Fetishism in Statu Nascendi : July 1929 (Oxford) : Alexander Sandor Lorand

by Julia Evans on July 22, 1929

Read before the International Psycho-Analytical Congress, Oxford, July 1929  

Notes from p302

1  Awarded the Clinical Essay Prize of the Institute of Psycho-Analysis, London, for 1953.

2  I wish to tender grateful acknowledgements to Dr. Clifford Scott, who supervised the first three years of the analysis, and to Mrs. Klein, in whose seminars this case was most fruitfully discussed on several occasions. The later phases of the analysis were carried out independently, as was the writing of this paper.

So Melanie Klein is involved! Ah ha!

Available, at www.Freud2Lacan.com see here   or www.LacanianWorksExchange.net  /authors by date or authors a-z

Cited by Jacques Lacan

– Footnote 13 p4 of  Fetishism: The Symbolic, the Imaginary and the Real : 1956 : Lacan Jacques and Wladimir Granoff or here 

– it may be one of the references I have not traced in Seminar IV : The Object Relation & Freudian Structures 1956-1957 : begins 21st November 1956 : Jacques Lacan See  here & below for more details.


Fenichel O. : ‘Some Infantile Sexual Theories not Hitherto Described’, International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, vV, 1928

References to Sigmund Freud

… based on Freud’s presentation of fetishism, and adds evidence on fetishism in its original, childhood stage. Freud’s paper presented fetishism as a substitute for the mother’s phallus, which the little boy once believed in and does not want to renounce as a protection against his castration anxiety. Fetishism is the final consequence of the retention of this fantasy even after the individual has been convinced of its falsehood, but in childhood there are other consequences of the ‘female penis’ phantasy. In connection with the case of little Harry, I was particularly interested in the footnote to Freud’s paper, in which he refers back to his 1910 paper, ‘A Childhood Memory of Leonardo da Vinci’. Here he had stated that in foot or shoe fetishism, the foot or shoe is a substitute symbol for the female penis, the female being always the mother. 


Fetishism : 1927 : Sigmund Freud, SE XXI  : Published at www.Freud2Lacan.com , download  here  

: SE XXI p152 : When now I announce that the fetish is a substitute for the penis, I shall certainly create disappointment; so I hasten to add that it is not a substitute for any chance penis, but for a particular and quite special penis that had been extremely important in early child- hood but had later been lost. That is to say, it should normally have been given up, but the fetish is precisely designed to preserve it from extinction. To put it more plainly: the fetish is a substitute for the woman’s (the mother’s) penis that the little boy once believed in and-for reasons familiar to us-does not want to give up.  l

What happened, therefore, was that the boy refused to take cognizance of the fact of his having perceived that a woman does not possess a penis. No, that could not be true: for if a woman had been castrated, then his own possession of a penis was in danger; and against that there rose in rebellion the portion of his narcissism which Nature has, as a precaution, attached to that particular organ. In later life a grown man may perhaps experience a similar panic when the cry goes up that Throne and Altar are in danger, and similar illogical con- sequences will ensue.

Footnote 1 : This interpretation was made as early as 1910, in my study on Leonardo da Vinci, without any reasons being given for it. [Standard Ed., 11, 96. Cf. Editor’s Note above, p. 150.]  

The Editor’s note : 1953 : James Strachey : SE XXI p150 : … which he enlarged upon in a footnote added to the Three Essays in its second edition of l910 (ibid., 7, 155). But soon afterwards a new and more important connection must have occurred to him, for this same added footnote contained the first assertion that the fetish stands for the missing penis of the woman, which had figured prominently among the infantile sexual theories to which he had recently devoted a paper (1908c), ibid., 9, 215- 18. This new explanation of the fetish was also mentioned (as Freud remarks on p. 153n. below) in his study on Leonardo (1910c), ibid., 11, 96, published very soon after the Three Essays footnote.

The special question of the origin of foot-fetishism (referred to in the present paper, p. 155 below) attracted Freud’s attention a few years later. On March 11, 1914, he read another paper to the Vienna Psycho-Analytical Society, on ‘A Case of Foot-Fetishism’. This too remains unpublished, ….

 – From Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality : 1905 : Sigmund Freud : p67-68 of Vol 7, pfl :  SE VII p123-245 : See www.Freud2Lacan.com at here  : SE VII p155 GWp65 : Essay I The Sexual Aberrations, (A) Anatomical Extensions, Unsuitable substitutes for the sexual object – fetishism :  SE VII p155 : translated by James Strachey :    

In other cases the replacement of the object by a fetish is determined by a symbolic connection of thought, of which the person concerned is usually not conscious. It is not always possible to trace the course of these connections with certainty (The foot, for instance, is an age-old sexual symbol which occurs even in mythology; [1] no doubt the part played by fur as a fetish owes its origin to an association with the hair of the mons (Freud, complete works 1192) Veneris.) None the less even symbolism such as this is not always unrelated to sexual experiences in childhood. [2] 

[1] [Footnote added 1910:] The shoe or slipper is a corresponding symbol of the female genitals. 

