A reading (and writing) of Sharon Kivland’s publication ‘Freud on Holiday, Volume IV, A Cavernous Defile, Part 1’, carried out in my analyst’s waiting room.* – NB. this post also appears on my PhD blog.

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Monday, 7.40 am… Foreword

I am tired, and do not feel like reading. There is also the sense that every word is a minefield, which course, here being here, it is.

I am very pleased with page markers I have found. Just the right shade of berry stain. Not too bright… I must begin.

At the title page, I ponder the word defile, as I know it only in the sense of to sully or debase, but on turning the page there is the quote that reveals its meaning here to be crevasse:

‘When, after passing through a narrow defile, we suddenly emerge upon a piece of high ground, where the path divides and the finest prospects open up on every side, we may pause for a moment and consider in which direction we shall first turn our steps’.†

SK is quoting from Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, and I am sitting here waiting to see another Dr F (no, really, that is his initial) for whom I hardly ever remember a dream, and imagine him to think me a very dull sort of analysand.

Forbes Morlock’s foreword makes the link between the crevasse and my original thoughts of defilement by pointing to the used and soiled in that the book is about following, and that all the paths have been walked before. I am taken by his phrase that ‘the words we speak are dirty – they have been in other’s mouths before’… but to be honest I am skipping, glancing up at the clock. I underline the words ‘It thinks through relations between fathers and daughters (Antigone, Anna Freud, Lucia Joyce), as it works through it’s authors relation to her own father’, and scrawl in the margin ‘perhaps I do not want to forget Joanna after all’. And suddenly the waiting room is far too full of objects, and I ask myself WHAT WAS I THINKING, to think this a good idea.

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* Sharon Kivland, Freud on Holiday. Volume IV, A Cavernous Defile, Part I, Athens: Cube Art Editions, 2013

† Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, (1900), ed. and tr. by James Strachey et al., The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Vol. IV, London: Vintage, 2001 [London: Hogarth, 1953] p. 122

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