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My Potential Patients: Origins, Detection, and Transference in - page 13 / 69





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Cohen 10

material available to him that could have contributed to the imagining of regressive

fantasies are limited, and infantile factors must thus be held accountable. That is, if

such a "primal scene" has been properly constructed, if "it is indispensable to a

comprehensive solution of all the conundrums that are set us by the symptoms of the

infantile disorder" and "all the consequences radiate out from it, just as all the

threads of the analysis have led up to it," then "it is impossible that it can be anything

else than the reproduction of a reality experienced by the child" (198-99, emphasis


Having worked to make his position and that of his opponents wholly

incompatible on the level of theory, Freud lays down his gauntlet, declaring that "it

must therefore be left at this (I can see no other possibility): either the analysis based

on the neurosis in his childhood is all a piece of nonsense from start to finish, or

everything took place just as I have described it above" (199). The conditions of the

debate established, Freud goes on to weave for the reader the etiological web he

claims to have discovered during the analysis, always returning to and moving out

from the primal scene forming the core of the structure. This demonstration is most

overtly architectural in the seventh chapter, "Anal Erotism and the Castration

Complex," where Freud abandons narrative entirely in favor of the depiction of a

structural network or map (Brooks


a kit of "fragmentary portions, which the

reader can then put together into a living whole" (Freud 214). Yet while this analysis

is "crucial for the case history," as David Carroll notes, "it does not put into question

the center (origin) which has just been determined, but on the contrary is organized

around it and affirms its place" (522).

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