Thalassa: A Theory of Genitality

Author(s) : Sandor Ferenczi

Thalassa: A Theory of Genitality

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : 1989
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 120
  • Category :
    Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 735
  • ISBN 13 : 9780946439614
  • ISBN 10 : 0946439613

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In 1914, Freud wrote in On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement: "Hungary, so near geographically to Austria, and so far from it scientifically, has produced only one collaborator, Sandor Ferenczi, but one that indeed outweighs a whole society".

Sandor Ferenczi, one of Freud's first disciples, established the study of psychoanalysis in Hungary and went on to make contributions of his own to many aspects of the subject, including study of the personality, the psychopathology of neurosis, therapeutic techniques, and psychoanalytic theory.

In Thalassa, Ferenczi expands the symbols of the phallus and vagina into cosmic symbols, not by reference to myths but by his interpretations of embryonic, physiological, psychological facts. He develops the view that the whole of life is determined by a tendency to return to the womb, equating the process of birth with the phylogenetic transition of animal life from water to land, and linking coitus to the idea of "thalassal regression": "the longing for the sea-life from which man emerged to primeval times".

About the Author(s)

Sándor Ferenczi (7 July 1873 – 22 May 1933) was a Hungarian psychoanalyst, a key theorist of the psychoanalytic school and a close associate of Sigmund Freud whod latter wrote that Ferenczi made “all analysts his students"", a fitting tribute to a towering figure of psychoanalysis. In 1910, at Freud’s suggestion, Ferenczi proposed the founding of the International Psychoanalytic Association, and in 1913 founded the Hungarian Psychoanalytic Society. In 1916 he underwent a brief personal analysis with Freud, and in 1918 was elected president of the International Psychoanalytic Society.

Ferenczi’s early contributions to psychoanalysis have been so fully assimilated that their origin is often forgotten, although his later writings, which were more speculative and deviated from Freudian orthodoxy, have been less widely accepted. He is acknowledged to have been a gifted therapist. He proposed a number of innovations in technique including at first these centered on the so-called “active” technique, while his later study of reactions of disappointment and mistrust that the child suffers in his relationship with his parents inspired a few of his pupils, notably Alice Balint (1949), to investigate early parent-child relationships.

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