The Principle of Entropy and the Death Instinct (Der Entropiesatz und der Todestrieb) : 1931 : Siegfried Bernfeld & Sergei Feitelberg

by Julia Evans on January 1, 1931

Published : International Journal of Psycho-Analysis ; Vol 12 p61-81

Available at  /authors a-z

A. Information about Siegfried Bernfeld and Sergei Feitelberg

is given in the following:

1) Notes on Siegfried Bernfeld given Bemerkungen über Sublimierung (Observations on Sublimation): 1922 : Siegfried Bernfeld  or here

2) Notes on Siegfried Bernfeld & Sergei Feitelberg : Pierre Kaufmann’s Commentary on Siegfried Bernfeld & Sergei Feitelberg’s Death Drive & Entropy : Seminar VII, 27th April 1960, p204-205 : Notes towards Reading Group of 22nd February 2014  or here

3) Further details on Siegfried Bernfeld and Sergei Feitelberg in Notes from Seminar VII Reading group dated 22nd February 2014 (to be posted)

B. Jacques Lacan’s references:

Seminar II : 16th February 1955 : Ch X : p114-115 (See  Seminar II: The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis: 1954-1955: begins 17th November 1954 : Jacques Lacan : Available here)

Seminar VII : 27th April 1960 : p204-205 : See the commentaries given in 1) , 2), & 3) above. (See  Seminar VII: The ethics of psychoanalysis: 1959-1960: Jacques Lacan : Available here)

Pierre Kaufmann, in his commentary to Seminar VII : 27th April 1960 Gives this as one of his Siegfried Bernfeld references.

Pierre Kaufmann’s intervention : Commentary on Siegfried Bernfeld’s & Sergei Feitelberg’s Death Drive & Entropy : Seminar VII, 27th April 1960 : Pierre Kaufmann  : Available here

Further details of Pierre Kaufmann given Notes from Seminar VII : 2nd March 1960 : Interventions by Pierre Kaufmann on Siegfried Bernfeld’s work or here

C. References to Sigmund Freud

10. The Economic Problem of Masochism: 1924 : Sigmund Freud

11. Beyond the Pleasure Principle: 1920g : Sigmund Freud

12. ‘Das Ich und das Es’: ‘The ego and the id’: 1923: Sigmund Freud

13. An Autobiographical Study : 1925d : Sigmund Freud : Available here : published by

14. Probably: Two Encyclopaedia Articles “Psychoanalyse” und “Libidotheorie” : 1923a: Sigmund Freud : The Complete Psychological Work of Sigmund Freud, Vol. 18, London (The Hogarth Press) 1966 : p234

The following information published at Contemporary Freudian Society and available here

1923A 18/234

Two encyclopedia articles (1923).

(A). Psycho-analysis.

The following 29 topics pertaining to psychoanalysis are summarized: history of psychoanalysis; catharsis; the transition to psychoanalysis (from belief in hypnoid states to repression and defense); abandonment of hypnosis; free association; the ‘Fundamental Technical Rule’ (in which the patient is required to put himself in the position of an attentive and dispassionate self-observed, to read off the surface of his consciousness, and to make a duty of complete honesty while not holding back any idea from communication); psychoanalysis as an interpretative art; the interpretation of parapraxes and haphazard acts; the interpretation of dreams; the dynamic theory of dream formation (involving wish fulfillment); symbolism; the etiological significance of sexual life; infantile sexuality; the development of the libido; the process of finding an object, and the Oedipus Complex; the diphasic onset of sexual development; the theory of repression; transference; the cornerstones of psychoanalytic theory; later history of psychoanalysis; more recent advances in psychoanalysis; narcissism; development of technique; psychoanalysis as the therapeutic procedure; comparison between psychoanalysis and hypnotic and suggestive methods; the relation of psychoanalysis to psychiatry; criticisms and misunderstandings of psychoanalysis; the nonmedical applications and correlations of psychoanalysis; and psychoanalysis as an empirical science.

1923A 18/255

Two encyclopedia articles (1923).

(B). The libido theory.

Libido is a term used in the theory of the instincts for describing the dynamic manifestation of sexuality. The first sphere of phenomena to be studied by psychoanalysis comprised what are known as the transference neuroses. It was found that their symptoms came about by sexual instinctual impulses being rejected by the subject’s personality (his ego) and then finding expression by circuitous paths through the unconscious. What is described as the sexual instinct turns out to be of a highly composite nature and is liable to disintegrate once more into its component instincts. Each component instinct is unalterably characterized by its source, that is, by the region or zone of the body from which its excitation is derived. The pathogenic process in schizophrenia (dementia praecox) is the withdrawal of the libido from objects and its introduction into the ego, while the clamorous symptoms of the disease arise from the vain struggles of the libido to find a pathway back to objects. Instincts are characterized as tendencies inherent in living substance towards restoring an earlier state of things. Both classes of instincts, Eros as well as the death of instinct, have been in operation and working against each other from the first origin of life.

15. Civilization and its Discontents: 1929: Sigmund Freud: available here


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Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst, Earl’s Court, London



Further posts

Reading Seminar VII here

Related text  Seminar VII: The ethics of psychoanalysis: 1959-1960: Jacques Lacan : Available here

& Seminar II: The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis: 1954-1955: begins 17th November 1954 : Jacques Lacan : Available here

Translation Working Group here

Of the clinic here

Dreams here

By Siegfried Bernfeld here

By Sergei Feitelberg  here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here