[2] [Footnote added 1910:] Psycho-analysis has cleared up one of the remaining gaps in our understanding of fetishism. It has shown the importance, as regards the choice of a fetish, of a coprophilic pleasure in smelling which has disappeared owing to repression. Both the feet and the hair are objects with a strong smell which have been exalted into fetishes after the olfactory sensation has become unpleasurable and been abandoned. Accordingly, in the perversion that corresponds to foot fetishism, it is only dirty and evil-smelling feet that become sexual objects. Another factor that helps towards explaining the fetishistic preference for the foot is to be found among the sexual theories of children (see below p. 1514, p113 of pfl Vol 7 : SE VII p195 : Essay II Infantile Sexuality, 1905, Section 5 The sexual researches of childhood.): Published at www.Freud2Lacan.com see  here )  :  the foot represents a woman’s penis, the absence of which is deeply felt. [Added 1915:] In a number of cases of foot-fetishism it has been possible to show that the scopophilic instinct, seeking to reach its object (originally the genitals) from underneath, was brought to a halt in its pathway by prohibition and repression. For that reason it became attached to a fetish in the form of a foot or shoe, the female genitals (in accordance with the expectations of childhood/children) being imagined as male ones. (James Strachey adds in 1949 : The importance of the repression of pleasure in smell was mentioned at the end of his analysis of the ‘Rat Man’ (1909d) [ Published bilingual at www.Freud2Lacan.com  See  here ], and discussed at considerable length in two long footnotes to Chapter IV of Civilisation and its Discontents (1930a) [Published bilingual at www.Freud2Lacan.com : See here ]. The topic of fetishism was further considered in Freud’s paper on that subject (1927e) [ Published bilingual at www.Freud2Lacan.com , download here  ; see especially the Editor’s introduction

– Essay II Infantile Sexuality, 1905, Section 5 The sexual researches of childhood. : p. 1514, SE VII p195, p113 of pfl Vol 7 [Published bilingual at www.Freud2Lacan.com see  here]: On the contrary, the existence of two sexes does not to begin with arouse any difficulties or doubts in children. It is self-evident to a male child that a genital like his own is to be attributed to everyone he knows, and he cannot make its absence tally with his picture of these other people.

Castration Complex and Penis Envy

This conviction is energetically maintained by boys, is obstinately defended against the contradictions which defended against the contradictions which soon result from observation, and is only abandoned after severe internal struggles (the castration complex). The substitutes for this penis which they feel is missing in women play a great part in determining the form taken by many perversions. 

[Footnote 2, added in1920:] We are justified in speaking of a castration complex in women as well. Both male and female children form a theory that women no less than men originally had a penis, but that they have lost it by castration. The conviction which is finally reached by males that women have no penis often leads them to an enduringly low opinion of the other sex.

 The assumption that all human beings have the same (male) form of genital is the first of the many remarkable and momentous sexual theories of children. It is of little use to a child that the science of biology justifies his prejudice and has been obliged to recognise the female clitoris as a true substitute for the penis. 


Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of his Childhood : 1910c : Sigmund Freud : translated by Alan Tyson : published SE XI, p57-137 & pfl Vol 14 : Published, bilingual, by www.Freud2Lacan.com see  here 

Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of his Childhood : 1910c : Sigmund Freud

: SE XI p96 : Before the child comes under the dominance of the castration-complex-at a time when he still holds women at full value – he begins to display an intense desire to look, as an erotic instinctual activity. He wants to see other people’s genitals, at first in all probability to compare them with his own. The erotic attraction that comes from his mother soon culminates in a longing for her genital organ, which he takes to be a penis. With the discovery, which is not made till later, that women do not have a penis, this longing often turns into its opposite and gives place to a feeling of disgust which in the years of puberty can become the cause of psychical impotence, misogyny and permanent homosexuality. But the fixation on the object that was once strongly desired, the woman’s penis, leaves indelible traces on the mental life of the child, who has pursued that portion of his infantile sexual researches with particular thoroughness. Fetishistic reverence for a woman’s foot and shoe appears to take the foot merely as a substitutive symbol for the woman’s penis which was once revered and later missed; with- out knowing it, ‘coupeurs de nattes’ [1] play the part of people who carry out an act of castration on the female genital organ. 

People will not reach a proper understanding of the activities of children’s sexuality and will probably take refuge in declaring that what has been said here is incredible, so long as they cling to the attitude taken up by our civilization of depreciating the genitals and the sexual functions. To understand the mental life of children we require analogies from primitive times. Through a long series of generations the genitals have been for us the ‘pudenda’, objects of shame, and even (as a result of further successful sexual repression) of disgust. Footnote [1]  [Perverts who enjoy cutting off females’ hair.]

