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Searching for the Lost Cause. Freud’s First Steps– (Towards a Theory of Anxiety)

The Letter, Issue 64, Spring 2017, Pages 39 - 46


SEARCHING FOR THE LOST CAUSE

FREUD’S FIRST STEPS –

(TOWARDS A THEORY OF ANXIETY)

Helen Sheehan


This paper follows Freud’s first tentative steps towards his understanding of the origins of anxiety. It will deal in particular with his work from 1892 until 1895 and will engage briefly with Lacan’s comments on the matter.


Keywords: anxiety; origin; aetiology; neurasthenia; George Beard; anxiety neurosis; transformation; jouissance; affect; soma; psyche; Other


It is important to remember that we cannot separate theory from practice for Freud and to remember that every discovery Freud has made has in one way or another been influenced not only by his theoretical work but by what was happening in his personal life and this is because, it seems to me, for Freud, theory is not something you do – you write about. What you write about are the little threads of significance that go to frame a Life and then we call this theory. In other words, as Lacan insists, the unconscious is that which does not stop not writing itself.


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