The Cut Vol. I - Carlo Bonomi psicologo Firenze

Go to content

Main menu:

The Cut Vol. I

L'obiettivo di questo libro in due volumi è di modificare la narrazione delle origini e dello svluppo della psicoanalisi, secondo linee, intuizioni, riflessioni, che si trovano anticipate nell'opera di Ferenczi. Molti aspetti della psicoananalisi sono in continua evoluzione, come se fosse un edificio in continua costruzione. Tuttavia, disciplina essenzialmente storica, essa non può fare a meno di rispecchiarsi nella  sua nascita e di definire la propria identità attraverso la sua storia. Per questo è di vitale importanza ritrovare le aspirazioni sepolte che sono all'origine della sua fondazione, i mattoni che formano la base del suo edificio, quelli che Ferenczi chiamava "Bausteine".

Carlo Bonomi
Vol. I Sigmund Freud and Emma Eckstein

PART 1 The medical context
1 The castration of women and girls
2 Between body and psyche: the nerves

PART 2  Withstanding trauma
3 A gynecological scandal
4 The significance of Emma Eckstein’s circumcision to Freud’s Irma dream

PART 3 Topography of a split
5 The savior of children
6 The cornerstone
7 A bisexual monster
8 The crossroad
9 The witch meta-psychology
10 The fatal skin

Carlo Bonomi
Vol. I Sigmund Freud e Emma Eckstein

PARTE 1 Il contesto medico
1 La castrazione delle donne e delle bambine
2 Tra il corpo e la mente: I nervi

PARTE 2 Resistere al trauma
3 Uno scandalo ginecologico
4 Il significato della circoncisione di Emma Eckstein per il sogno di Irma di Freud

PARTE 3 Topografia di una scissione
5  Il salvatore dei bambini
6 La pietra angolare
7 Un mostro bisessuale
8 L’incrocio
9 La strega metapsicologia
10 la pelle del destino

Routledge – 2015 – 276 pages

Order the book at:

Hardback and eBook

The Relational Perspectives Book Series (RPBS)


This book is many books at once. It is a book about the body but also about the soul. It treats the history of medicine as well as the topics of religion and morality. It speaks of facts and fantasies and of women and men. It focuses on the sexual organs and the person of Freud while also examining the role which one of his female patients played in his early theorizing and fathering of psychoanalysis. It is at once a scientific study and a fairy tale. Above all, however, it offers an effort to construct a more integrated narration of the origins of psychoanalysis.

When I first turned to psychoanalysis during the decade of the 1980’s, I was puzzled and surprise by the lack of a credible narration regarding the origin of our discipline. The canonic and hagiographic account of its origins was no longer viewed as reliable, while the revisionist accounts, though more historically faithful and intellectually accurate, only aimed to pinpoint and identify fallacies and contradictions rather than trying to understand their hidden logic.

The pulse for a systematic commitment in the field only came later, when the first volume of the Freud-Ferenczi correspondence was published, in French, in 1992.  Upon reading the opening volume of their exchanges, I was deeply impacted by a dream which Ferenczi had dreamt. His dream was about self-castration and appeared to carry within itself a condensed representation of Ferenczi’s repressed fantasies about Freud’s self-analysis. Ferenczi’s dream in time served as the starting point of my effort to reinterpret the origins of psychoanalysis.

The first edition of The Interpretation of Dreams was for the most part constructed out of Freud’ s dreams and his analysis and associations to them. It featured an enormous act of self-revelation and disclosure by Freud which served as a hypnotic point of unconscious attraction by others towards him. There is a great deal of irony to be had in the fact that orthodox and traditional psychoanalysis should present the analyst as an anonymous and impenetrable blank screen. Clinging to this fiction was perhaps a necessary reactive formation to combat the experience of being overwhelmed by the sheer number of personal facts which Freud offered and presented us through his dreams in his dreambook and other writings as well. In any case, I can recall that I felt overwhelmed when I began to detect in Freud’s dreams fantasies of an endless reverberation of a single catastrophic event which tapped on a real and actual event of castration. This feeling was particularly difficult for me to withstand given that psychoanalysts have traditionally viewed “castration” as something exclusively symbolic. No analyst at that time dared to use the term “castration” to refer to a real actual event. Indeed, I can still recall a passage by André Green in which he argued and warned his readers that, at least in psychoanalysis, the issue of real castration was never what was in question. While I attempted to keep his precept and warning in mind the metaphoric dimension in time began to break down. With it, many of the crucial passages in Freud’s texts began to take on a meaning which was dramatically literal for me.

In 1992 I decided to pay a visit to Professor Gerhard Fichtner, director of the Institute of History of Medicine at the University of Tübingen and a respected authority on Freud, to discuss my hypothesis, namely, that young Freud might have been impacted and unconsciously influenced in his theorizing by the many cases of real and actual castration he must have come across during his early years as a physician. Professor Fichter was at first perplexed when I presented my thesis to him and responded with silence. He soon stood up from his chair, however, and invited me to “follow” him to the institute’s library. Within a short period of time, and to my amazement, I was being presented by him with various medical books and articles, all in German, on the subject of the castration of women and the circumcision of children during the second half of the 19th century. A totally new medical scenario which had been strikingly neglected by historians of psychoanalysis surfaced before me at that point. .... READ MORE

Published with the permission of Routledge

The introduction can be also read in and downloaded from the ACADEMIA website:

… Imagine, I obtained a scene about the circumcision of a girl. The cutting off of a piece of the labium minor (which is even shorter today), sucking up the blood, after which the child was given a piece of the skin to eat ... (Freud to Fliess, 24 January 1897)

... Denk dir, dass ich eine Szene von Mädchenbescheidung bekommen habe. Abschneiden eines Stückes von einem Kleinem Labium (das heute noch kürzer ist), Aufsaugen des Blutes, wonach das Kind das Stückchen Hut zu essen bekommen ...

... Pensa ho avuto il racconto di una scena di circoncisione di una ragazza. Il taglio di un lembo di un labium minor (a tutt’oggi ancora più corto), la suzione del sangue, dopodiché alla bambina viene dato un pezzetto di pelle da mangiare ...

Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.
Back to content | Back to main menu