AMERICAN NERVOUSNESS: ITS CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES (A supplement to “Nervous exhaustion: Neurasthenia”) – George Beard, 1881.

-Um glamouroso retrato da decadência ocidental, embora ingenuamente otimista quanto a ele e de um ultimado chauvinismo ianque!-

Nervousness is strictly deficiency or lack of nerve-force. This condition, together with all the symptoms of diseases that are evolved from it, has developed mainly within the 19th century, and is especially frequent and severe in the Northern and Eastern portions of the United States. Nervousness, in the sense here used, is to be distinguished rigidly and systematically from simple excess of emotion and from organic disease.”

The sign and type of functional nervous diseases that are evolved out of this general nerve sensitiveness is neurasthenia (nervous exhaustion), which is in close and constant relation with such functional nerve maladies as certain physical forms of hysteria, hay-fever [rinite alérgica], sick-headache, inebriety, and some phases of insanity; is, indeed, a branch whence at early or later stages of growth these diseases may take their origin.”

The greater prevalence of nervousness in America is a complex resultant of a number of influences, the chief of which are dryness of the air, extremes of heat and cold, civil and religious liberty, and the great mental activity made necessary and possible in a new and productive country under such climatic conditions.

A new crop of diseases has sprung up in America, of which Great Britain until lately knew nothing, or but little. A class of functional diseases of the nervous system, now beginning to be known everywhere in civilization, seem to have first taken root under an American sky, whence their seed is being distributed.

All this is modern, and originally American; and no age, no country, and no form of civilization, not Greece, nor Rome, nor Spain, nor the Netherlands, in the days of their glory, possessed such maladies.” Not in their glories, that is.

to solve it in all its interlacings, to unfold its marvellous phenomena and trace them back to their sources and forward to their future developments, is to solve the problem of sociology itself.” [!!!]

Among the signs of American nervousness specially worthy of attention are the following: The nervous diathesis [degenerescência genética, i.e., uma suposta maior vulnerabilidade a doenças dos nervos decorrente da debilidade dos progenitores]; susceptibility to stimulants and narcotics and various drugs, and consequent necessity of temperance¹ [e ainda chama essa abordagem de sociológica sem levar em conta o fator cultural?]; increase of the nervous diseases inebriety [alcoolismo ou uma ligeira variação deste – suscetibilidade exagerada –, que o autor diferenciará no segundo capítulo] and neurasthenia (nervous exhaustion), hay-fever, neuralgia [dor crônica nas terminações nervosas], nervous dyspepsia [indigestão], asthenopia [fadiga ocular e dores de cabeça derivadas] and allied diseases and symptoms [bem específico…]; early and rapid decay of teeth [já fez seu Amil Dental?]; premature baldness; sensitiveness to cold and heat; increase of diseases not exclusively nervous, as diabetes and certain forms of Bright’s disease of the kidneys and chronic catarrhs; unprecedented beauty of American women; frequency of trance and muscle-reading [a tênue linha entre a paranormalidade e simples efeitos de indução eletromagnética]; the strain of dentition, puberty, and change of life; American oratory, humor [haha!], speech, and language; change in type of disease during the past half-century, and the greater intensity of animal life on this continent. [???]

¹ Ah, obviamente Sêneca e Epicuro concordariam contigo!

longevity has increased, and in all ages brain-workers have, on the average, been long-lived, the very greatest geniuses being the longest-lived of all.” “the law of the relation of age to work, by which it is shown that original brain-work is done mostly in youth and early and middle life, the latter decades being reserved for work requiring simply experience and routine.” Pequena confusão entre decaimento fisiológico e e incorporação da experiência como forma de reduzir o esforço mental!

Poetas românticos não usavam a cabeça? Pois sua efemeridade é mais-que-popular…

in all our cyclopedias of medicine, the terms hysteria, somnambulism, ecstasy, catalepsy, mimicry of disease, spinal congestion, incipient ataxy, epilepsy, spasms and congestions, anemias and hyperemias, alcoholism, spinal irritation, spinal exhaustion, cerebral paresis, cerebral exhaustion and irritation, nervousness and imagination [!] are thrown together recklessly, confusedly, hopelessly as in a witches cauldron; and in all, and through all, one shall look vainly—save here and there, for an intelligent and differential description of neurasthenia, the most frequent, the most important, the most interesting nervous disease of our time, or of any time

still our medical graduates, after years spent in listening to lectures, must wait for their diploma before they are even ready to begin the study of this side of the nervous system. Meantime the literature of ataxia [desarranjo da coordenação motora], which is but an atom compared with the world of functional nervous diseases, has risen and is yet rising with infinite repetitions and revolutions to volumes and volumes.”

So far as I know, there has been no hostile criticism of this philosophy in Germany, but in England, even now, these views are not unanimously sustained.” Nazistas retesados.


Trance, with its numerous, interesting and intricate phenomena, a condition that has been known in all ages, and among almost all people, is not nervousness, albeit nervous people are sometimes subject to it. See my work on Trance [não muito interessado, mas obrigado assim mesmo!], in which this distinction between physiology and psychology is discussed more fully and variously illustrated.” “This interesting survival of the Middle Ages that we have right here with us today, is the most forcible single illustration that I know of, of the distinction between unbalanced mental organization and nervousness. These Jumpers are precious curiosities, relics or antiques that the 14th century has, as it were, dropped right into the middle of the 19th. The phenomena of the Jumpers are as interesting, scientifically, as any phenomena can be, but they aren’t contributions to American nervousness.

Brainlessness (excess of emotion over intellect) is, indeed, to nervousness, what idiocy is to insanity”

Nervousness is not passionateness. A person who easily gets excited or angry, is often called nervous. One of the signs, and in some cases, one of the first signs of real nervousness, is mental irritability, a disposition to become fretted over trifles; but in a majority of instances, passionate persons are healthy—their exhibitions of anger are the expression of normal emotions, and not in any sense evidences of disease, although they may be made worse by disease, either functional or organic. Nervousness is nervelessness—a lack of nerve-force.” “In medical science we are forced to retain terminology that is in the last degree unscientific, for the same reason that we retain our orthography, which in the English language is, as all know, very bad indeed.” <Febre da grama> realmente não é muito literal!

fear of lightning, or fear of responsibility, of open places or of closed places, fear of society, fear of being alone, fear of fears, fear of contamination, fear of everything, deficient mental control, lack of decision in trifling matters, hopelessness, deficient thirst and capacity for assimilating fluids, abnormalities of the secretions, salivation, tenderness of the spine, and of the whole body, sensitiveness to cold or hot water, sensitiveness to changes in the weather, coccyodynia, pains in the back, heaviness of the loins and limbs, shooting pains simulating those of ataxia, cold hands and feet, pain in the feet, localized peripheral numbness and hypersesthesia, tremulous and variable pulse and palpitation of the heart, special idiosyncrasies in regard to food, medicines, and external irritants, local spasms of muscles, difficulty of swallowing, convulsive movements, especially on going to sleep, cramps [cãibras ou cólicas], a feeling of profound exhaustion unaccompanied by positive pain, coming and going, ticklishness [hiperdelicadeza ou sensibilidade; em sentido mais estrito, facilidade para sentir comichão ou cócegas], vague pains and flying neuralgias, general or local itching, general and local chills and flashes of heat [calafrios e ondas de calor esporádicos], attacks of temporary paralysis, pain in the perineum, involuntary emissions, partial or complete impotence, irritability of the prostatic urethra, certain functional diseases of women [vague!], excessive gaping and yawning [bocejar exagerado], rapid decay and irregularities of the teeth, oxalates, urates, phosphates and spermatozoa in the urine, vertigo or dizziness, explosions in the brain at the back of the neck [?!], dribbling and incontinence of urine [incontinência urinária e seu reverso, alternados], frequent urination, choreic movements of different parts of the body, trembling of the muscles or portions of the muscles in different parts of the body, exhaustion after defecation and urination, dryness of the hair, falling away of the hair and beard, slow reaction of the skin, etc. Dr. Neisser, of Breslau, while translating my work on Nervous Exhaustion into German, wrote me that the list of symptoms was not exhaustive. This criticism is at once accepted, and was long ago anticipated. An absolutely exhaustive catalogue of the manifestations of the nervously exhausted state cannot be prepared, since every case differs somewhat from every other case.”

There are millionnaires of nerve-force—those who never know what it is to be tired out, or feel that their energies are expended, who can write, preach, or work with their hands many hours, without ever becoming fatigued, who do not know by personal experience what the term <exhaustion> means; and there are those—and their numbers are increasing daily—who, without being absolutely sick, without being, perhaps for a lifetime, ever confined to the bed a day with acute disorder, are yet very poor in nerve-force; their inheritance is small, and they have been able to increase it but slightly, if at all; and if from overtoil, or sorrow, or injury, they overdraw their little surplus, they may find that it will require months or perhaps years to make up the deficiency, if, indeed they ever accomplish the task. The man with a small income is really rich, as long as there is no overdraft on the account; so the nervous man may be really well and in fair working order as long as he does not draw on his limited store of nerve-force. But a slight mental disturbance, unwonted toil or exposure, anything out of and beyond his usual routine, even a sleepless night, may sweep away that narrow margin, and leave him in nervous bankruptcy, from which he finds it as hard to rise as from financial bankruptcy.”

Hence we see that neurasthenics who can pursue without any special difficulty the callings of their lives, even those callings requiring great and prolonged activity, amid perhaps very considerable excitement, as that of statesmanship, politics, business, commercial life, or in overworked professions, are prostrated at once when they are called upon to do something outside of their line, where their force must travel by paths that have never been opened and in which the obstructions are numerous and can only be overcome by greater energy than they can supply.” The purpose of treatment in cases of nervous exhaustion is of a two-fold character— to widen the margin of nerve-force, and to teach the patient how to keep from slipping over the edge.”

Our title is justified by this, that if once we understand the causes and consequences of American nervousness, the problems connected with the nervousness of other lands speedily solve themselves.” The philosophy of Germany has penetrated to all civilized nations; in all directions we are becoming Germanized. Similarly, the nervousness of America is extending over Europe, which, in certain countries, at least, is becoming rapidly Americanized. Just as it is impossible to treat of German thought without intelligent reference to the thought of other nationalities, ancient or modern, so is it impossible to solve the problem of American nervousness without taking into our estimate the nervousness of other lands and ages. [Acaba de contradizer o grifado em verde!]”


Indeed, nervousness, in its extreme manifestations, seems to save one from these organic incurable diseases of the brain and of the cord; with some exceptions here and there, the neurasthenic does not go into or die of nervous disease.” They may become insane—some of them do; they may become bed-confined invalids; they may be forced, as they often are, to resign their occupations, but they do not, as rule, develop the structural maladies to which here refer.” nervousness is a physical not a mental state, and its phenomena do not come from emotional excess or excitability or from organic disease but from nervous debility and irritability.”


No one dies of spinal irritation; no one dies of cerebral irritation; no one dies of hay-fever; rarely one dies of hysteria; no one dies of general neuralgia; no one dies of sick-headache; no one dies of nervous dyspepsia; quite rarely does one die of nervous exhaustion; and even when these conditions are the cause of death they are not noted as such in the tables of mortality” Nervousness of constitution is, indeed, an aid to longevity, and in various ways; it compels caution, makes imperative the avoidance of evil habits, and early warns us of the approach of peril.” Wickedness was solemnly assigned as the cause of the increase of nervous diseases, as though wickedness were a modern discovery.” nervous diathesis—an evolution of the nervous temperament.” “It includes those temperaments, commonly designated as nervous, in whom there exists a predisposition to neuralgia, dyspepsia, chorea, sick-headache, functional paralysis, hysteria, hypochondriasis, insanity, or other of the many symptoms of disease of the central or peripheral nervous system.”

A fine organization. The fine organization is distinguished from the coarse by fine, soft hair, delicate skin, nicely chiselled features [bem-cinzelada ou esculpida – somos belos!], small bones, tapering extremities [membros pontiagudos, i.e., que se afunilam nas mãos e nos pés, na canela e no antebraço!], and frequently by a muscular system comparatively small and feeble. It is frequently associated with superior intellect, and with a strong and active emotional nature.” “It is the organization of the civilized, refined, and educated, rather than of the barbarous and low-born and untrained”

The nervous diathesis appears, within certain limits, to protect the system against attacks of fever and inflammation.” Isso explicaria porque só tive febre uma vez desde a idade adulta.

The tuberculous diathesis frequently accompanies a fine organization; but fine organizations only in a certain proportion of cases have a tuberculous diathesis. The nervous diathesis is frequently not only not susceptible to tuberculosis, but apparently much less so than the average, and sometimes, indeed, seems to be antagonistic to it, for there are many nervous patients in whom no amount of exposure or hardship or imprudence seems to be able to develop phthisis [tísica]” Devo acrescentar alguma imunidade ao câncer?

