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  • Preface
  • Peter L. Rudnytsky

Wien, Wien, du allein / Sollst stets die Stadt meines Herzens sein.” Whether or not one can claim a personal connection with the erstwhile seat of the Habsburg empire, as I am able to do since it was my father’s birthplace in 1919, everyone who is drawn to psychoanalysis must to some extent echo the sentiment of the ballad that affirms the Austrian capital to be the perennial city of one’s heart. For this issue of American Imago, which features four articles concerned with Vienna and its psychoanalytic penumbra, I have appropriated the evocative title of Ödön von Horváth’s 1931 romantic melodrama, which itself alludes to the 1868 waltz of Johan Strauss II.

In his “Psychoanalysis as a Cultural Ideal: ‘Form Feeling’ in Freud’s Essay on Gradiva,” Geoffrey Hartman deploys both his prodigious erudition and his consummate skills as a stylist to situate Freud’s “light-footed” exegesis of Jensen’s novella in the widest possible literary and cultural context. Catherine Rising’s “Ulrich Redux: Musil’s Design for His Man Without Qualities” proposes a compelling thesis concerning the projected ending of Musil’s unfinished masterpiece, and in the process teases out the interconnections between political and psychological dimensions of this quintessentially Viennese novel.

These two magisterial essays by scholars are followed by two deeply affecting occasional pieces by distinguished analysts. John S. Kafka’s “Psychoanalysis and Democracy,” originally an invited address in the Austrian Parliament in celebration of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Freud’s birth, combines an account of his personal history as a Jewish refugee from Nazified Austria with searching reflections (extending the concerns of Rising’s essay) on the inherent connections between psychoanalysis and democracy as well as on the differences between what it means to undergo a mere “interruption” as opposed to a traumatic “disruption” in one’s life. Paul H. Ornstein’s “Multiple Narratives of the Origins of Self Psychology: Reminiscences [End Page 503] and Reflections” was likewise originally given at the unveiling of a plaque in honor of Heinz Kohut at the Döblinger Bundesgymnasium in Vienna. One could not ask for a more eloquent or incisive tribute to one of the towering figures in the history of psychoanalysis.

Our two columnists in this issue, Ellen Handler Spitz and Warren S. Poland, have outdone themselves with their latest contributions. Spitz, prompted by an inspired staging of The Velveteen Rabbit, muses on “Reality by Enchantment” as this theme is contrastingly treated in Margery Williams’s children’s classic and in the story of Pinocchio, while Poland contemplates the existential and psychoanalytic ramifications of “Outsiderness.”

We conclude with illuminating takes on three collections that scale the interfaces between psychoanalysis and allied or rival disciplines. Justin Richardson and Robert Michels judiciously assess Psychoanalysis and Architecture, edited by Jerome A. Winer, James William Anderson, and Elizabeth A. Danze; Esther Rashkin offers a true review essay that would itself have been worthy of inclusion in Andrea Sabbadini’s Projected Shadows: Psychoanalytic Reflections on the Representation of Loss in European Cinema; and Nuris Novit-Deutsch synoptically surveys the battle lines staked out in Psychoanalysis and Religion in the 21st Century: Competitors or Collaborators?, edited by David Black. [End Page 504]

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Additional Information

ISSN
1085-7931
Print ISSN
0065-860X
Pages
pp. 503-504
Launched on MUSE
2009-03-11
Open Access
No
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