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  • Preface
  • Peter L. Rudnytsky

According to my trusty 1966 edition of Webster's New World Dictionary, the primary meaning of "radical" is "of or from the root or roots; going to the center, foundation, or source of something; fundamental; basic; as, a radical principle"; only secondarily does it mean "favoring fundamental or extreme change; specifically, favoring such change of the social structure; very leftist." Although only the first and last of our essays in this issue could be called radical in the latter sense, all four are radical in that they go "to the center, foundation, or source" of the theory and practice of psychoanalysis.

In "Back to the Roots: The Influence of Ian D. Suttie on British Psychoanalysis," Gabriele Cassullo masterfully contextualizes the achievement of the author of The Origins of Love and Hate, whose 1935 magnum opus is "one of the by no means rare 'secret books' of psychoanalysis," which has through the years been accorded a "cold reception" by the psychoanalytic establishment out of a well-founded concern that "the ideas advocated therein might jeopardize the very roots of Freudian theory." For Cassullo, Suttie remains "the very prototype of the Independent analyst" because he combines "an in-depth knowledge of, and interest in, Freudian theory"—however critically he regarded many of its axioms—"with a 'structure of feeling' firmly grounded at once in British psychology and psychiatry and the Hungarian psychoanalytic tradition shaped by Ferenczi's legacy."

As a founder and co-director of the Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of the Imagination, a public forum of the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, Francis Levy has placed all friends of psychoanalysis in his debt. Although Levy acknowledges that "the practice of psychoanalysis on an everyday level is an aristocratic activity," requiring in its classical form an investment of time and money that is likely to be out of reach for most people, his account of his [End Page 1] own twenty-nine-year odyssey on the couch, amounting by his calculation to nearly five thousand sessions at a total cost of some one million dollars in fees, is nothing if not radical in its unsparing honesty both about the excesses that led him to seek treatment and about the tenacity of his commitment to the quest for "the patient's cure." I regret that it is beyond my power to gratify Levy's fantasy of seeing his essay published in The New Yorker, but I hope he will share my sense of pride and pleasure that it adorns the pages of American Imago.

The longevity of Francis Levy's career as a patient is exceeded by that of Stanley A. Leavy as a psychoanalyst. "What Happened to Psychoanalysis?" is Leavy's distillation of the checkered fate of the psychoanalytic enterprise beginning with Freud, from the vantage point of his own more than six decades as a participant-observer in the field since receiving his training at the New York Institute in the late 1940s. While not minimizing either the internal or the external causes of the decline in the prestige of psychoanalysis in the United States since its heyday, Leavy defines "the art of analysis" as having "a feel for the presence of self-concealment" and "the tact needed to conduct our patients to recognizing it," and he remains committed to its value even—and perhaps especially—in our own overpopulated world in which there are increasingly "fewer resources at hand for the culture of the individual soul within society."

In his memoir, Francis Levy refers to the "many cases eloquently written up in The Psychoanalytic Quarterly." Our final contributor, Henry J. Friedman, focuses on one such case history, by Ilany Kogan, detailing her treatment of the replacement child of a Holocaust survivor, and the responses to Kogan's paper by Charles Brenner, Antonino Ferro, and James Herzog. Through a close reading of these texts, Friedman mounts a trenchant argument against both theoretical pluralism and the critiques of Kogan's work offered from a classical perspective by Brenner and a Bionian perspective by Ferro, both of which Friedman regards as insufficiently attentive to "the experiential world of the patient." Even Kogan herself, Friedman contends, notwithstanding...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1085-7931
Print ISSN
0065-860X
Pages
pp. 1-4
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-13
Open Access
No
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