Among Americans of the higher orders, those who live in-doors, drinking is becoming a lost art; among these classes drinking customs are now historic, must be searched for, read or talked about, like extinct or dying-away species.” There is, perhaps, no single fact in sociology more instructive and far reaching than this, and this is but a fraction of the general and sweeping fact that the heightened sensitiveness of Americans forces them to abstain entirely, or to use in incredible and amusing moderation, not only the stronger alcoholic liquors, whether pure or impure, but also the milder wines, ales, and beers, and even tea and coffee.”

I replied that there were very few nervous patients who were not injured by it, and very few who would not find it out without the aid of any physician. Our fathers could smoke, our mothers could smoke, but their children must oft-times be cautious; and chewing is very rapidly going out of custom, and will soon, like snuff-taking, become a historic curiosity; while cigars give way to cigarettes. From the cradle to the grave the Chinese empire smokes, and when a sick man in China has grown so weak that he no longer asks for his pipe, they give up hope, and expect him to die. Savage tribes without number drink most of the time when not sleeping or fighting, and without suffering alcoholism, or without ever becoming inebriates [!]” But 50 years ago opium produced sleep; now the same dose keeps us awake, like coffee or tea—susceptibility to this drug has been revolutionized.” Thus the united forces of climate and civilization are pressing us back from one stimulant to another, until, like babes, we find no safe retreat save in chocolate and milk and water.”

Reprove an Angola negro for being drunk and he will reply, <My mother is dead,> as though that were excuse enough. Even as recently as the beginning of the present century, the custom of drinking at funerals yet survived with our fathers. At the present time both culture and conscience are opposed to such habits.”

It is through the alcohol, and not the adulterations, that excessive drinking injures.” This functional malady of the nervous system which we call inebriety, as distinguished from the vice or habit of drunkenness, may be said to have been born in America, has here developed sooner and far more rapidly than elsewhere, and here also has received earlier and more successful attention from men of science.” For those individuals who inherit a tendency to inebriety, the only safe course is absolute abstinence, especially in early life; and in certain cases treatment of the nervous system, on the exhaustion of which the inebriety depends.”

AQUILO QUE NENHUMA REVISTA DE NUTRIÇÃO DIRÁ: “we so often find not only epileptics, but neurasthenics and nervous persons with other symptoms, are free and sometimes excessive eaters. They say their food does not give them strength, and it does not, for the same reason that the acid poured into the impure fluid of the battery does not give us electric force. There are those who all their lives are habitually small eaters and yet are great workers, and there are those who, though all their lives great eaters, are never strong; their food is either not digested or thoroughly assimilated, and so a much smaller fraction than should be is converted into nerve-force.”

In all the great cities of the East, among the brain-working classes of our large cities everywhere, pork, in all its varieties and preparations, has taken a subordinate place among the meats upon our tables, for the reason that the stomach of the brain-worker cannot digest it.”

Four and 5 meals a day is, or has been, the English and, notably, the German custom. Foreigners have greatly surpassed us in the taking of solid as well as liquid food.”

The eyes also are good barometers of our nervous civilization. The increase of asthenopia and short-sightedness [miopia], and, in general, of the functional disorders of the eye, are demonstrated facts and are most instructive. The great skill and great number of our oculists are constant proof and suggestions of the nervousness of our age. The savage can usually see well; myopia is a measure of civilization.” “near-sightedness increases in schools” Macnamara declares that he took every opportunity of examining the eyes of Southall aborigines of Bengal, for the purpose of discovering whether near-sightedness and diseases of like character existed among them, and he asserts that he never saw a young Southall whose eyes were not perfect.”

at the age of 20, 26% of Americans are near-sighted. In Russia, 42%, and in Germany, 62%.” A nação mais intelectual do mundo.

American dentists are the best in the world, because American teeth are the worst in the world.”

Irregularities of teeth, like their decay, are the product primarily of civilization, secondarily of climate. These are rarely found among the Indians or the Chinese; and, according to Dr. Kingsley, are rare even in idiots”

It is probable that negroes are troubled earlier than Indians. The popular impression that negroes always have good teeth is erroneous—the contrast between the whiteness of the teeth and the blackness of the face tending not a little to flatter them.”

Coarse races and peoples, and coarse individuals can go with teeth badly broken down without being aware of it from any pain; whereas, in a finely organized constitution, the very slightest decay in the teeth excites pain which renders filling or extracting imperative. The coarse races and coarse individuals are less disturbed by the bites of mosquitoes, by the presence of flies or of dirt on the body, than those in whom the nervous diathesis prevails”

It is said, for example, of the negroes of the South, that they rarely if ever sneeze.”

Special explanations without number have been offered for this long-observed phenomenon—the early and rapid decay of American teeth—such as the use of sweets, the use of acids, neglect of cleanliness, and the use of food that requires little mastication. But they who urge these special facts to account for the decay of teeth of our civilization would, by proper inquiry, learn that the savages and negroes, and semi-barbarians everywhere, in many cases use sweets far more than we, and never clean their mouths, and never suffer, except in old age.”

the only races that have poor teeth are those who clean them.” Quando o remédio vem mais tarde que a doença.

Among savages in all parts of the earth baldness is unusual, except in extreme age, and gray hairs come much later than with us. So common is baldness in our large cities that what was once a deformity and exception is now almost the rule, and an element of beauty.”

Increased sensitiveness to both heat and cold is a noteworthy sign of nervousness.”

Cold bathing is not borne as well as formerly.” “Water treatment is as good for some forms of nervous disease as it ever was; but it must be adapted to the constitution of the patient, and adapted also to the peculiar needs of each case.”

The disease, state, or condition to which the term neurasthenia is applied is subdivisible, just as insanity is subdivided into general paresis or general paralysis of the insane, epileptic insanity, hysterical, climatic, and puerperal insanity; just as the disease or condition that we call trance is subdivided into clinical varieties, such as intellectual trance, induced trance, cataleptic trance, somnambulistic trance, emotional trance, ecstatic trance, etc.

That diabetes is largely if not mainly a nervous disease is becoming more and more the conviction of all medical thinkers, and that, like Bright’s disease, it has increased of late, can be proved by statistics that in this respect are in harmony with observation.”

A ERA DA RINITE E DAS ALERGIAS: “A single branch of our neurological tree, hay-fever, has in it the material for years of study; he who understands that, understands the whole problem. In the history of nervous disease I know not where to look for anything as extraordinary or instructive as the rise and growth of hay-fever in the USA.”

Catarrh of the nose and nasal pharyngeal states — so-called nasal and pharyngeal catarrh — is not a nervous disease, in the strict sense of the term, but there is often a nervous element in it; and in the marked and obstinate forms it is, like decay and irregularities of the teeth, one of the signs or one of the nerve-symptoms of impairment of nutrition and decrease of vital force which make us unable to resist change of climate and extremes of temperature.”

The phenomenal beauty of the American girl of the highest type, is a subject of the greatest interest both to the psychologist and the sociologist, since it has no precedent, in recorded history, at least; and it is very instructive in its relation to the character and the diseases of America.”

The same climatic peculiarities that make us nervous also make us handsome”

In no other country are the daughters pushed forward so rapidly, so early sent to school, so quickly admitted into society; the yoke of social observance (if it may be called such), must be borne by them much sooner than by their transatlantic sisters — long before marriage they have had much experience in conversation and in entertainment, and have served as queens in social life, and assumed many of the responsibilities and activities connected therewith. Their mental faculties in the middle range being thus drawn upon, constantly from childhood, they develop rapidly a cerebral activity both of an emotional and an intellectual nature, that speaks in the eyes and forms the countenance; thus, fineness of organization, the first element of beauty, is supplemented by expressiveness of features — which is its second element”

Handsome women are found here and there in Great Britain, and rarely in Germany; more frequently in France and in Austria, in Italy and Spain”

One cause, perhaps, of the almost universal homeliness of female faces among European works of art is the fact that the best of the masters never saw a handsome woman.” Esqueceu da relatividade histórica do tipo belo!

If Raphael had been wont to see everyday in Rome or Naples what he would now see everyday in New York, Baltimore, or Chicago, it would seem probable that, in his Sistine Madonna he would have preferred a face of, at least, moderate beauty, to the neurasthenic and anemic type that is there represented. [?]”

To the first and inevitable objection that will be made to all here said — namely, that beauty is a relative thing, the standard of which varies with age, race, and individual — the answer is found in the fact that the American type is today more adored in Europe than in America; that American girls are more in demand for foreign marriages than any other nationality; and that the professional beauties of London that stand highest are those who, in appearance and in character have come nearest the American type.” Isso se chama cultura hegemônica, e não um argumento de defesa – e um pouco de chauvinismo também…

The ruddiness or freshness, the health-suggesting and health-sustaining face of the English girl seem incomparable when partially veiled, or when a few rods away” HAHA. Uma obra não muito recomendável na parte estética… Beleza EXÓTICA!

The European woman steps with a firmer tread than the American, and with not so much lightness, pliancy, and grace. In a multitude, where both nations are represented, this difference is impressive.”

The grasp of the European woman is firmer and harder, as though on account of greater strength and firmness of muscle. In the touch of the hand of the American woman there is a nicety and tenderness that the English woman destroys by the force of the impact.”


Punctuality is a greater thief of nervous force than is procrastination of time. We are under constant strain, mostly unconscious, often-times in sleeping as well as in waking hours, to get somewhere or do something at some definite moment.”

In Constantinople indolence is the ideal, as work is the ideal in London and New York”

There are those who prefer, or fancy they prefer, the sensations of movement and activity to the sensations of repose”

The telegraph is a cause of nervousness the potency of which is little understood. (…) prices fluctuated far less rapidly, and the fluctuations which now are transmitted instantaneously over the world were only known then by the slow communication of sailing vessels or steamships” “every cut in prices in wholesale lines in the smallest of any of the Western cities, becomes known in less than an hour all over the Union; thus competition is both diffused and intensified.”

Rhythmical, melodious, musical sounds are not only agreeable, but when not too long maintained are beneficial, and may be ranked among our therapeutical agencies.”

The experiments, inventions, and discoveries of Edison alone have made and are now making constant and exhausting draughts on the nervous forces of America and Europe, and have multiplied in very many ways, and made more complex and extensive, the tasks and agonies not only of practical men, but of professors and teachers and students everywhere” Um tanto utópico e nostálgico para um “médico pragmático”…

On the mercantile or practical side the promised discoveries and inventions of this one man have kept millions of capital and thousand of capitalists in suspense and distress on both sides of the sea.”

the commerce of the Greeks, of which classical histories talk so much, was more like play — like our summer yachting trips”

The gambler risks usually all that he has; while the stock buyer risks very much more than he has. The stock buyer usually has a certain commercial, social, and religious position, which is thrown into the risk, in all his ventures”

as the civilized man is constantly kept in check by the inhibitory power of the intellect, he appears to be far less emotional than the savage, who, as a rule, with some exceptions, acts out his feelings with comparatively little restraint.”

Love, even when gratified, is a costly emotion; when disappointed, as it is so often likely to be, it costs still more, drawing largely, in the growing years of both sexes, on the margin of nerve-force, and thus becomes the channel through which not a few are carried on to neurasthenia, hysteria, epilepsy, or insanity.”

A modern philosopher of the most liberal school states that he hates to hear one laugh aloud, regarding the habit, as he declares, a survival of barbarism.”

There are two institutions that are almost distinctively American — political elections and religious revivals”

My friend, presidents and politicians are chips and foam on the surface of the sea; they are not the sea; tossed up by the tide and left on the shore, but they are not the tide; fold your arms and go to bed, and most of the evils of this world will correct themselves, and, of those that remain, few will be modified by anything that you or I can do.”

The experiment attempted on this continent of making every man, every child, and every woman an expert in politics and theology is one of the costliest of experiments with living human beings, and has been drawing on our surplus energies with cruel extravagance for 100 years.” Agora, 250…

Protestantism, with the subdivision into sects which has sprung from it, is an element in the causation of the nervous diseases of our time. No Catholic country is very nervous, and partly for this—that in a Catholic nation the burden of religion is carried by the church.” Coitado do Brasil, trocando o certo pelo duvidoso assim…

The difference between Canadians and Americans is observed as soon as we cross the border, the Catholic church and a limited monarchy acting as antidotes to neurasthenia and allied affections. Protestant England has imitated Catholicism, in a measure, by concentrating the machinery of religion and taking away the burden from the people. It is stated —although it is supposed that this kind of statistics are unreliable— that in Italy insanity has been on the increase during these few years in which there has been civil and religious liberty in that country.”

