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October 13, 2006

Marquita's commentary on Freud

"...All such collections of the strange and wonderful phenomena of hysteria have but slightly advanced our knowledge of a disease which still remains as great a puzzle as ever. What is wanted is precisely an elucidation of the commonest cases and of their most frequent and typical symptoms". Freud p.17

This passage discusses a theme that has been found in a variety of the works we have studied this semester; that is the difficulty in understanding the commonplace. Freud makes the point that people often become too caught up in the cases that seem most extraordinary. They think that because a case is unusual, that automatically means it is most important. This same situation occured in the detective stories of Sherlock Holmes, through the character of Dupin. Dupin often commented that people were unable to solve certain cases because they were convinced that the answer to the mystery would have to be something extraordinary/unusual. Because of this, people oftentimes overlooked the answer to the mystery merely because it seemed too "obvious". Freud connects with this theme because he feels that in studying the case of Dora, a case that on the surface seems commonplace, he might be able to find the answer to the mystery of hysteria.

Posted by burkmar at October 13, 2006 01:12 PM


Good points.

Posted by: bhattach at October 14, 2006 01:37 AM

I agree with your analysis. Freud definitely likes to "complicate" things. For example, he argues that whenever a patient disagrees with his analysis, it is because there exists a repressed contrary thought in his or her unconscious that the conscious does not admit. It also struck me how you mentioned that Frued wanted to "find the answer to the mystery of hysteria." While he was very careful to repeat that he knew that a specific case could not be made into a theory, it is clear that he also wanted to create some generalizations on the topic of hysteria based on his work with Dora.

Posted by: monikade at October 18, 2006 04:58 PM

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