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  • Preface
  • Peter L. Rudnytsky

If, as Rosalind declares in the epilogue to As You Like It, "a good wine needs no bush," it is also true that a good issue does not need an elaborate preface. So let me simply draw the reader's attention to the flow of the papers. Joel Whitebook sets the stage by masterfully contextualizing Freud's famous self-characterization as a "godless Jew" against the backdrop of his father's status as a transitional figure between Jewish traditionalism and European modernity. As Whitebook traces the history of the Freud family back from Sigmund Freud's birthplace of Freiberg (in what is today the Czech Republic) to Jacob Freud's birthplace of Tysmenitz (in present-day Ukraine), so Diane O'Donoghue brilliantly excavates the amalgam of meanings invested in representations of Moses by the Catholic population of Moravia, where Freud spent his first three years, highlighting how Moses was associated with St. Methodius and paying special attention to a sculpture in one of Freiberg's five churches, where the toddler Sigmund may well have been taken by his Czech nanny. For both Whitebook and O'Donoghue the Philippson Bible in which Freud's birth and circumcision were recorded by his father, and which the latter subsequently presented to him on his thirty-fifth birthday, is a linchpin in their respective reconstructions of the prehistory of Freud's lifelong preoccupation with Moses.

Faithful readers will recall our Spring 2003 issue, "Freud's Michelangelo," including Malcolm Macmillan and Peter J. Swales's controversial essay, "Observations from the Refuse-Heap." Now, Moshe Halevi Spero enters the lists with "Moses Lactans," which not only challenges Macmillan and Swales for the distinction of being the longest article published in my tenure as editor of this journal but may well also be the most comprehensive psychoanalytic account ever offered of Freud's "The Moses of Michelangelo." Spero extends Diane O'Donoghue's inquiry into the archaic penumbra that envelops [End Page 135] the image of Moses in Freud's mind to encompass the nexus conjoining Freud's notoriously enigmatic 1914 text, the statue by Michelangelo, and the biblical lawgiver himself.

From Freud's anonymously published "love child" at the midpoint of his psychoanalytic journey, William Kolbrener leads us to his "historical novel" at its close. Kolbrener argues that the rabbinic response to the death of Moses does not sustain Freud's hypothesis in Moses and Monotheism that it reenacts the murder of the primal father, although the rabbis' view constitutes a precursor to psychoanalysis in articulating a "hermeneutics of mourning" that entails a conception of Judaism based not on repetition but on creative remembrance. Finally, the redoubtable Donald Capps initiates a dialogue with Jay Geller's Spring 2009 article, "Of Snips . . . and Puppy Dog Tails: Freud's Sublimation of Judentum," augmenting Geller's thesis concerning the covert ways in which Freud's "idea of sublimation is a reflection of the sublimation of his own Jewish identifications" by expatiating on the fact that J. F. Dieffenbach—the subject of an exemplary anecdote recounted by Heine the source of which was inaccurately cited by Freud—was a nose surgeon.

It gives me great pleasure to be able to welcome Brett Kahr back to our pages after a hiatus of two years, affording this issue a full complement of columnists. Kahr's "Letter from London" adds a grace note to our Freudian melodies by recording four hitherto unknown anecdotes about Freud. In "Apropos the Arts," Ellen Handler Spitz shares a disturbing personal experience that might have been given the title "Of Ducks and Mothers," while Warren S. Poland takes off in the "Clinician's Corner" from an uncanny experience of his own to reflect on the lingering after-effects of even seemingly successfully concluded analyses. Our book section features a thoughtful review essay by my University of Florida colleague, Anastasia Ulanowicz, of Michael G. Levine's The Belated Witness: Literature, Testimony, and the Question of Holocaust Survival—one of the chapters of which originally appeared as an article in our Fall 2002 issue, "Postmemories of the Holocaust," guest edited by Jay Geller—while Kenneth Kidd's review of David James Fisher's Bettelheim: Living and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1085-7931
Print ISSN
0065-860X
Pages
pp. 135-137
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-20
Open Access
No
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