The anxieties about the future, family, property, etc., are certainly so wearing on the negro, that some of them, without doubt, have expressed a wish to return to slavery.”

advances in science are not usually made by committees—indeed, are almost never made by them, least of all by government committees”

The people of this country have been pressed constantly with these 3 questions: How shall we keep from starving? Who is to be the next president? And where shall we go when we die? In a limited, narrow way, other nations have met these questions; at least two of them, that of starvation and that of the future life; but nowhere in ancient or modern civilization have these 3 questions been agitated so severely or brought up with such energy as here.”

Those who have acquired or have inherited wealth, are saved an important percentage of this forecasting and fore-worry”

The barbarian cares nothing for the great problems of life; seeks no solution — thinks of no solution of the mysteries of nature, and, after the manner of many reasoners in modern delusions, dismisses what he cannot at once comprehend as supernatural, and leaves it unsatisfactorily solved for himself, for others, and for all time”

Little account has been made of the fact that the old world is small geographically. The ancient Greeks knew only of Greece and the few outside barbarians who tried to destroy them. The discovery of America, like the invention of printing, prepared the way for modern nervousness; and, in connection with the telegraph, the railway, and the periodical press increased a hundred-fold the distresses of humanity.” The burning of Chicago—a city less than half a century old, on a continent whose existence was unknown a few centuries ago—becomes in a few hours the property of both hemispheres, and makes heavy drafts on the vitality not only of Boston and New York, but of London, Paris, and Vienna.”

Letter-writing is an index of nervousness; those nations who writes the most letters being the most nervous, and those who write scarcely at all, as the Turks and Russians, knowing nothing or but very little of it.”

The education of the Athenian boy consisted in play and games and songs, and repetitions of poems, and physical feats in the open air. His life was a long vacation, in which, as a rule, he rarely toiled as hard as the American lad in the intervals of his toil. (…) What they called work, gymnastics, competition games, and conversations on art and letters, is to us recreation.”

Up to a certain point work develops capacity for work; through endurance is evolved the power of greater endurance; force becomes the parent of force. But here, as in all animate nature, there are limitations of development which cannot be passed. The capacity of the nervous system for sustained work and worry has not increased in proportion to the demands for work and worry that are made upon it.”

GREEN COMMENT LAND: “Continuous and uniform cold as in Greenland, like continuous and uniform heat as on the Amazon, produces enervation and languor; but repeated alternations of the cold of Greenland and the heat of the Amazon produce energy, restlessness, and nervousness.”

The element of dryness of the air, peculiar of our climate as distinguished from that of Europe, both in Great Britain and on the Continent, is of the highest scientific and practical interest.” “On the nervous system this unusual dryness and thinness of the air have a many-sided influence; such as increase of headaches, neuralgias, and diminished capacity for sustaining cerebral toil.” The organs, pianos, and violins of America are superior to those made in Europe at the present time. This superiority is the result, not so much of greater skill, ingenuity, or experience, but—so far as I can learn, from conversing with experts in this line—from the greater dryness of the air, which causes the wood to season better than in the moist atmosphere of Europe.”

Moisture conducts electricity, and an atmosphere well charged with moisture, other conditions being the same, will tend to keep the electricity in a state of equilibrium, since it allows free and ready conduction at all times and in all directions.” In regions where the atmosphere is excessively dry, as in the Rocky Mountains, human beings—indeed all animals, become constantly acting lightning-rods, liable at any moment to be made a convenient pathway through which electricity going to or from the earth seeks an equilibrium.”

in the East our neuralgic and rheumatic patients, just before thunder-storms, are suddenly attacked by exquisite pains that at once disappear with the fair weather. There are those so sensitive that for 100 miles, and for a full day in advance, as Dr. Mitchell has shown, they can predict the approach of a storm.”

Dryness of the air, whether external or internal, likewise excites nervousness by heightening the rapidity of the processes of waste and repair in the organism, so that we live faster than in a moist atmosphere.”

one of the Manchester mill owners asserted that, during a season of dry weather, there was, in weaving alone, a loss of 5%, in quantity, and another loss of 5%, in quality; in spinning, also, an equal loss is claimed. To maintain moisture in mills, sundry devices have been tried, which have met, I believe, with partial success in practice.”

Even in our perfect Octobers, on days that are pictures of beauty and ideals of climate — just warm enough to be agreeable and stimulating enough not to be depressing, we yet remain in the house far more than Europeans are wont to do even in rainy or ugly seasons.” So what, Mr. Productive Media?

The English know nothing of summer, as we know of it — they have no days when it is dangerous, and scarcely any days when it is painful to walk or ride in the direct rays of the sun; and in winter, spring, and fall there are few hours when one cannot by proper clothing keep warm while moderately exercising.”

The Kuro Siwo stream of the Pacific, with its circuit of 18,000 miles, carries the warm water of the tropics towards the poles, and regulates in a manner the climate of Japan. Mr. Croll estimates that if the Gulf Stream were to stop, the annual temperature of London would fall 30 degrees [Farenheit], and England would become as cold as Nova Zembla. It is the influence of the Gulf Stream that causes London, that is 11° farther north than New York, to have an annual mean temperature but 2° lower.”

According to Miss Isabella Bird, who has recently published a work entitled Unbeaten Tracks in Japan, which is not only the very best work ever written on Japan, but one of the most remarkable works of travel ever written by man or woman, it seems that the Japanese suffer both from extremes of heat and cold, from deep snows and ice, and from the many weeks of sultriness such as oppress us in the US. The atmosphere of Japan is though far more moist than that of America, in that respect resembling some of the British Isles”

Our Meteorological Bureau has justified its existence and labors by demonstrating and popularizing the fact that our waves of extreme heat and of extreme cold and severe climatic perturbations of various kinds are born in or pass from the Pacific through these mountains and travel eastward, and hence their paths can be followed and their coming can be predicted with a measure of certainty.”

in the latter part of the winter and early spring—or what passes for spring, which is really a part of winter, and sometimes its worse part—there is more suffering from cold, more liability to disease, by taking cold, and more debility from long confinement in dry and overheated air than in early and mid-winter”

the strong races, like the Hebrews and Anglo-Saxons, succeed in nearly all climates, and are dominant wherever they go; but in unlimited or very extended time, race is a result of climate and environment.”

Savages may go to the most furious excesses without developing any nervous disease; they may gorge themselves, or they may go without eating for a week, they may rest in camp or they may go upon laborious campaigns, and yet never have nervous dyspepsia, sick-headache, hay-fever, or neuralgia.”

No people in the world are so careful of their diet, the quality and quantity of their food, and in regard to their habits of drinking, as the very class of Americans who suffer most from these neuroses.”

Alcohol only produces inebriety when it acts on a nervous system previously made sensitive. Alcoholism and inebriety are the products not of alcohol, but of alcohol plus a certain grade of nerve degeneration.”

But bad air, that is, air simply made impure by the presence of human beings, without any special contagion, seems powerless to produce disease of any kind, unless the system be prepared for it. Not only bad air, but bad air and filth combined, the Chinese of the lower orders endure both in this country and their own, and are not demonstrably harmed thereby (…) but impure air, plus a constitution drawn upon and weakened by civilization, is an exciting cause of nervous disease of immense force.”

The philosophy of the causation of American nervousness may be expressed in algebraic formula as follows: civilization in general + American civilization in particular (young and rapidly growing nation, with civil, religious, and social liberty) + exhausting climate (extremes of heat and cold, and dryness) + the nervous diathesis (itself a result of previously named factors) + overwork or overworry, or excessive indulgence of appetites or passions = an attack of neurasthenia or nervous exhaustion.”

Dr. Habsch, the chief oculist in Constantinople, says that the effect of tobacco upon the eyes is very problematical; that everybody smokes from morning to night, the men a great deal, the women a little less than the men, and the children smoke from the age of 7 and 8 years. He states that the number of cases of amaurosis [cegueira] is very limited. If expert oculists would examine the eyes of the Chinese, who smoke quite as much as the Turks, if not more, and smoke opium as well as tobacco, they would unquestionably confirm the conclusion of Dr. Habsch among the Turks. Dr. Habsch believes that in persons with a very delicate skin and conjunctiva [membrana mucosa que liga as pálpabras com o tecido ocular propriamente dito] among the Turks, smoking frequently causes chronic irritation, local congestion, profuse lachrymation, blepharitis ciliaris [inflamação dos cílios], and more or less intense redness of the eyelids. (cf. Dr. Webster on Amblyopia [Perda de visão] from the Use of Tobacco) [livro inexistente na web]”

The Hollanders, according to a most expert traveller, Edmondo De Amicis, are the greatest smokers of Europe; on entering a house, with the first greeting you are offered a cigar, and when you leave another is handed to you; many retire with a pipe in their mouth, re-light it if they awake during the night; they measure distances by smoke – to such a place by not so many miles but by so many pipes.” “Says one Hollander, smoke is our second breath; says another, the cigar is the 6th finger of the hand.”

Opium eating in China does not work in the way that the same habit does in the white races.” “when it is said of a Chinaman that he smokes opium, it is meant that he smokes to excess and has a morbid craving for it, just as with us the expression a man drinks means that he drinks too much”

It is clear that the habit of taking opium does not necessarily impair fertility, since large families are known among those who use opium, even to excess.”

Among my nervous patients I find very many who cannot digest vegetables, but must use them with much caution; but all China lives on vegetables, and indigestion is not a national disease. Many of the Chinese live in undrained grounds, in conditions favorable to ague and various fevers, but they do not suffer from these diseases, nor from diseases of the lungs and bronchial tubes, to the same extent as foreign residents there who do not use opium.”

I have been twice favored with the chance to study Africa in America. On the sea islands of the South, between Charleston and Savannah, there are thousands of negroes, once slaves, most of whom were born on those islands, who there will die, and who at no time have been brought into relation with our civilization, except so far as it is exhibited in a very few white inhabitants in the vicinity. Intellectually, they can be not very much in advance of their African ancestors; in looks and manners they remind me of the Zulus now exhibiting in America; for although since emancipation they have been taught by philanthropists, part of the time under governmental supervision, some of the elements of common school teaching, yet none of them have made, or are soon likely to make, any very important progress beyond those elements, and few, if any of them, even care to exercise the art of reading after it is taught them. Here, then, is a bit of barbarism at our door-steps; here, with our own eyes, and with the aid of those who live near them and employ them, I have sought for the facts of comparative neurology. There is almost no insanity among these negroes; there is no functional nervous disease or symptoms among them of any name or phase; to suggest spinal irritation, or hysteria of the physical form, or hay-fever, or nervous dyspepsia among these people is but to joke.” These primitive people can go, when required, for weeks and months sleeping but 1 or 2 hours out of the 24; they can labor for all day, or for 2 days, eating nothing or but little; hog and hominy and lish, all the year round, they can eat without getting dyspepsia; indulgence of passions several-fold greater, at least, than is the habit of the whites, either there or here, never injures them either permanently or temporarily; if you would find a virgin among them, it is said you must go to the cradle; alcohol, when they can get it, they drink with freedom, and become intoxicated like the whites, but rarely, indeed, manifest the symptoms of delirium-tremens, and never of chronic alcoholism”

These blacks cannot summon as much energy for a moment in an emergency as the whites, since they have less control over their energies, but in holding-on power, in sustained, continuous, unbroken muscular endurance, for hours and days, they surpass the whites.”

The West is where the East was a quarter of a century ago—passing more rapidly, as it would appear, through the same successive stages of development.”


Without civilization there can be no nervousness; there is no race, no climate, no environment that can make nervousness and nervous disease possible and common save when reenforced by brain-work and worry and in-door life. This is the dark and, so far as it goes, truthful side of our theme; the brighter side is to be drawn in the present chapter.

Thomas Hughes, in his Life of Alfred the Great, makes a statement that <the world’s hardest workers and noblest benefactors have rarely been long-lived>. That any intelligent writer of the present day should make a statement so untrue shows how hard it is to destroy an old superstition.

The remark is based on the belief which has been held for centuries that the mind can be used only at the injurious expense of the body. This belief has been something more than a mere popular prejudice; it has been a professional dogma, and has inspired nearly all the writers on hygiene since medicine has been a science; and intellectual and promising youth have thereby been dissuaded from entering brain-working professions; and thus, much of the choicest genius has been lost to civilization; students in college have abandoned plans of life to which their tastes inclined, and gone to the farm or workshop; authors, scientists, and investigators in the several professions have thrown away the accumulated experience of the better half of life, and retired to pursuits as uncongenial as they were profitless. The delusion has, therefore, in 2 ways, wrought evil, specifically by depriving the world of the services of some of its best endowed natures, and generally by fostering a habit of accepting statement for demonstration.

