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Freud and the Scene of Trauma$
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John Fletcher

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823254590

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823254590.001.0001

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Memory and the Key of Fantasy

Memory and the Key of Fantasy

(p.88) Four Memory and the Key of Fantasy
Freud and the Scene of Trauma

John Fletcher

Fordham University Press

Chapter four traces the development of a concept of fantasy, not as an alternative to the seduction theory but as a key element internal to the theory in its later unpublished version in the letters to Fliess, and especially Drafts L, M, and N. Fantasy is understood as a façade erected before traumatic memories with the defensive function of managing them and their outcomes. Fantasy emerges out of a decomposition and reworking of the traumatic materials of memory and gives rise in its own right to a range of impulses and symptoms. The chapter considers the famous ‘letter of repudiation’ of the seduction theory (September 21st, 1897) and Freud’s return to it and continuing oscillation between a retrospective dimension in which later experiences are back-projected into childhood and a progressive dimension in which power of early childhood scenes is affirmed. This includes a discussion of moments in Freud’s self-analysis pointing to his own seduction by a “prime originator”, his nurse, who functions as a displacement of a particular early memory of his mother. It concludes with the “Screen Memories” essay (1899) where the proposed distinction between progressive and retrogressive screen memories continues Freud’s oscillation over trauma and the logic of afterwardsness.

Keywords:   afterwardsness, childhood memory, the dream, fantasy, the father, paternal etiology, prime originator, the prehistoric, screen memory, progressive, retrogressive

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