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  • Preface
  • Peter L. Rudnytsky

"It is precisely this function of reassurance that the Vienna Freud Museum cannot fulfill."

—Lydia Marinelli, "'Body Missing' at Berggasse 19"

If, as Hamlet observes of his counterplot against Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern, "O, 'tis most sweet / When in one line two crafts directly meet," Shakespeare's tragedy shows that the commingling of "mighty opposites" can also have all the bitterness of a poisoned chalice. And so it is with this issue of American Imago, which owes its existence to the inspiration and tireless efforts of Professor Diane O'Donoghue.

For, in response to the devastating news of the suicide of Lydia Marinelli, Research Director at the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna, on September 8, 2008, at the age of forty-three, Diane came forward with the suggestion that we do an issue of American Imago dedicated to Lydia's memory, with contributions by four former Fulbright/Freud Society Scholars of Psychoanalysis, who would have known and worked alongside Lydia during their tenure of their grants in Vienna. It is, accordingly, the Freud Museum that is the point of intersection here, and the conjoined destinies are those of our authors, each of whom was fortunate enough to spend four months under Fulbright auspices in Vienna, and the immensely productive yet tragically foreshortened life of Lydia Marinelli.

The reader should immediately be made aware that an eloquent obituary of Lydia, by her scholarly collaborator and indefatigable champion, Andreas Mayer (2009), has already appeared in Psychoanalysis and History, edited by John Forrester, along with a beautiful posthumous paper of Lydia's, "Fort, da: The Cap in the Museum" (2009). In addition to my debt to Diane O'Donoghue for being the "only begetter" (in the phrase of the publisher's dedication to Shakespeare's sonnets) of this issue, I wish to express my thanks to Andreas Mayer for making available not only his own masterful synthesis of Lydia's multifaceted [End Page 129] achievements in the field of psychoanalytic material culture but also two poignant final papers of hers, which here see the light of day for the first time, in superlative English translations by Joy Titheridge.

We begin, accordingly, with "Shadow of a Couch," in which Mayer takes off from an encounter between Lydia Marinelli and Edmund Engelman in 1995 to detail how, in only a decade, Marinelli laid down the markers for "a history of the epistemic vehicles of psychoanalysis," a challenge made all the more formidable by the "evanescent and recalcitrant" nature of the analytic enterprise. As Mayer outlines, Marinelli's writings, indebted above all to the later work of Michel de Certeau, focused, first and foremost, on the history of psychoanalytic publishing, culminating in their coauthored book, Dreaming by the Book: Freud's Interpretation of Dreams and the History of the Psychoanalytic Movement (Marinelli and Mayer 2002), as well as on the nexus between psychoanalysis, dreams, and film. Shortly before my own stint in Vienna, I had the honor of publishing in these pages Marinelli's groundbreaking article (2004) on Philip Lehrman's then almost completely forgotten amateur movie shot during his analysis with Freud in the 1920s.

But, as Mayer goes on to detail, alongside Marinelli's publications must be set the "most visible area" of her work, namely, the series of stunningly original exhibitions she curated at that paradigmatic lieu de mémoire, Berggasse 19. She spread her wings with shows on the International Psychoanalytic Press in 1995 and on the Lehrman film in 1999, and soared in "'My Old . . . and Dirty Gods': From Sigmund Freud's Collection" (1998), "Freud's Vanished Neighbors" (2003), and "The Couch: On Thinking while Reclining" (2006), in all three of which Marinelli managed to "unseat the subject" and "achieve an effect of estrangement" that is authentically psychoanalytic not least because of her ironic refusal to countenance any of the "endlessly repeated clichés" surrounding the person of Freud himself.

In her conversation with Engelman, who took the classic photographs of Freud's apartment shortly before Freud and his family escaped into exile in 1938, Marinelli was struck by Engelman's memory of, in Mayer's words, a "dark spot on the parquet floor where the famous psychoanalytic...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1085-7931
Print ISSN
0065-860X
Pages
pp. 129-135
Launched on MUSE
2009-08-07
Open Access
No
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