Between 1864 and 1866 I obtained statistics on the general subject of the relation of occupation to health and longevity that convinced me of the error of the accepted teachings in regard to the effect of mental labor.”

The views I then advocated, and which I enforced by statistical evidence were:

1st. That the brain-working classes—clergymen, lawyers, physicians, merchants, scientists, and men of letters, lived much longer than the muscle-working classes.

2nd. That those who followed occupations that called both muscle and brain into exercise, were longer-lived than those who lived in occupations that were purely manual.

3rd. That the greatest and hardest brain-workers of history have lived longer on the average than brain-workers of ordinary ability and industry.

4th. That clergymen were longer-lived than any other great class of brain-workers. [QUE PRAGA!]

5th. That longevity increased very greatly with the advance of civilization; and that this increase was too marked to be explained merely by improved sanitary knowledge.

6th. That although nervous diseases increased with the increase of culture, and although the unequal and excessive excitements and anxieties attendant on mental occupations of a high civilization were so far both prejudicial to health and longevity, yet these incidental evils were more than counter-balanced by the fact that fatal inflammatory diseases have diminished in frequency and violence in proportion as nervous diseases have increased; an also that brain-work is, per se, healthful and conducive to longevity.”

the greater majority of those who die in any one of the three great professions — law, theology, and medicine — have, all their lives, from 21 upwards, followed that profession in which they died.”

I have ascertained the longevity of 500 of the greatest men in history. The list I prepared includes a large proportion of the most eminent names in all the departments of thought and activity. (…) the average age of those I have mentioned, I found to be 64.2. (…) the greatest men of the world have lived longer on the average than men of ordinary ability in the different occupations by 14 years” The value of this comparison is enforced by the consideration that longevity has increased with the progress of civilization, while the list I prepared represents every age of recorded history.” “I am sure that any chronology comprising from 100 to 500 of the most eminent personages in history, at any cycle, will furnish an average longevity of from 64 to 70 years. Madden, in his very interesting work The Infirmities of Genius, gives a list of 240 illustrious names, with their ages at death.”

IV comparative longevity of brain-workers

The full explanation of the superior longevity of the brain-working classes would require a treatise on the science of sociology, and particularly of the relation of civilization to health. The leading factors, accounting for the long life of those who live by brain-labor, are:


In the successful brain-worker worry is transferred into work; in the muscle-worker work too often degrades into worry.” “To the happy brain-worker life is a long vacation; while the muscle-worker often finds no joy in his daily toil, and very little in the intervals.”

Longevity is the daughter of comfort. Of the many elements that make up happiness, mental organization, physical health, fancy, friends, and money—the last is, for the average man, greater than any other, except the first.”

for a large number, sleep is a luxury of which they never have sufficient for real recuperation”

The nervous temperament, which usually predominates in brain-workers, is antagonistic to fatal, acute, inflammatory disease, and favorable to long life.”

Nervous people, if not too feeble, may die everyday. They do not die; they talk of death, and each day expect it, and yet they live. Many of the most annoying nervous diseases, especially of the functional, and some even of the structural varieties, do not rapidly destroy life, and are, indeed, consistent with great longevity.”

the nervous man can expose himself to malaria, to cold and dampness, with less danger of disease, and with less danger of death if he should contract disease, than his tough and hardy brother.”

In the conflict with fevers and inflammations, strength is often weakness, and weakness becomes strength—we are saved through debility.”

Still further, my studies have shown that, of distinctively nervous diseases, those which have the worst pathology and are the most hopeless, such as locomotor ataxia, progressive muscular atrophy, apoplexy with hemiplegia, and so on, are more common and more severe, and more fatal among the comparatively vigorous and strong, than among the most delicate and finely organized. Cancer, even, goes hardest with the hardy, and is most relievable in the nervous.”

Women, with all their nervousness—and in civilized lands, women are more nervous, immeasurably, than men, and suffer more from general and special nervous diseases—yet live quite as long as men, if not somewhat longer; their greater nervousness and far greater liability to functional diseases of the nervous system being compensated for by their smaller liability to certain acute and inflammatory disorders, and various organic nervous diseases, likewise, such as the general paralysis of insanity.”

Brain-workers can adapt their labor to their moods and hours and periods of greatest capacity for labor better than muscle-workers. In nearly all intellectual employments there is large liberty; literary and professional men especially, are so far masters of their time that they can select the hours and days for their most exacting and important work; and when from any cause indisposed to hard thinking, can rest and recreate, or limit themselves to mechanical details.”

Forced labor, against the grain of one’s nature, is always as expensive as it is unsatisfactory”

Even coarser natures have their moods, and the choicest spirits are governed by them; and they who worship their moods do most wisely; and those who are able to do so are the fortunate ones of the earth.”

Again, brain-workers do their best work between the ages of 25-45; before that period they are preparing to work; after that period, work, however extensive it may be, becomes largely accumulation and routine.” “It is as hard to lay a stone wall after one has been laying it 50 years as during the first year. The range of muscular growth and development is narrow, compared with the range of mental growth; the day-laborer soon reaches the maximum of his strength. The literary or scientific worker goes on from strength to strength, until what at 25 was impossible, and at 30 difficult, at 35 becomes easy, and at 40 a past-time.”

The number of illustrious names of history is by no means so great as is currently believed; for, as the visible stars of the firmament, which at a glance appear infinite in number, on careful estimate are reduced to a few thousands, so the galaxy of genius, which appears interminable on a comprehensive estimate, presents but few lights of immortal fame. Mr. Galton, in his Hereditary Genius, states that there have not been more than 400 great men in history.”

obscurity is no sure evidence of demerit, but only a probability of such”

Only in rare instances is special or general talent so allied with influence, or favor, or fortune, or energy that commands circumstances, that it can develop its full functions; <things are in the saddle and ride mankind>, environment commands the environed.”

The stars we see in the sky are but mites compared with the infinite orbs that shall never be seen; but no star is a delusion—each one means a world, the light of which very well corresponds to its size and distance from the earth and sun.” “Routine and imitation work can no more confer the fame that comes from work that is original and creative than the moon can take the place of the sun.”

It is this confounding of force with the results of force, of fame with the work by which fame is attained that causes philosophers to dispute, deny, or doubt, or to puzzle over the law of the relation of age to work, as here announced.

When the lightning flashes along the sky, we expect a discharge will soon follow, since light travels faster than sound; so some kinds of fame are more rapidly diffused than others, and are more nearly contemporaneous with their origin; but as a law, there is an interval — varying from years to hundreds of years — between the doing of any original work and the appreciation of that work by any considerable number of mankind that we call fame.

The great men that we know are old men; but they did the work that has made them great when they were young; in loneliness, in poverty, often, as well as under discouragement, and in neglected or despised youth has been achieved all that has advanced, all that is likely to advance mankind.”

In the man of genius, the idea starts where, in the man of routine, it leaves off.”

Original work—that done by geniuses who have thereby attained immortal fame, is the only kind of work that can be used as the measure of cerebral force in all our search for this law of the relation of work to the time of life at which work is done for the two-fold reason—first, that it is the highest and best measure of cerebral force; and, secondly, because it is the only kind of work that gives earthly immortality.”

Men do not long remember, nor do they earnestly reverence those who have done only what everybody can do. We never look up, unless the object at which we look is higher than ourselves; the forces that control the rise and fall of reputation are as inevitable and as remorseless as heat, light, and gravity; if a great man looms up from afar, it is because he is taller than the average man; else, he would pass below the horizon as we receded from him; factitious fame is as impossible as factitious heat, light, or gravity; if there be force, there must have been, somewhere, and at some time, a source whence that force was evolved.”

the strength of a man is his strength at his strongest point—what he can do in any one direction, at his very best. However weak and even puerile, immature, and non-expert one may be in all other directions except one, be gains an immortality of fame if, in that one direction he develops a phenomenal power; weaknesses and wickednesses, serious immoralities and waywardnesses are soon forgotten by the world, which is, indeed, blinded to all these defects in the face of the strong illumination of genius. Judged by their defects, the non-expert side of their character, moral or intellectual, men like Burns,¹ Shakespeare, Socrates, Cicero, Caesar, Napoleon, Beethoven, Mozart, Byron, Dickens, etc., are but as babes or lunatics, and far, very far below the standard of their fellows.”

¹ Poeta escocês, 1759-96.

SOBRE A PRECOCIDADE E “GASTO DA ENERGIA MENTAL”: “Men to whom these truths are repelling put their eyes on those in high positions and in the decline of life, like Disraeli or Gladstone, forgetting that we have no proof that either of these men have ever originated a new thought during the past 25 years, and that in all their contributions to letters during that time there is nothing to survive, or worthy to survive, their authors.

They point to Darwin, the occupation of whose old age has been to gather into form the thoughts and labors of his manhood and youth, and whose only immortal book was the product of his silver and golden decade.”

IV the relation of age to original work

The lives of some great men are not sufficiently defined to differentiate the period, much less the decade or the year of their greatest productive force. Such lives are either rejected, or only the time of death and the time of first becoming famous are noted; very many authors have never told the world when they thought-out or even wrote their masterpieces, and the season of publication is the only date that we can employ. These classes of facts, it will be seen, tell in favor of old rather than of young men, and will make the year of maximum production later rather than earlier, and cannot, therefore, be objected to by those who may doubt my conclusions.”

For those who have died young, and have worked in original lines up to the year of their death, the date of death has sometimes been regarded as sufficient. Great difficulty has been found in proving the dates of the labors of the great names of antiquity, and, therefore, many of them are necessarily excluded from consideration, but in an extended comparison between ancient and modern brain-workers, so far as history makes possible, there was but little or no difference.”

This second or supplementary list was analyzed in the same way as the primary list, and it was found that the law was true of these, as of those of greater distinction. The conclusion is just, scientific, and inevitable, that if we should go down through all the grades of cerebral force, we should find this law prevailing among medium and inferior natures, that the obscure, the dull, and the unaspiring accomplished the little they did in the direction of relatively original work in the brazen and golden decades.” Tenho 8 anos pela frente.

These researches were originally made as far back as 1870, and were first made public in lectures delivered by me before the Long Island Historical Society. The titles of the lectures were, Young Men in History, and the Decline of Moral Principle in Old Age.”

Finally, it should be remarked that the list has been prepared with absolute impartiality, and no name and no date has been included or omitted to prove any theory. The men who have done original or important work in advanced age, such as Dryden,¹ Radetzky,² Moltke,³ Thiers,4 De Foe,5 have all been noted, and are embraced in the average.”

¹ Poeta inglês, 1631-1700.

² Marechal, militar estrategista alemão que combateu inclusive Napoleão, vivendo ativo até uma idade avançada (1766-1858).

³ Provavelmente o Conde Adam Moltke (1710-1792), diplomata dinamarquês. Seu filho foi primeiro-ministro.

4 Marie Adolph –, político e escritor francês, 1797-1877, foi presidente eleito na França após a queda dos Bourbon.

5 Daniel Defoe viveu 71 anos e também foi ensaísta e publicou obras de não-ficção, além de seu maior sucesso.

The golden decade alone represents nearly 1/3 of the original work of the world. (…) The year of maximum productiveness is 39.”

All the athletes with whom I have conversed on this subject, the guides and lumbermen in the woods — those who have always lived solely by muscle — agree substantially to this: that their staying power is better between the ages of 35 and 45, than either before or after. To get the best soldiers, we must rob neither the cradle nor the grave; but select from those decades when the best brain-work of the world is done.”

Original work requires enthusiasm; routine work, experience.” “Unconsciously the people recognize this distinction between the work that demands enthusiasm and that which demands experience, for they prefer old doctors and lawyers, while in the clerical profession, where success depends on the ability to constantly originate and express thought, young men are the more popular, and old men, even of great ability, passed by. In the editorial profession original work is demanded, and most of the editorials of our daily press are written by young men. In the life of every old man there comes a point, sooner or later, when experience ceases to have any educating power; and when, in the language of Wall St., he becomes a bear; in the language of politics, a Bourbon.”

some of the greatest poets, painters, and sculptors, such as Dryden, Richardson, Cowper, Young, De Foe, Titian, Christopher Wren, and Michael Angelo, have done a part of their very best work in advanced life. The imagery both of Bacon and of Burke seemed to increase in richness as they grew older.

In the realm of reason, philosophic thought, invention and discovery, the exceptions are very rare. Nearly all the great systems of theology, metaphysics, and philosophy are the result of work done between 20 and 50.”

