The Joke Envelope: A Neglected Precursor of the Psychic Envelope Concept in Freud's Writing by ProQuest


More Info
									                   The Joke Envelope
     A Neglected Precursor of the Psychic
     Envelope Concept in Freud’s Writing
             MOSHE HALEVI SPERO, PH.D.

    The concepts of the primeval skin ego, psychic envelope, and related
    pre-ego containing and wrapping functions elaborated respectively by
    Esther Bick, Didier Anzieu, and Francis Tustin occupy an important
    position in contemporary psychoanalytic theory and clinical practice.
    The psychic envelope begins as a virtual mental protostructure (“proto”
    because it is not yet based on fully symbolized representations) that
    holds the budding mind together pending further developments. With
    maturity, the enveloping functions adopt symbolized, metaphoric form
    ( for example, the aesthetic use of cloth, the analytic framework), but
    can regress to more concrete and pathological forms. The aforemen-
    tioned authors based their ideas on a cluster of specific allusions to the

  Full Professor and Director, Postgraduate Program of Psychoanalytic Psychother-
apy, Weisfeld School of Social Work, Bar-Ilan University; Senior Clinical Psychologist,
Weinstock Oncology Day Hospital, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, and De-
partment of Psychiatry, Sarah Herzog Memorial Hospital; Scientific Associate, Ameri-
can Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry.
  The current version of this paper was presented at the Fourth Francis Tustin Inter-
national Conference, “From the Black Hole of Nothingness to the Emergence of
Meaning,” May 1–3, 2008, Tel-Aviv, Israel. A previous version of this paper was read
before the Israel Association of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Tel-Aviv, June 2001.
Warm thanks to Professor Gerhard Fichtner, Ph.D., Institute of Ethics and the History
of Medicine, University of Tübingen, for providing me access to the German lan-
guage concordances of the texts and correspondence of Sigmund Freud, and to
Michael Molnar, Director of Research at the Freud Museum, London, for the use of
Freud’s personal library.
  The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child 64, ed. Robert A. King, Samuel Abrams, A. Scott
Dowling, and Paul M. Brinich (Yale University Press, copyright © 2009 by Robert A.
King, Samuel Abrams, A. Scott Dowling, and Paul M. Brinich).

194                            Moshe Halevi Spero
    idea of a psychic covering, barrier, or envelope in Freud’s work. Yet
    they neglected one reference, hidden in Freud’s analysis of the structure
    of jokes and humor: the “joke envelope” — die witzige Einkleidung.
    The present essay explores Freud’s use of the term Einkleidung, in-
    cluding his intriguing idea that a joke requires three people whereas a
To top