Intervention on the presentation of Mr de Certeau: What Freud made of History. Notes on: A seventeenth-century Demonological Neurosis (1922) (Strasbourg) : 12th October 1968 : Jacques Lacan

by Julia Evans on October 12, 1968

Intervention to the Strasbourg Congress, afternoon of 12th October 1968, published in Lettres de L’École Freudienne, 1969, No. 7, page 84

Translated by Russell Grigg

Published as ‘Note on the Father and Universalism’ : in The Lacanian Review, Number 3, Spring 2017, p11

Available at   /lacan

Or published bilingual by  see  here

Reference to Sigmund Freud

A seventeenth-century Demonological Neurosis : 1922 : Sigmund Freud : SE Vol IXX p69 to 108 : Index


Editor’s Note   69

Introduction    72

I           The Story of Christoph Haizmann the Painter          73

II         The Motive for the Pact with the Devil         79

III        The Devil as a Father-Substitute        83

IV        The Two Bonds          93

V         The Further Course of the Neurosis   100

Introduction by Laura Sokolowsky :

p10 of The Lacanian Review : Spring 2017 :

Michel de Certeau, a Jesuit, philosopher and historian of religions, took part in the creation of the École Freudienne de Paris in 1964. He taught at the Department of Psychoanalysis between 1968 and 1971. The presentation to which Lacan refers here comprises two developments. The first concerns history in its twofold character, both as legend, and as an operative process that transforms the relationship between historians and past objects. This reflection leads to a denunciation of the way in which Freudian concepts like the death of the father the Oedipus complex, or transference, are sometimes used to make up for historians’ lack of knowledge.

The second point relates to the1922 study that Freud devoted to the demonic neurosis of the painter Christoph Haitzmann, a 17th century artist who made a pact with the devil. After undergoing an exorcism, he became a priest of the Brothers Hospitallers. Freud interprets this archetypal case of possession without difficulty. Working from a description of the episode that had been preserved in Mariazell’s manuscript in Vienna, Freud shows how an ambivalent relation to the father accounts for the onset and trajectory of this neurosis. The pact with the devil came after the death of Haitzmann’s father; it was a solution to his melancholia. His subsequent entry into the order of the Brothers Hospitallers then allowed him to be a son, one of the faithful.

If Freud’s text is concerned with a series of masks worn by the degraded father, Michel de Certeau ends up asking what happens when there is no longer any father to dedicate oneself to. It is to this question, among others, that Lacan responds here.


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Julia Evans

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