Probable citations by Jacques Lacan

– Seminar IV : 5th December 1956. See Seminar IV : The Object Relation & Freudian Structures 1956-1957 : begins 21st November 1956 : Jacques Lacan or here  : ECp1 : Likewise you might have noticed that it is still generally quite clear that the number of sexual fetishes is quite limited. Why? Setting aside shoes, which here takes on a very surprising role in this regard….

– Jacques Lacan contributed to the following article: Fetishism: The Symbolic, the Imaginary and the Real : 1956 : Lacan Jacques and Wladimir Granoff : See here  which was published in 1956. Wladimir Granoff  asked a question on fetishism at Conference Report, SIR : Inaugural meeting of SFP, Paris : 8th July 1953 : Jacques Lacan : See here   

– See above for quotation from Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality : 1905 : Sigmund Freud : p67-68 of Vol 7, pfl :  SE VII p155  : James Strachey’s translation : Published at www.Freud2Lacan.com see  here  : From Essay I, The Sexual Aberrations, (A) Anatomical Extensions, Section : Unsuitable substitutes for the sexual aberrations : Sexual Object – Fetishism

– See also Notes to Seminar IV : 9th January 1957 : Seminar IV : The Object Relation & Freudian Structures 1956-1957 : begins 21st November 1956 : Jacques Lacan See  here  : as above 

 & Seminar IV : 16th January 1957 : Para 28 : This is indeed the reason why it is here that we have the shoe; 

Seminar IV : 30th January 1957 – paragraph 6 & 27 : See notes Seminar IV : The Object Relation & Freudian Structures 1956-1957 : begins 21st November 1956 : Jacques Lacan or here 

Para 2 :  Already in two of Freud’s foundational texts addressing the question of fetishism, which are spread out between 1904 and 1927 – he then revisits the question in other texts, but the two most invaluable are: “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality” and the article titled “Fetishism”.  :  “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality” (1905) SEVII, Essay I The Sexual Aberration, ‘Unsuitable Substitutes for the Sexual Object – Fetishism’, SE VII, p.153-155 : Published at www.Freud2Lacan.com see  here   

and “Fetishism” (1927) SEXXI  : Published at www.Freud2Lacan.com , download here  

Para 24 : What causes the establishment of this structure? On this point the Kleinians can assure nothing – in any case they have been uneasy for a while now. For to tell the truth, we cannot lose contact with the idea that, on the one hand, the genesis of fetishism essentially hinges on its relation with the castration complex. On the other hand, it no longer appears certain that pre-Oedipal relations are the decisive and motivating element. This is, moreover, indicated by the very notion of the phallic mother at the centre. : 

Footnote 2 of this paper links Alexander Sàndor Lorand to Melanie Klein : 

I wish to tender grateful acknowledgements to Dr. Clifford Scott, who supervised the first three years of the analysis, and to Mrs. Klein, in whose seminars this case was most fruitfully discussed on several occasions. The later phases of the analysis were carried out independently, as was the writing of this paper.   

I propose that much of Seminar IV : 30th January 1957 is Jacques Lacan deconstructing the Kleinian position on perversion as evidenced by the Granoff paper with Jacques Lacan’s name attached & the Lorand text presented at the Oxford conference July 1929.  He examines Sigmund Freud’s texts in detail. I suspect he was not best pleased for his name to be attached to the Wladimir Granoff text.

Related texts

These were either published in 1929 or given at the same conference in Oxford


Grades of Ego-Differentiation : 27th July 1929 (Oxford) published 1930 : Edward Glover & here

The Significance of Masochism in Mental Life of Women : 27th July 1929 Oxford [1930] : Helene Deutsch or here  

The importance of symbol-formation in the development of the ego : July 1929 (Oxford) : Melanie Klein  or here

The Psychology of Transvestism : 31st July 1929 (Oxford) : Otto Fenichel or   here   

Certain aspects of Sublimation and Delusion: Oxford, 31st July 1929 (published 1930): Ella Sharpe  or here  

Infantile Anxiety-Situations Reflected in a Work of Art and in the Creative Impulse : 1929 : Melanie Klein or here       

Fetishism in Statu Nascendi : July 1929 (Oxford) : Alexander Sandor Lorand or here   

Womanliness as a masquerade : 1929 : Joan Rivière  or here   

The Impatience of Hamlet : 1929 : Ella Sharpe or here 

The Femininity-Complex in Men : 12th November, 1929 [1930] : Felix Boehm or here 


Introduction to Female Sexuality – The early psychoanalytic controversies : 1999 : Russell Grigg, Dominique Hecq & Craig Smith  or here   


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