Michael Angelo and Sir Christopher Wren could wait for a quarter or even half a century before expressing their thoughts in St. Peter’s or St. Paul’s; but the time of the conception of those thoughts — long delayed in their artistic expression — was the time when their cerebral force touched its highest mark.

In the old age of literary artists, as Carlyle, Dickens, George Elliot, or Tennyson, the form may be most excellent; but from the purely scientific side the work though it may be good, is old; a repetition often-times, in a new form, of what they have said many times before.”

The philosophy of Bacon can never be written but once; to re-write it, to present it a 2nd time, in a different dress, would indicate weakness, would seem almost grotesque; but to statuary and painting we return again and again; we allow the artist to re-portray his thought, no matter how many times; we visit in succession a hundred cathedrals, all very much alike; and a delicious melody grows more pleasing with repetition; whence it is that in poetry — the queen of the arts — old age has wrought little, or not at all, since the essence of poetry is creative thought, and old age is unable to think; whence, also, in acting — the oldest of all the arts, the servant of all — the best experts are often at their best, or not far below their best, save for the acquisition of new characters, in the iron and wooden decades.”

Similarly with the art of writing—the style, the dress, the use of words, the art of expressing thoughts, and not of thinking. Men who have done their best thinking before 40 have done their best writing after that period.” it is thought, and not the language of thought, that best tests the creative faculties.”

The conversation of old men of ability, before they have passed into the stage of imbecility, is usually richer and more instructive than the conversation of the young; for in conversation we simply distribute the treasures of memory, as a store hoarded during long years of thought and experience. He who thinks as he converses is a poor companion, as he who must earn his money before he spends any is a poor man. When an aged millionnaire makes a liberal donation it costs him nothing; he but gives out of abundance that has resulted by natural accumulation from the labors of his youth and middle life.”

An amount of work not inconsiderable is done before 25 and a vast amount is done after 40; but at neither period is it usually of the original or creative sort that best measures the mental forces.” “In early youth we follow others; in old age we follow ourselves.”

The same law applies to animals. Horses live to be about 25, and are at their best from 8 to 14” “Dogs live 9 or 10 years, and are fittest for the hunt between 2 and 6.”

Children born of parents one or both of whom are between 25 and 40, are, on the average, stronger and smarter than those born of parents one or both of whom are very much younger or older than this.” “we are most productive when we are most reproductive [18-26??].”

In an interesting paper entitled When Women Grow Old, Mrs. Blake has brought facts to show that the fascinating power of the sex is often-times retained much longer than is generally assumed.

She tells us of Aspasia, who, between the ages of 30 and 50 was the strongest intellectual force in Athens; of Cleopatra, whose golden decade for power and beauty was between 30 and 40; of Livia, who was not far from 30 when she gained the heart of Octavius; of Anne of Austria, who at 38 was thought to be the most beautiful queen in Europe; of Catherine II of Russia, who, even at the silver decade was both beautiful and imposing; of Mademoiselle Mars, the actress, whose beauty increased with years, and culminated between 30 and 45; of Madame Recamier, who, between 25 and 40, and even later, was the reigning beauty in Europe; of Ninon de I’Enclos, whose own son — brought up without knowledge of his parentage — fell passionately in love with her when she was at the age of 37, and who even on her 60th birthday received an adorer young enough to be her grandson.

The voice of our great prima donnas is at its very best between 27 and 35; but still some retains, in a degree, its strength and sweetness even in the silver decade. The voice is an index of the body in all its functions, but the decay of other functions is not so readily noted.”

As a lad of 16, Lord Bacon began to think independently on great matters; at 44, published his great work on The Advancement of Learning; at 36, published 12 of his Essays; and at 60 collected the thoughts of his life in his Organum. His old age was devoted to scientific investigation.

At the age of 29, Descartes began to map out his system of philosophy, and at 41 began its publication, and at 54 he died.

Schelling, as a boy, studied philosophy, and at 24 was a brilliant and independent lecturer, and at 27 had published many important works; at 28 was professor of philosophy and arts, and wrote his best works before 50.

Dryden, one of the exceptions to the average, did his best work when comparatively old; his Absalom was written at 50, and his Alexander’s Feast when he was nearly 70.

Dean Swift wrote his Tale of a Tub at 35, and his Gulliver’s Travels at 59.”

Charles Dickens wrote Pickwick at 25, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby before 27, Christmas Chimes at 31, David Copperfield at 38, and Dombey and Son at 35. Thus we see that nearly all his greatest works were written before he was 40; and it is amazing how little all the writings of the last 20 years of his life took hold of the popular heart, in comparison with Pickwick and David Copperfield, and how little effect the most enormous advertising and the cumulative power of a great reputation really have to give a permanent popularity to writings that do not deserve it. If Dickens had died at 40 his claim to immortality would have been as great as now, and the world of letters would have been little, if any, the loser. The excessive methodical activity of his mature and advanced life could turn off works with fair rapidity; but all his vast experience and all his earnest striving failed utterly to reach the standard of his reckless boyhood. His later works were more perfect, perhaps, judged by some canons, but the genius of Pickwick was not in them.”

Edison with his 300 patents, is not the only young inventor. All inventors are young. Colt was a boy of 21 when he invented the famous weapon that bears his name; and Goodyear began his experiments in rubber while a young man of 24, and made his first success at 38, and at 43 had brought his discovery to approximate perfection.”

The name of Bichat is one of the greatest in science, and he died at 32.”

Handel at 19 was director of the opera at Hamburg; at 20 composed his first opera; at 35 was appointed manager of the Royal Theatre at London; at 25 composed Messiah and Jephtha, and in old age and blindness his intellect was clear and his power of performance remarkable.”

Luther early displayed eloquence, and at 20 began to study Aristotle;¹ at 29 was doctor of divinity, and when he would refuse it, it was said to him that <he must suffer himself to be dignified, for that God intended to bring about great things in the church by his name>; at 34 he opposed the Indulgencies, and set up his 95 propositions; at 37 he publicly burned the Pope’s bull; at 47 he had completed his great task.”

¹ Realmente é impossível derivar prazer de ler Aristóteles antes dessa idade, senão uma ainda mais avançada!

Von Moltke between 65 and 70 directed the operation of the great war of Prussia against Austria and France. But that war was but a conclusion and consummation of military study and organization that had been going on for a quarter of a century.”

Jenner at 21 began his investigation into the difference between cow-pox and small-pox. His attention was called to the subject by the remark of a country girl, who said in his hearing that she could not have the small-pox, because she had had the cow-pox.” Varíola e varíola bovina. Bom… realmente existem ovos de Colombo!

old men, like nations, can show their treasures of art long after they have begun to die; this, indeed, is one of the sweetest and most refreshing compensations for age”

A contemporary deader in science (Huxley) has asserted that it would be well if all men of science could be strangled at the age of 60, since after that age their disposition — with possible exceptions here and there — is to become reactionary and obstructionists”

Se um homem não é belo aos 20, forte aos 30, experiente aos 40 e rico aos 50, ele jamais será belo, forte, experiente ou rico neste mundo.” Lutero

Só começamos a contar nossos anos quando já não há nada mais a ser contado” Emerson

Procrastinamos nossos trabalhos literários até termos experiência e habilidade o bastante, até um dia descobrirmos que nosso talento literário era uma efervescência juvenil que finalmente perdemos.” E.

Quem em nada tem razão aos 30, nunca terá.”

Revoluções não são feitas por homens de óculos, assim como sussurros contendo verdades novas nunca são ouvidos por quem já entrou na idade da surdez” Oliver Holmes

Como pode ser que “o povo da minha rua” seja, para tantos indivíduos, a gente mais burra de toda a Terra? E, pior ainda, que todos que o dizem pareçam estar com a razão?!

Dizem que os jovens são os únicos que não escutam a voz da razão na discussão sobre a verdadeira idade da razão ser a juventude, e não a velhice. Ou eles estão errados ou eles estão errados.

It is not in ambitious human nature to be content with what we have been enabled to achieve up to the age of 40. (…) Happiness may augment with years, because of better external conditions; and yet the highest happiness is obtained through work itself more than through the reward of work”

a wise man declared that he would like to be forever 35, and another, on being asked his age, replied that it was of little account provided that it was anywhere between 25 and 40.”

$$$: “Capacity for original work age does not have, but in compensation it has almost everything else. The querulousness of age, the irritability, the avarice are the resultants partly of habit and partly of organic and functional changes in the brain. Increasing avarice is at once the tragedy and the comedy of age; as we near the end of our voyage we become more chary of our provisions, as though the ocean and not the harbor were before us.” “our intellectual ruin very often dates from the hour when we begin to save money.” A do meu pai começou quando criança.

PORQUE SIM, PORQUE EU MANDEI – POR QUE VOCÊ É ASSIM? NÃO RESPEITA SEU PAI, NÃO? POR QUE NÃO FAZ UM DOUTORADO? POR QUE NÃO COMPRA UM CARRO? “Moral courage is rare in old age; sensitiveness to criticism and fear of opposition take the place, in the iron and wooden decades, of delight in criticism and love of opposition of the brazen and golden decades” Nostalgic UnB times…

fame like wealth makes us cautious, conservative, cowardly, since it implies the possibility of loss.”

when the intellect declines the man is obliged to be virtuous. Physical health is also needed for indulgence in many of the vices”

The decline of the moral faculties in old age may be illustrated by studying the lives of the following historic characters: Demosthenes, Cicero, Sylla, Charles V, Louis XIV, Frederic of Prussia, Napoleon (prematurely old), Voltaire, Jeffries, Dr. Johnson, Cromwell, Burke, Sheridan, Pope, Newton, Ruskin, Carlyle, Dean Swift, Chateaubriand, Rousseau, Milton, Bacon, Earl Pussell, Marlborough and Daniel Webster. In some of these cases the decline was purely physiological, in others pathological; in the majority it was a combination of both.

Very few decline in all the moral faculties. One becomes peevish, another avaricious, another misanthropic, another mean and tyrannical, another exacting and ugly, another sensual, another cold and cruelly conservative, another excessively vain and ambitious, others simply lose their moral enthusiasm and their capacity for resisting disappointment and temptation.”

There are men who in extreme age preserve their teeth sound, their hair unchanged, their complexion fresh, their appetite sharp and digestion strong and sure, and their repose sweet and refreshing, and who can walk and work to a degree that makes their children and grandchildren feel very humble; but these observed exceptions in no way invalidate the general law, which no one will dispute, that the physical powers reach their maximum between 20 and 40, and that the average man at 70 is less muscular and less capable of endurance than the average man at 40.”

For age hath opportunity no less

Than youth itself, though in another dress;

And as the evening twilight fades away,

The sky is filled with stars invisible by day.”


To age is granted in increasing richness the treasures of memory and the delights of recognition which most usually come from those who, at the time of the deeds whose value they recognize, were infants or unborn; only those who bury their contemporaries, can obtain, during their own lifetime, the supremacy of fame.”

POR QUE CRIANÇAS PRODÍGIO SÃO A MAIOR FALSIFICAÇÃO POSSÍVEL: “Mrs. Carlyle, when congratulated on the honors given to her husband on the delivery of his Edinburgh address, replied with a certain disdain, as though he should have been honored before; but only by a reversal of the laws of the evolution of fame shall the manifestation of genius and the recognition of genius be simultaneous.”

The high praise of contemporaries is almost insulting, since it implies that he whom they honor is but little better than themselves. Permanent fame, even in this rapid age [!!], is a plant of slow growth—first the blade; then, after a time, the ear; then, after many, many years, the full corn in the ear”

MEU COPYDESK E EU DE 2015 PARA CÁ SENTIMO-NOS ASSIM: “while the higher power of creating is disappearing, the lower, but for many the more needful, and with contemporaries more quickly appreciated, power of imitation, repetition, and routine, is increasing; we can work without working, and enjoy without striving”

O TRABALHO MATA AOS POUCOS: “An investigation made more recently by a Berlin physician into the facts and data relating to human longevity shows the average age of clergymen to be 65; of merchants, 63; clerks and farmers, 61; military men, 59; lawyers, 58; artists, 57; and medical men, 56 [!]. Statistics are given showing that medical men in England stand high in the scale of longevity. Thus, the united ages of 28 physicians who died there last year, amount to 2,354 years, giving an average of more the 84 years to each [!]. The youngest of the number was 80; the oldest, 93; 2 others were 92 and 89, respectively; 3 were 87, and 4 were 86 each; and there were also more than 50 who averaged from 74 to 75 years.”

