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My Potential Patients: Origins, Detection, and Transference in - page 51 / 69





51 / 69

Cohen 48


the patient's artificial relationship to the analyst. Contemporary

psychoanalytic literary critics, who since Felman's "Turning the Screw of

Interpretation" have tended to forgo diagnosing and explaining literature in favor of

reading Freud in parallel with texts as a literary theorist (Jackson


have often

likened the transference to a text or the act of reading: to Richard King, "normality

implied [to Freud] a metaphorical repetition; neurosis a literal one," and "thus

normality was a matter of interpretation not imitation" (1203); to Peter Brooks, "we

as readers 'intervene' by the very act of reading, interpreting the text, handling it,

shaping it to our ends, making it accessible to our therapies" (234); and to David

Carroll, the text "is a compromise . . . with the world, a (re) translation of it, a

construction from its traces" (527).

Carroll is alluding to "Constructions in Analysis"


one of the last and

most self-conscious of Freud's papers. Freud begins in a briskly confident tone,

seeming to promise a definitive rebuttal to the common criticism that because the

analyst's constructions are equally affirmed by the patient's acceptance or rejection of

them ("heads I win, tails you lose"

[23: 257]),

the analyst can never be wrong.

Complaining that the distinction between analyst and analysand has become blurred

in analytic theory, he reminds the reader that while it is the patient's task to

remember, it is the analyst's to construct memories, "to


out what has been

forgotten from the traces which it has left behind" (258-59). Constructions, then,

constitute the bridge between the unique work of both parties. Freud acknowledges

that while there is indeed no conclusive way of determining whether a construction is

correct, a mistaken one is usually met with the patient's indifference. Additionally,

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