express it by taking a critical position with regard to really significant publications in literature.” The same day, Ferenczi informed Freud about rapid changes in the political situation, which was becoming less favourable to psychoanalysis: “Everything is pressing toward a showdown between the extreme parties: the Communists on the one hand, the reactionaries on the other.” In this turbulent context, psychoanalysis no longer had true allies. But despite this, a letter from Budapest dated January' 19, 1919, testifies to intense analytic activity among members of the local group: “The Budapest Society is functioning well, beyond expectations.” Yet Ferenczi’s mood fluctuates:

I actually couldn’t say much about the depression which you notice in my letters. I am fully capable of work, and I don’t allow myself to be influenced much by the moderate physical and sleep disturbances. To be sine, I can’t report about any particularly boundless feeling of happiness, either.

On January 24, Freud expressed his concern about Freund’s analysis again: “Toni is naturally much better than at home, but in [a state of] neurotic defiance because I don’t want to accept any more gifts from him. In some areas his primitive savagery has not yet been dismantled.” On February 9, Ferenczi also spoke of Freund, after seeing him: “I found Toni churned up. I have the impression that resistance is giving rise to the deeper, rougher layers of his personality. Perhaps that means recovery for him, but he is useless to us - at least for the time being.” But Ferenczi goes on to say that despite this, his chances of teaching are not altogether lost: “The matter now stands in a not entirely unfavourable light; the new Minister of Education is amicably disposed to the thing, and so is the newly appointed government commissar of the university.” On February 13, Freud reminds him to remain cautious:

As to the chance at the university, it certainly should be considered that all your patrons won’t remain in office long enough for a decision to take place. Marriage and living quarters are certainly more assured, but I would very much wish for you to get the teaching position [title of Professor],

Freud, who doubts that any recognition will come from the political sphere, brings Ferenczi back to more solid ground - that of the analytic research in which they are passionately engaged: “Your paper on technique is pure analytic gold, and can only be completely appreciated by the worker. In a few places I would have felt like adding a continuing or concluding statement.” The compliment probably provoked a certain wariness on Ferenczi’s part. Was Freud telling him that he found this remarkable article - loyal to Freudian concepts, as we said earlier - somehow lacking, needing further development and a conclusion?

Freud was still worried about Anton von Freund: “Toni is, as you yourself have found, wild and in an uproar, subjectively very well, objectively in resistance.” But Freud remained hopefill: “I expect with certainty that the sublimation which has now been removed will be restored on a more secure basis after the treatment.” But, wisely, he could foresee another possibility: “Provided that the real conditions [...] don’t [...] bring about a new illusory erne!”

By counting on self-analytical work to take place for Freund after his analysis, Freud was staying loyal to the conviction that caused him to put a definitive end to Ferenczi’s hopes of pursuing his analysis beyond the third segment.

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