The Joke and its Relation to the Unconscious: Freud’s Footnote to the Interpretation of Dreams

This article, part of a broader research agenda on the link between psychoanalysis and Witz, presents a study of the reception of The Joke and its Relation to the Unconscious within Freud’s own work. In contrast to the numerous references that can be found in the work of Lacan, the number of references in Freud’s own work to The Joke can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Starting with The Joke and its Relation to the Unconscious itself, a closer look is taken at a letter from Freud to Fliess, at a footnote in The Interpretation of Dreams, and finally at a passage within The Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. A comparison of these different passages shows that The Joke not only was generated from a footnote but even as a book always stayed a kind of elaborated footnote in the margin of Freud’s work. It is argued that the reason for this can be found in Freud’s later insight that critique against psychoanalysis in most cases is a kind of resistance that cannot be broken by means of books but only by analysis itself.

Free association: talk! … and the other side?

In this article the author tries to problematize and to specify the place of free association within the psychoanalytic cure: this (free?) talking is fundamental to the psychoanalytic method. The starting point is the investigation of some problems in clinical practice, where the drive or jouissance appears in the act of speaking (or in the refusal to talk) – beyond the dimension of the signifier. This is the background for an investigation of the works of Freud and Lacan. First we try to specify the origin of the technique in Freuds works. Then we focus on Lacan’s reworking: from ‘saying everything’ to ‘say wathever comes to mind, say stupid things without hesitation’. The advantage of the latter is that it clarifies the connection between talking and the economy of pleasure or jouissance. This provides an opportunity to answer our questions in a new way. The accent shifts to the ethics of psychoanalysis and the psychoanalytic act.

Download full text