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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). 193 194 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 d
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