Compromise Formations: Current Directions in Psychoanalytic Criticism

By Vera J. Camden | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Redefining the Revenant:
Guilt and Sibling Loss in
Guntrip and Freud

Peter L. Rudnytsky

Harry Guntrip's (1975) record of his analytic experiences with W. R. D. Fairbairn and D. W. Winnicott is at once a moving autobiographical document and an important theoretical discussion of the nature of therapeutic action in psychoanalysis. Central to Guntrip's paper, and his motivation for seeking analysis in the first place, is "a total amnesia for a severe trauma at the age of three and a half years, over the death of a younger brother," Percy (447). Recognizing that it was this trauma which led him to become a psychotherapist, Guntrip convincingly argues that "it seems that our theory must be rooted in our psychopathology," and instances as proof of this interplay between personal suffering and scientific insight "Freud's courageous self-analysis at a time when all was obscure" (467). Although Guntrip's was not literally a self-analysis—he had over one thousand sessions with Fairbairn in the 1950s and over 150 with Winnicott in the 1960s—part of his purpose is to investigate the continuing effects of an analysis after termination in order to assess its therapeutic efficacy. Emulating Freud's courage, Guntrip distills the lessons of his encounters with two masters in a luminous piece of self-analysis.

In addition to the self-analytic component of his essay, Guntrip resembles Freud in the biographical accident of sibling loss. As is well known, Freud was profoundly affected by the death in infancy of his younger brother Julius, at a time when he himself was just under two years of age. Although mentioned in the memory-laden letter to Fliess of 3 October 1897, and later recalled in a 1912 letter to Ferenczi, the death of

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Compromise Formations: Current Directions in Psychoanalytic Criticism


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 252

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?