That precocity predicts short life, and is therefore a symptom greatly to be feared by parents, has, I believe, never been questioned. (…) plants that are soon to bloom are soon to fade”

APOSTO MINHA VIDA QUE MORREREI ANTES DE A.: “It is probable that, of two individuals with precisely similar organizations and under similar circumstances, the one that develops earlier will be the first to die.”

MINHA ‘GENÉTICA’ NÃO AJUDA: “millionnaires in intellect as well as in money, who can afford to expend enormous means without becoming impoverished.”

Investigating the records of the past two centuries, Winterburn finds 213 recorded cases of acknowledged musical prodigies. None of them died before their 15th year, some attained the age of 103 — and the average duration of life was 58 — showing that, with all their abnormal precocity, they exceed the ordinary longevity by about 6%.”

an almost irresistible impulse to the art in which they are destined to excel manifests itself in future virtuosi— in poets, painters, etc., from their earliest youth.” Wieland

Uma idéia de filme bem ruim: O ESCRITOR NOVATO DE 40 ANOS!

A infância revela o homem, como a manhã revela o dia.” Milton

Madden – Infirmities of Genius (downloads)

MEMENTO À “PROFESSORA SORRISO”: “The stupidity attributed to men of genius may be really the stupidity of their parents, guardians, and biographers.”

Music and drawing appeal to the senses, attract attention, and are therefore appreciated, or at least observed by the most stupid parents, and noted even in the most superficial biographies. Philosophic and scientific thought, on the contrary, does not at once, perhaps may never, reveal itself to the senses—it is locked up in the cerebral cells; in the brain of that dull, pale youth, who is kicked for his stupidity and laughed at for his absent-mindedness, grand thoughts may be silently growing”

Newton, according to his own account, was very inattentive to his studies and low in his class, but a great adept at kite-flying, with paper lanterns attached to them, to terrify the country people, of a dark night, with the appearance of comets; and when sent to market with the produce of his mother’s farm, was apt to neglect his business, and to ruminate at an inn, over the laws of Kepler.”

This belief is strengthened by the consideration that many, perhaps the majority, of the greatest thinkers of the world seemed dull, inane, and stupid to their neighbors, not only in childhood but through their whole lives.”

It is probable, however, that nearly all cases of apparent stupidity in young geniuses are to be explained by the want of circumstances favorable to the display of their peculiar powers, or to a lack of appreciation or discernment on the part of their friends.”

As compared with the world, the most liberal curriculum is narrow; to one avenue of distinction that college opens, the world opens ten.”

GREAT precocity, like GREAT genius, is rare.”

O GÊNIO & O GENIOSO: “There is in some children a petty and morbid smartness that is sometimes mistaken for precocity, but which in truth does not deserve that distinction.”

A DOENÇA DE STEWIE: “Petty smartness is often-times a morbid symptom; it comes from a diseased brain, or from a brain in which a grave predisposition to disease exists; such children may die young, whether they do or do not early exhibit unusual quickness.”

A AMEBA SUPREMACISTA: “M.D. Delaunay has addressed to the Societé de Biologie a communication in which he takes the ground that precocity indicates biological inferiority. To prove this he states that the lower species develop more rapidly than those of a higher order; man is the slowest of all in developing and reaching maturity, and the lower orders are more precocious than the higher. As proof of this he speaks of the children of the Esquimaux, negroes, Cochin Chinese, Japanese, Arabs, etc. (…) He also states that women are more precocious than men”

THE RECURRING THEME: “The highest genius, as here and elsewhere seen, never repeats itself; very great men never have very great children; and in biological analysis, geniuses who are very precocious may be looked upon as the last of their race or of their branch—from them degeneracy is developed; and this precocity, despite their genius, may be regarded as the forerunner of that degeneracy.”

Leibniz, at 12 understood Latin authors well, and wrote a remarkable production; Gassendi, <the little doctor>, preached at 4; and at 10 wrote an important discourse; Goethe, before 10, wrote in several languages; Meyerbeer, at 5, played remarkably well on the piano; Niebuhr, at 7, was a prodigy, and at 12 had mastered 18 languages [QUÊ?!]; Michael Angelo at 19 had attained a very high reputation; at 20 Calvin was a fully-fledged reformer, and at 24 published great works on theology that have changed the destiny of the world; Jonathan Edwards, at 10, wrote a paper refuting the materiality of the soul, and at 12 was so amazingly precocious that it was predicted of him that he would become another Aristotle; at 20 Melanchthon was so learned that Erasmus exclaimed: <My God! What expectations does not Philip Melanchthon create!>.”

In order that a great man shall appear, a double line of more or less vigorous fathers and mothers must fight through the battles for existence and come out triumphant. However feeble the genius may be, his parents or grandparents are usually strong; or if not especially strong, are long-lived. Great men may have nervous if not insane relatives; but the nervous temperament holds to life longer than any other temperament. (…) in him, indeed, the branch of the race to which he belongs may reach its consummation, but the stock out of which he is evolved must be vigorous, and usually contains latent if not active genius.”

The cerebral and muscular forces are often correlated; the brain is a part of the body. This view, though hostile to the popular faith, is yet sound and supportable; a large and powerful brain in a small and feeble body is a monstrosity.”

a hundred great geniuses, chosen by chance, will be larger than a hundred dunces anywhere — will be broader, taller, and more weighty.”

In any band of workmen on a railway, you shall pick out the <boss> by his size alone: and be right 4 times out of 5.”

In certain of the arts extraordinary gifts may lift their possessor into fame with but little effort of his own, but the choicest seats in the temples of art are given only to those who have earned them by the excellence that comes from consecutive effort, which everywhere test the vital power of the man.”

One does not need to practice medicine long to learn that men die that might just as well live if they had resolved to live and that many who are invalids could become strong if they had the native or acquired will to vow that they would do so. Those who have no other quality favorable to life, whose bodily organs are nearly all diseased, to whom each day is a day of pain, who are beset by life-shortening influences, yet do live by the determination to live alone.”

the pluck of the Anglo-Saxon is shown as much on the sick-bed as in Wall Street or on the battlefield.” “When the negro feels the hand of disease pressing upon him, however gently, all his spirit leaves him.”

INNER VOW: “they live, for the same reason that they become famous; they obtain fame because they will not be obscure; they live because they will not die.”

it is the essence of genius to be automatic and spontaneous. Many a huckster or corner tradesman expends each day more force in work or fretting than a Stewart or a Vanderbilt.”

As small print most tires the eyes, so do little affairs the most disturb us” “the nearer our cares come to us the greater the friction; it is easier to govern an empire than to train a family.”

Great genius is usually industrious, for it is its nature to be active; but its movements are easy, frictionless, melodious. There are probably many school-boys who have exhausted themselves more over a prize composition than Shakespeare over Hamlet, or Milton over the noblest passages in Paradise Lost.”

So much has been said of the pernicious effects of mental labor, of the ill-health of brain-workers of all classes, and especially of clergymen, that very few were prepared to accept the statement that the clergy of this country and of England lived longer than any other class, except farmers; and very naturally a lurking fallacy was suspected. Other observers, who have since given special attention to the subject, have more than confirmed this conclusion, and have shown that clergymen are longer lived than farmers.” “A list of 10,000 is sufficient and more than sufficient for a generalization; for the second 5,000 did nothing more than confirm the result obtained by the first. It is fair and necessary to infer that if the list were extended to 10,000, 20,000, or even 100,000, the average would be found about the same.” “In their manifold duties their whole nature is exercised — not only brain and muscle in general, but all, or nearly all, the faculties of the brain — the religious, moral, and emotional nature, as well as the reason. Public speaking, when not carried to the extreme of exhaustion, is the best form of gymnastics that is known; it exercises every inch of a man, from the highest regions of the brain to the smallest muscle.” “The average income of the clergymen of the leading denominations of this country in active service as pastors of churches (including salary, house rent, wedding fees, donations, etc.), is between $800 and $1000, which is probably not very much smaller than the net income of all other professional classes. Furthermore, the income of clergymen in active service is collected and paid with greater certainty and regularity, and less labor of collection on their part, than the income of any other class except, perhaps, government officials; then, again, their earnings, whether small or great, come at once, as soon as they enter their profession, and is not, as with other callings, built up by slow growth.” “Merchants now make, always have made, and probably always will make, most of the money of the world; but business is attended with so much risk and uncertainty, and consequent anxiety, that merchants die sooner than clergymen, and several years sooner than physicians and lawyers.” “During the past 15 years, there has been a tendency, which is now rapidly increasing, for the best endowed and best cultured minds of our colleges to enter other professions, and the ministry has been losing, while medicine, business, and science have been gaining.”

There are those who come into life thus weighted down, not by disease, not by transmitted poison in the blood, but by the tendency to disease, by a sensitiveness to evil and enfeebling forces that seems to make almost every external influence a means of torture; as soon as they are born, debility puts its terrible bond upon them, and will not let them go, but plays the tyrant with them until they die. Such persons in infancy are often on the point of dying, though they may not die; in childhood numberless physical ills attack them and hold them down, and, though not confining them to home, yet deprive them, perhaps, of many childish delights; in early maturity an army of abnormal nervous sensations is waiting for them, the gauntlet of which they must run if they can; and throughout life every function seems to be an enemy.

The compensations of this type of organization are quite important and suggestive, and are most consolatory to sufferers. Among these compensations, this perhaps is worthy of first mention — that this very fineness of temperament, which is the source of nervousness, is also the source of exquisite pleasure. Highly sensitive natures respond to good as well as evil factors in their environment, salutary as well as pernicious stimuli are ever operating upon them, and their capacity for receiving, for retaining, and for multiplying the pleasures derived from external stimuli is proportionally greater than that of cold and stolid organizations: if they are plunged into a deeper hell, they also rise to a brighter heaven (…) art, literature, travel, social life, and solitude, pour out on them their selected treasures; they live not one life but many lives, and all joy is for them variously multiplied. To such temperaments the bare consciousness of living, when life is not attended by excessive exhaustion or by pain, or when one’s capacity for mental or muscular toil is not too closely tethered, is often-times a supreme felicity. The true psychology of happiness is gratification of faculties, and when the nervous are able to indulge even moderately and with studied caution and watchful anxiety their controlling desires of the nobler order, they may experience an exquisiteness of enjoyment that serves, in a measure, to reward them for their frequent distresses.”

The physician who collects his fee before his patient has quite recovered, does a wise thing, since it will be paid more promptly and more gratefully than after the recovery is complete.”

Nervous organizations are rarely without reminders of trouble that they escape — their occasional wakefulness and indigestion, their headaches and backaches and neuralgias, their disagreeable susceptibility to all evil influences that may act on the constitution, keep them ever in sight of the possibility of wliat they might have been, and suggest to them sufferings that others endure, but from which they are spared.”

While it is true that pain is more painful than its absence is agreeable, so that we think more of what is evil than of what is good in our environment, and dwell longer on the curses than the blessings of our lot, and fancy all others happier than ourselves, yet it is true likewise that our curses make the blessings more blissful by contrast”

There are those who though never well are yet never sick, always in bondage to debility and pain, from which absolute escape is impossible, yet not without large liberty of labor and of thought” “Such persons may be exposed to every manner of poison, may travel far and carelessly with recklessness, even may disregard many of the prized rules of health; may wait upon and mingle with the sick, and breathe for long periods the air of hospitals or of fever-infested dwellings, and come out apparently unharmed.”

This recuperative tendency of the nervous system is stronger, often-times, than the accumulating poison of disease, and overmasters the baneful effects of unwise medication and hygiene. Between the ages of 25 and 35, especially, the constitution often consolidates as well as grows, acquires power as well as size, and throws off, by a slow and invisible evolution, the subtile habits of nervous disease, over which treatment the most judicious and persistent seems to have little or no influence. There would appear to be organizations which at certain times of life must needs pass through the dark valley of nervous depression, and who cannot be saved therefrom by any manner of skill or prevision; who must not only enter into this valley, but, having once entered, cannot turn back: the painful, and treacherous, and agonizing horror, wisdom can but little shorten, and ordinary misdoing cannot make perpetual; they are as sure to come out as to go in; health and disease move in rhythm; the tides in the constitution are as demonstrable as the tides of the ocean, and are sometimes but little more under human control.” It is an important consolation for those who are in the midst of an attack of sick-headache, for example, that the natural history of the disease is in their favor. In a few days at the utmost, in a few hours frequently, the storm will be spent, and again the sky will be clear, and perhaps far clearer than before the storm arose.” nearly all severe pain is periodic, intermittent, rhythmical: the violent neuralgias are never constant, but come and go by throbs, and spasms, and fiercely-darting agonies, the intervals of which are absolute relief. After the exertion expended in attacks of pain, the tired nerve-atoms must need repose. Sometimes the cycles of debility, alternating with strength, extend through long years — a decade of exhaustion being followed by a decade of vigor.”

