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The Wolf Man's Magic Word

A Cryptonymy

2005
Authors:

Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok
Translated by Nicholas Rand
Foreword by Jacques Derrida

The Wolf Man's Magic Word

An innovative literary analysis of Freud’s “Wolf Man”

The Wolf Man's Magic Word reopens the examination of the “Wolf Man,” a Russian émigré who was Freud's patient and who wrote his own memoirs. Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok's work is at once the account of the Wolf Man's psychological inventions, a reading of his dreams and symptoms, and a critique of basic Freudian notions.

To this day they call him the Wolf-Man. But did anyone really know why? You will know it. What takes place here—I am talking about an event and a monument—is analogous to an archeological dig. A monumental text is exposed to an interpretation whose daring and effectiveness vie with each other.

Jacques Derrida

The Wolf Man’s Magic Word reopens the examination of the “Wolf Man,” a Russian émigré who was Freud’s patient and who wrote his own memoirs. Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok’s work is at once the account of the Wolf Man’s psychological inventions, a reading of his dreams and symptoms, and a critique of basic Freudian notions.

The Wolf Man's Magic Word

Nicolas Abraham (1919-1975) was a philosopher and psychoanalyst.


Maria Torok (1926–1998) practiced psychoanalysis in Paris.

Nicholas Rand is professor of French at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) was an influential French philosopher and literary critic.

The Wolf Man's Magic Word

To this day they call him the Wolf-Man. But did anyone really know why? You will know it. What takes place here—I am talking about an event and a monument—is analogous to an archeological dig. A monumental text is exposed to an interpretation whose daring and effectiveness vie with each other.

Jacques Derrida

This book succeeds because of its very specific lexical interpretations coupled with a demonstration of how a genuine link between psychoanalysis and literary analysis can be established.

Paul de Man

The Wolf Man's Magic Word

Contents

Foreword: Fors: The Anglish Words of Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok Jacques Derrida
Acknowledgments

Translator's Introduction: Toward a Cryptonymy of Literature

1. A Theory of Readability
2. The Wolf Man and Psychoanalysis in the Mirror of Narratology
3. Cryptonymy: A Design in Fiction or Reality?
4. The Literary Uses of Cryptonymy: The Red and the Black, Author of Stendhal
5. Deconstructing and Decrypting: Jacques Derrida and The Wolf Man s Magic Word

Introduction: Five Years with the Wolf Man

I. The Magic Word: Incorporation, Internal Hysteria, Cryptonymy The "Break"
Chapter 1. The Wolf Man and His Internal World 3
1. Wolf Man, Who Are You? First Hypotheses and Constructions: Who
He Is Not 3
2. The Wolf Man's Old Age: Some Later Effects of Incorporation 5
viii
CONTENTS D ix
3. The Symptom of the Nose and the "Group Dynamics" of the Internal
Characters 7
4. The Dramaturgy of the Unconscious on Ruth Mack Brunswick's
Couch 10
Chapter 2. Behind the Inner World 16
1. An Impromptu Walk through a Verbarium: Cryptonyms and What
They Hide 16
2. Behind the Scenes: Internal Hysteria—Setting up and Working a
Machinery 20
3. The Fourth Act: On Freud's Couch-The Wolf Man as unto
Himself 22
II. The Nightmare of the Wolves:
Contribution to the Analysis of Dreams, Slips, and Phobias
Chapter 3. The Nightmare of the Wolves 29
1. The Request for Truth 29
2. And Language as Truth Guard 30
3. The Interpretation of the Nightmare of the Wolves 33
4. Synopsis of the Nightmare of the Wolves 38
5. From the Nightmare to Phobia 39
III. The Return of the Nightmare: The Crypts Permanence
Chapter 4. In Some of Little Sergei's Dreams and Symptoms 43
1. The Dream of the Lion 43
2. Slip of the Pen: "Filivs-Fils" 43
3. Acting out at V O'Clock 44
4. The Butterfly's V 44
5. Laborer with the Tongue Cut Out, Enema, Pressed Pimple, Espe 45
6. The Sister's VI 46
7. The Word-Thing Tieret, Grusha-Matrona 46
8. The Dreams of the Caterpillar, the Devil with the Snail, and the
Celestial Bodies 47
9. Hallucination of the Little Finger Cut Through 47
10. Sensitivity of the Little "Finger" . . . on the Foot 48
Chapter 5. The Crypt Screen: Reinterpretation of the Symptoms and Dreams
Related by Ruth Mack Brunswick 49
1. Analysis Free of Charge and Gifts of Money 49
2. The Concealment of the Jewels 50
x D CONTENTS
3. Father's Remorse 50
4. A Lying Nose and the Tooth of Truth 50
5. The Misfortunes of a Silent Witness 51
6. The False "False Witness" and the Rank Affair 52
7. Is It You or Is It Not You? 54
Chapter 6. Is a Witness Always False? 55
1. The Dream of the Jewels 55
2. The Dream of the Sleigh 57
3. The Dream of the Gypsy Woman 58
4. The Dream of the Father with the Hooked Nose 58
5. The Dream of the Word Gam 58
6. The Dream of the Celestial Bodies 59
7. The Dream of the Gray Wolves 61
Chapter 7. The Turning Point: A Truthful Witness 65
1. The Dream of the Icons 66
2. The Clarified Wolf Dream 67
3. The Dream of the Skyscraper 70
4. The Dream about Criminal Law 71
5. The Dream of the Young Austrian 72
6. The Double Dream of the Generous Doctor and the Page 72
7. The Dream of the Two Dermatologists 74
8. On the Contradiction Implied in the Fact of "Witnessing" 75
9. Can the Wolf Man Be Analyzed, and How? 75
IV. The Speech of the Word or the Rhymes and the Thing
Chapter 8. The Wolf Man's Cryptonymy 79
1. The Broken Symbol 79
2. The Word and Meaning 80
3. "Where I Was There Should Be It": The Thing 81
4. Twofold Fantasy Life: Symptoms and Dreams 82
5. Rhymes 82
6. The Silent Word 83
Afterword: What Is Occult in Occultism? Between Sigmund Freud and
Sergei Pankeiev Wolf Man Maria Torok 84
Appendix: The Wolf Man's Verbarium 107
Notes 117
Index 127