Freud’s Media: Transference, Metaphor, and Print Culture
In a 1912 technical paper, Sigmund Freud turns to a print metaphor to explicate the clinical phenomenon of transference. The patient’s relationship to the analyst, he writes, is like a reprint made from a stereotype plate. Though the reference is scarcely legible to the contemporary reader, stereotype printing was a well-known innovation of the nineteenth-century print industry that enabled the mass reproduction of texts and images. Tracing Freud’s metaphor back to nineteenth-century print and scientific culture, this paper shows how mass media provided the conceptual scaffolding for early psychoanalysis, in which the distinctions between transference, metaphor, and translation [Übertragung] readily collapse.
About the German Studies Seminar
The Newberry Library German Studies Seminar series provides a forum for scholarship-in-progress in the area of German studies. The seminar is particularly interested in papers that cross disciplinary boundaries and that reconceptualize the materials and conventions of German Studies as a field, including beyond the frames of the German language and nation state. Like all Newberry Scholarly Seminars, meetings are conversational and free and open to faculty, graduate students, and members of the public, who register in advance to request papers.