There are those who pass through an infancy of weakness and suffering and much pain, and through a childhood and early manhood in which the game of life seems to be a losing one, to a healthy and happy maturity; all that is best in their organizations seems to be kept in reserve, as though to test their faith, and make the boon of strength more grateful when it comes.”

Perfect health is by no means the necessary condition of long life; in many ways, indeed, it may shorten life; grave febrile and inflammatory diseases are invited and fostered by it, and made fatal, and the self-guarding care, without which great longevity is almost impossible, is not enforced or even suggested.” “Headaches, and backaches, and neuralgias, are safety-valves through which nerve-perturbations escape, and which otherwise might become centres of accumulated force, and break forth with destruction beyond remedy. The liability to sudden attacks of any form of pain, or distress, or discomfort, under overtoil or from disregard of natural law, is, so far forth, a blessing to its possessor, making imperative the need of foresight and practical wisdom in the management of health, and warning us in time to avoid irreparable disaster. The nervous man hears the roar of the breakers from afar, while the strong and phlegmatic steers boldly, blindly on, until he is cast upon the shore, often-times a hopeless wreck.”

A neurastenia também tem o nome de “cãibra do escritor”. No trecho a seguir, a referida “cãibra” está mais próxima de um surto neurastênico agudo, do qual, defende Beard, o ‘nervoso típico’ está protegido: “Those who are sensitive, and nervous, and delicate, whom every external or internal irritation injures, and who appreciate physical injury instantly, as soon as the exciting cause begins to act, cannot write long enough to get writer’s cramp; they are warned by uneasiness or pain, by weariness, local or general, and are forced to interrupt their labors before there has been time to receive a fixed or persistent disease.” “had they been feeble they would have been unable to persevere in the use of the pen so as to invite permanent nervous disorder.” Without such warnings they might have continued in a life of excessive friction and exhausting worry, and never have suspected that permanent invalidism was in waiting for them, until too late to save themselves either by hygiene or medication. When a man is prostrated nervously, all the forces of nature rush to his rescue; but the strong man, once fully fallen, rallies with difficulty, and the health-evolving powers may find a task to which, aided or unaided, they are inadequate.”

The history of the world’s progress from savagery to barbarism, from barbarism to civilization, and, in civilization, from the lower degrees towards the higher, is the history of increase in average longevity, corresponding to and accompanied by increase of nervousness. Mankind has grown to be at once more delicate and more enduring, more sensitive to weariness and yet more patient of toil, impressible but capable of bearing powerful irritation: we are woven of finer fibre, which, though apparently frail, yet outlasts the coarser, as rich and costly garments often-times wear better than those of rougher workmanship.”

Among our educated classes there are nervous invalids in large numbers, who have never known by experience what it is to be perfectly well or severely ill, whose lives have been not unlike a march through a land infested by hostile tribes, that ceaselessly annoy in front and on flank, without ever coming to a decisive conflict, and who, in advanced age, seem to have gained wariness, and toughness, and elasticity, by the long discipline of caution, of courage, and of endurance; and, after having seen nearly all their companions, whose strength they envied, struck down by disease, are themselves spared to enjoy, it may be, their best days, at a time when, to the majority, the grasshopper becomes a burden, and life each day a visibly losing conflict with death.” “the irritability, the sensitiveness, the capriciousness of the constitution, between the ages of 15 and 45, have, in a degree, disappeared, and the system has acquired a certain solidity, steadiness, and power; and thus, after a long voyage against opposing winds and fretting currents, they enter the harbor in calmness and peace.”

MEU SÉCULO ME IMPEDE DE COMPARTILHAR DESTE OTIMISMO: “It may be doubted whether, in the history of disease of any kind, there has been made so decided and so satisfactory an advance as has been made within the last quarter of a century, in the treatment of nervousness in its various manifestations.” “One great factor in the modern treatment of these functional nervous diseases is individualization, no two cases being treated precisely alike, but each one being studied by itself alone. Among wise physicians, the day for wholesale treatment of nervous diseases can never return. The result of all this progress is, that thousands who formerly would have suffered all their lives, and with no other relief except that which comes from the habitual addiction to narcotics, can now be cured, or permanently relieved, or at least put into working order where they are most useful and happy.” if all new modes of action of nerve-force are to be so many added pathways to sorrow,—if each fresh discovery or invention is to be matched by some new malady of the nerves,—if insanity and epilepsy and neurasthenia, with their retinue of neuroses, through the cruel law of inheritance, are to be organized in families, descending in fiery streams throught the generations, we yet have this assurance,—that science, with keen eyes and steps that are not slow, is seeking and is finding means of prevention and of relief.”

5. PHYSICAL FUTURE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE [epílogo cagado e ‘poliânico’ totalmente desnecessário]

This increase of neuroses cannot be arrested suddenly; it must yet go on for at least 25 or 50 years, when all of these disorders shall be both more numerous and more heterogenous than at present. But side by side with these are already developing signs of improved health and vigor that cannot be mistaken; and the time must come—not unlikely in the first half of the 20th century—when there will be a halt or retrograde movement in the march of nervous diseases, and while the absolute number of them may be great, relatively to the population, they will be less frequent than now; the evolution of health, and the evolution of nervousness, shall go on side by side.”

Health is the offspring of relative wealth.” “febrile and inflammatory disorders, plagues, epidemics, great accidents and catastrophes even, visit first and last and remain longest with those who have no money.” the absence of all but forced vacations—the result, and one of the worst results, of poverty—added to the corroding force of envy, and the friction of useless struggle,—all these factors that make up or attend upon simple want of money, are in every feature antagonistic to health and longevity. Only when the poor become absolute paupers, and the burden of life is taken from them and put upon the State or public charity, are they in a condition of assured health and long life.” “The inmates of our public institutions of charity of the modern kind are often the happiest of men, blessed with an environment, on the whole, far more salubrious than that to which they have been accustomed, and favorably settled for a serene longevity.” “For the same reasons, well-regulated jails are healthier than many homes, and one of the best prescriptions for the broken-down and distressed is for them to commit some crime.”

A fat bank account tends to make a fat man; in all countries, amid all stages of civilization and semi-barbarism, the wealthy classes have been larger and heavier than the poor.” “In India this coincidence of corpulence and opulence has been so long observed that it is instinctively assumed; and certain Brahmins, it is said, in order to obtain the reputation of wealth, studiously cultivate a diet adapted to make them fat.”

The majority of our Pilgrim Fathers in New England, and of the primitive settlers in the Southern and Middle States, really knew but little of poverty in the sense in which the term is here used. They were an eminently thrifty people, and brought with them both the habits and the results of thrift to their homes in the New World. Poverty as here described is of a later evolution, following in this country, as in all others, the pathway of a high civilization.”

the best of all antidotes and means of relief for nervous disease is found in philosophy.” Thus it is in part that Germany, which in scientific and philosophic discovery does the thinking for all nations, and which has added more to the world’s stock of purely original ideas than any other country, Greece alone excepted, is less nervous than any other nation; thus it is also that America, which in the same department has but fed on the crumbs that fall from Germany’s table, has developed a larger variety and number of functional nervous diseases than all other nations combined.”

The capacity for growth in any given direction, physical or mental, is always limited; no special gift of body or mind can be cultivated beyond a certain point, however great the tenderness and care bestowed upon it.”

In man, that higher operation of the faculties which we call genius is hereditary, transmissible, running through and in families as demonstrably as pride or hay-fever, the gifts as well as the sins of the fathers being visited upon the children and the children’s children; general talent, or some special talent, in one or both parents rises and expands in immediate or remote offspring, and ultimately flowers out into a Socrates, a Shakespeare, a Napoleon, and then falls to the ground”

That a single family may rise to enduring prominence and power, it is needful that through long generations scores of families shall endure poverty and pain and struggle with cruel surroundings”

The America of the future, as the America of the present, must be a nation where riches and culture are restricted to the few—to a body, however, the personnel of which is constantly changing.”

Inebriety being a type of the nervous diseases of the family to which it belongs, may properly be here defined and differentiated from the vice and habit of drinking with which it is confounded. The functional nervous disease inebriety, or dipsomania, differs from the simple vice of drinking to excess in these respects:


The simple habit of drinking even to an extreme degree may be broken up by pledges or by word promises or by quiet resolution, but the disease inebriety can be no more cured in this way than can neuralgia or sick-headache, or neurasthenia, or hay-fever, or any of the family of diseases to which it belongs.


Of the nervous symptoms that precede, or accompany, or follow inebriety, are tremors, hallucinations, insomnia, mental depressions, and attacks of trance, to which I give the term alcoholic trance.


even drunkenness in a parent or grandparent may develop in children epilepsy or insanity, or neurasthenia or inebriety.


The attacks of inebriety may be periodical; they may appear once a month, and with the same regularity as chills and fever or sick-headache, and far more regularly than epilepsy, and quite independent of any external temptation or invitation to drink, and oftentimes are as irresistible and beyond the control of will as spasms of epilepsy or the pains of neuralgia or the delusions of insanity. Inebriety is not so frequent among the classes that drink excessively as among those who drink but moderately, although their ancestors may have been intemperate; it is most frequent in the nervous and highly organized classes, among the brain-workers, those who have lived indoors; there is more excessive drinking West and South than in the East, but more inebriety in the East.”

probably no country outside of China uses, in proportion to population, so much opium as America, and as the pains and nervousness and debility that tempt to the opium habit are on the increase, the habit must inevitably develop more rapidly in the future than in the past; of hay-fever there must, in a not very distant time, be at least 100,000 cases in America, and in the 20th century hundreds of thousands of insane and neurasthenics.”

There must be, also, an increasing number of people who cannot bear severe physical exercise. Few facts relating to this subject are more instructive than this — the way in which horseback-riding is borne by many in modern times. In our country, I meet with large numbers who cannot bear the fatigue of horseback-riding, which used to be looked upon — possibly is looked upon to-day — as one of the best forms of exercise, and one that is recommended as a routine by physicians who are not discriminating in dealing with nervously-exhausted patients.” The greatest possible care and the best judgment are required in prescribing and adapting horseback-riding to nervous individuals of either sex; it is necessary to begin cautiously, to go on a walk for a few moments; and even after long training excess is followed by injury, in many cases.”

ANTIRRUBENISMO: “If either extreme is to be chosen, it is well, on the whole, to err on the side of rest rather than on the side of excess of physical exertion.”

Why Education is behind other Sciences and Arts? Schools and colleges everywhere are the sanctuaries of medievalism, since their aim and their powers are more for retaining what has been discovered than for making new discoveries; consequently we cannot look to institutions or organizations of education for the reconstruction of that system by which they enslave the world and are themselves enslaved. It is claimed by students of Chinese character that that great nation has been kept stationary through its educational policy — anchored for centuries to competitive examinations which their strong nerves can bear while they make no progress. In a milder way, and in divers and fluctuating degrees, all civilized nations take their inspiration from China, since it is the office and life of teaching to look backward rather than forward; in the relations of men as in physics, force answers to force, and as the first, like the second childhood is always reactionary, a class of youths tend by their collective power to bring the teacher down more than he can lift them up. Only conservative natures are fond of teaching; organizations are always in the path of their own reconstruction; mediocrity begets mediocrity, attracts it, and is attracted by it. Whence all our institutions become undying centres of conservatism. The force that reconstructs an organization must come from outside the body that is to be reconstructed.”

The Gospel of Rest. The gospel of work must make way for the gospel of rest. The children of the past generation were forced, driven, stimulated to work, and in forms most repulsive, the philosophy being that utility is proportioned to pain; that to be happy is to be doing wrong, hence it is needful that studies should not only be useless but repelling, and should be pursued by those methods which, on trial, proved the most distressing, wearisome, and saddening. That this philosophy has its roots in a certain truth psychology allows, but the highest wisdom points also to another truth, the need of the agreeable; our children must be driven from study and all toil, and in many instances coaxed, petted, and hired to be idle; we must drive them away from schools as our fathers drove them towards the schools; one must be each moment awake and alive and active, to keep a child from stealthily learning to read; our cleverest offspring loves books more than play, and truancies [matar aula] and physical punishments are far rarer than half a century ago.”

From investigations at Darmstadt, Paris, and Neuremburg, Dr. Treichler concludes that one-third of the pupils suffer more or less from some form of headache. It is not probable that these headaches in children are the result purely of intellectual exertion, but of intellectual exertion combined with bad air, with the annoyances and excitements and worries, the wasting and rasping anxieties of school life.”

