Jan 232013

In his paper on Alfred Lorenzer [1], Tobias Vollstedt uses the expression “scenical comprehension” to translate the German “szenisches Verstehen“. I feel that this translation might lead to misunderstandings, for two reasons:

1) The word “scenical” in English is closely connected with associations of pittoresque landscapes etc. The German association of “putting on stage” is only vaguely addressed by the word “scenical”, the meaning “drawing attention to sth.” not at all. (The same applies to “scenic understanding”, a term which has also been used to translate “szenisches Verstehen“.)

2) The word “comprehension” appears awkward, in that it is hardly ever used in connection with psychoanalytic practise – we do not “comprehend” our patients but we understand them.

As Vollstedt states, Lorenzer’s term “szenisches Verstehen” has a lot in common with Betty Joseph’s “total situation”, although her theoretical interest is strictly restrained to technique while Lorenzer is developing a meta-psychoanalytical framework. Nevertheless a term hinting at this connection could be useful.

Hopefully native speakers will eventually find an appropriate solution to this problem of translation.

Notes    (↑ returns to text)

  1. Tobias Vollstedt: The Work of Alfred LorenzerThe Other Scene, N°1, 2013.

Jan 172013

The Other Scene

We are very happy to announce the first issue of the internet journal The Other Scene.

The aim of The Other Scene is to publish papers on psychoanalysis and on the different applications of psychoanalysis in a variety of intellectual and artistic pursuits such as literature, film and other arts, sociology and political theory, philosophy and pedagogy: anywhere it can be seen as relevant.

Obviously, psychoanalysis started as a therapeutic practice and it still has its foundation in this practice. However, as Freud pointed out already in 1926: “The use of analysis for the treatment of the neuroses is only one of its applications; the future will perhaps show that it is not the most important one .” (“The question of lay analysis.” SE, 20: 179-250.)

Furthermore, psychoanalysis is itself shaped by its proximity to the various arts and sciences. Ultimately The Other Scene also hopes to bring analysis to unfamiliar grounds.