Even studies that are agreeable and in harmony with the organs, and to which tastes and talents are irresistibly inclined, are pursued at an expenditure of force which is far too great for many nervously organized temperaments. I have lately had under my care a newly married lady who for some years has been in a state of neurasthenia of a severe character, and of which the exciting cause was devotion to music at home; long hours at the piano, acting on a neurasthenic temperament, given to her by inheritance, had developed morbid fears and all the array of nervous symptoms that cluster around them, so that despite her fondness for a favorite art she was forced to abandon it, and from that time was dated her improvement, though at the time that I was called in to see her she had yet a long way to travel before she would reach even approximate health.”

The reconstruction of the principles of evidence, the primary need of all philosophy, which cannot much longer be delayed, is to turn nearly all that we call history into myth, and destroy and overthrow beyond chance of resurrection all but a microscopic fraction of the world’s reasoning. Of the trifle that is saved, the higher wisdom of coming generations will know and act upon the knowledge that a still smaller fraction is worthy of being taught, or even remembered by any human being.” A tragédia é que uma filosofia do conhecimento só pode vir depois da burra e didática memorização de fatos tão lineares quanto sem nexo. Ou seja: chega-se ao ideal da educação quando ela já está finalizada ou, antes, só se chega ao suposto ideal, descobrindo-se que o começo devera ter sido diferente, quando o começo se sedimentou. Pode-se ensinar certo, mas não se pode aprender certo!

The fact that anything is known, and true and important for some is of itself no reason why all should know or attempt to know it”

Our children are coaxed, cajoled, persuaded, enticed, bluffed, bullied, and driven into the study of ancient and modern tongues; though the greatest men in all languages, whose writings are the inspiration to the study of languages themselves knew no language but their own; and, in all the loftiest realms of human creative power the best work has been done, and is done today, by those who are mostly content with the language in which they were cradled.” “of all accomplishments, the ability to speak and write in many tongues is the poorest barometer of intellectual force, and the least satisfactory for happiness and practical use”

Shakespeare, drilled in modern gymnasia and universities, might have made a fair school-master, but would have kept the world out of Hamlet and Othello.”

Of the sciences multiplying everyday, but few are to be known by any one individual; he who has studied enough of the systematized knowledge of men, and looked far enough in various directions in which it leads to know which his tastes and environment best adapt him to follow, and who resolutely obeys his tastes, even in opposition to all teachers,(*) philosophers, and scholars, has won the battle of life” Mementos: Jabur, Edsono (um representante dos jornalistas e um dos pseudossociofiloepistemólogos)

the study of the art of thinking, of the philosophy of reasoning, in mathematics, poetry, science, literature, or language, is the best exercise for those who would gain this mental discipline”

O coach está para para o acadêmico de hoje como os sofistas estavam para os filósofos jônicos e eleatas da Grécia Antiga: é um sintoma da crise e insustentabilidade desse modo de conhecimento, mas tampouco chega a lugar algum. Prenuncia um tipo de Sócrates que vem aí?

In all spheres of thought, the most hospitable of intellects, the most generous in their welcome to new truths or dreams of truth are those who have once learned the great secret of life—how to forget.”

GUSMÓN: “Conscientious professors in colleges often-times exhort their graduates to keep up some of the studies of college life during the activity of years — if those graduates are ever to do much in the world, it is by doing precisely NOT what they are thus advised to do.”

ESPECIALISTA AGRAMATICAL: “The details of geography, of mathematics, and of languages, ancient as well as modern, of most of the sciences, ought, and fortunately are, forgotten almost as soon as learned, save by those who become life-experts in these special branches”

The systems of Froebel and Pestalozzi, and the philosophy of Rousseau in his Émile, analyzed and formulated in physiological language is, in substance, that it costs less force and is more natural and easy to get into a house through the doors, than to break down the walls, or come through the roof, or climb up from the cellar. Modern education is burglary; we force ideas into the brain through any other pathway and every other way except the doors and windows, and then we are astonished that they are unwelcome and so quickly expelled.”

they see with the mind’s eye, though we close their eyelids.”

Medicine has been taught in all our schools in a way the most unphilosophical, and despite all the modifications and improvements of late years, by bedside teaching and operations and demonstrations, the system of medical education is in need of reconstruction from the foundation; it begins where it should end; it feeds the tree through the leaves and branches instead of through the roots; physiology itself is taught unphysiologically; the conventional, hereditary, orthodox style is, for the student to take systematic text-books, go through them systematically from beginning to end, and attend systematic lectures, reserving study at the bedside for the middle and later years of his study; the didactic instruction coming first, and the practical instruction and individual observation coming last. Psychology and experience require that this should be reversed; the first years of the medical student’s life should be given to the bedside, the laboratory and dissecting room, and the principles of systematic instruction should be kept for the last years, and then used very sparingly. The human mind does not work systematically, and all new truths enter most easily and are best retained when they enter in psychological order. System in text-books is a tax on the nerve-force, costly both of time and of energy, and it is only by forgetting what has been taught them in the schools that men even attain eminence in the practice of medicine.

The first lesson and the first hour of medical study should be at the bedside of the sick man; before reading a book or hearing a lecture, or even knowing of the existence of a disease, the student should see the disease, and then, after having seen it and been instructed in reference to it, his reading will be a thousand-fold more profitable than it would had he read first and seen the case afterwards. Every practitioner with any power of analyzing his own mental operations knows that his reading of disease is always more intelligent after he has had a case, or while he has a case under treatment under his own eyes, and he knows also that all his reading of abstract, systematic books is of but little worth to him when he meets his first case, unless he re-read, and if he do so, he will find that he has forgotten all he has read before, and he will find, also, that he never understood what he read, and perhaps thoroughly and accurately recited on examination. By this method one shall learn more what is worth learning of medicine in one month, than now we learn in a year, under the common system, and what is learned will be in hand and usable, and will be obtained at incommensurably less cost of energy, as well as of time. So-called <systematic instruction> is the most extravagant form of instruction and is really no instruction, since the information which it professes to give does not enter the brain of the student, though the words in which it is expressed may be retained, and recited or written out on examination. I read the other day an opening lecture by a professor in one of our chief medical schools. I noticed that the professor apologized for being obliged to begin with what was dry and uninteresting, but stated that in a systematic course it was necessary to do so. It will not be his fault only, but rather the fault of the machinery of which he is one of the wheels, if the students who listen to and take notes of and worry over his lecture, never know what he means; 5 minutes study of a case of rheumatism or an inflamed joint, under the aid of an expert instructor, will give a person more knowledge of inflammation, in relation to the practice of medicine, than a year of lectures on that subject.

I make particular reference to medical education, not because it is the leading offender, but because it has made greater progress, perhaps, than almost any other kind of modern education.” and the time will come when men shall read with amusement and horror of intelligent, human, and responsible young men beginning a medical course by listening to systematic abstract lectures.” 140 anos e nada…

In theological seminaries, students are warned about preaching, or speaking, or lecturing during their 1st or 2nd year, and tied and chained down to lectures and homiletics, and theology and history” Nothing David (or Solomon) would be good at…

Aside from the study of language, which is a separate matter, the first day’s work in a theological school should be the writing or preparing a sermon, and homiletics should follow — not precede.”

All languages should be learned as we learn our own language — not through grammars or dictionaries, but through conversation and reading, the grammars and dictionaries being reserved for a more advanced stage of investigation and for reference, just as in the language in which we were born.”

I applaud the English because they boast of their ignorance of American geography; of what worth to them, of what worth to most of us whether Montana be in California, or Alaska be or be not the capital of Arizona?”

The Harvard professor who says that when students enter his room his desire is, not to find out what they knew, but what they did not know, ought to have been born in the 20th century, and possibly in the 30th, for his philosophy is so sound and so well grounded psychology that he cannot hope to have it either received or comprehended in his lifetime; and the innovation that Harvard has just promised, of having the teacher recite and the pupils ask the questions, is one of the few gleams of light in the great darkness by which this whole subject of education has been enveloped.”

EDSONO’S EXQUISITE CLASS OF TORTURE (2009): Lectures, except they be of a clinical sort [belo troca-trilho!], in which appeals are made to the senses, cost so much in nerve-force, in those that listen to them, that the world cannot much longer afford to indulge in them and the information they give is of a most unsatisfactory sort, since questioning, and interruption, and repetition, and reviewing are scarcely possible (…) The human brain is too feeble and limited an organ to catch a new idea when first stated, and if the idea be not new it is useless to state it.”

ServIce on dem and us

dire dim straits

a threat!

One of the pleasantest memories in my life, is that, during my medical education, I did not attend one lecture out of 12 — save those of a clinical sort — that were delivered (brilliant and able as some of them were) in the college where I studied, and my regret is that the poverty of medical literature at that time compelled me to attend even those. All the long lectures in my academical course at the college were useful to me — and I think were useful to all my classmates — only by enforcing the necessity, and inspiring the habit of enduring passively and patiently what we know to be in all respects painful and pernicious, providing we have no remedy.”

Original thinkers and discoverers, and writers are objects of increasing worry on the part of their relatives and friends lest they break down from overwork; whereas, it is not so much these great thinkers as the young school-girl or bank clerk that needs our sympathy.”

In England during the last summer, I attempted, without any human beings on whom to experiment, to explain some of the theories and philosophies of trance before an audience composed of the very best physiologists and psychologists of Europe, and with no hetter success than at home. If I had had but one out of the 20 or 30 cases on whom I have lately experimented, to illustrate and enforce my views, there would have been, I am sure, no difficulty in making clear not only the facts, but what is of chief importance, the interpretation of the facts.”

Modern competitive examinations are but slightly in advance of the system of recitations and lectures. They seem to have been invented by someone who wished to torture rather than benefit mankind, and whose philosophy was: whatever is disagreeable is useful, and that the temporary accumulation of facts is true wisdom, and an accurate measure of cerebral force.”

Knowing by heart is not knowing at all” Montaigne

the greatest fool may often pass the best examination [Exemplo contemporâneo: ‘Patrick Damascenos’ se tornando médicos diplomados por universidades federais – no mínimo os minions esquecem o que aprendem em História após 30 dias (‘conteúdo inútil’, etc.), embora apostilas do Sigma ou Galois nunca fossem lá muito confiáveis, para início de conversa…]; no wise man can always tell what he knows; ideas come by suggestion rather than by order; you must wait for their appearing at their own time and not at ours” “he who can always tell what he knows, knows little worth knowing.”

The first signs of ascension, as of declension, in nations are seen in women.”

palace cars and elevators and sewing machines are types of recent improvements that help to diminish the friction of modern life. Formerly [!!!] inventors increased the friction of our lives and made us nervous.” E que diabos eram palace cars?

The Germanization of America — by which I mean the introduction through very extensive immigration, of German habits and character — is a phenomenon which can now be observed, even by the dullest and nearest-sighted, in the large cities of the Northern portion of our country.” O nazismo foi o último a chegar.

tending to displace pernicious whiskey by less pernicious beer and wine, setting the example of coolness and calmness, which the nervously exhausted American very much needs.”

Tempos em que valia a pena se conservar: “We have been all English in our conservatism, a quality which has increased in proportion as we have gained anything of wealth or character or any manifestation of force whatsoever, that is worth preserving.” Hoje os americanos são azeitonas vencidas em conserva.

after such a vacation one needed a vacation.”

The nervousness of the third generation of Germans [?] is a fact that comes to my professional notice more and more.”

Not only are the <ha, ha’s> [RONALDINHO SOCCER!], of which so much [mundial] SPORT was once made, heard much less frequently than formerly in public meetings, but there is a positive ease and attractiveness to very many of the English speakers in and out of Parliament, in the pulpit and on the platform, that is thoroughly American” it was proved that if all the [congress] speakers continued to speak as often and as elaborately as they had been speaking, a number of years would be required before they could adjourn [se significa entrar em recesso ou perder a próxima eleição, deixo a critério do leitor de criptas!].”

the forces that renovate and save are mightier far than the forces that emasculate and destroy.”

Não sei se chamo o comentário de genial ou estúpido: “The American race, it is said, is dying out; but there is no American race. Americans are the union of European races and peoples, as lakes are fed by many streams, and can only disappear with the exhaustion of its sources. Europe must die before America. In sections of America, as in New England, and in large cities, the number of children to a family in certain classes is too small for increase of population.” Uma eterna sucessão de sins e nãos no melhor estilo Cleber Machado!

Felizmente o Deus Europeu-Ocidental morreu e a Ásia com seu rostinho de beldade imortal de 20 aninhos vem aí…


Trad. Carlos Manzano (1973, 1975)


capellone: (it.): cabeludo

engreimiento: presunção

gagà (it.): presumida


El problema de la preferencia (o de la proairesis para los griegos) es un problema candente, por el cual se suele mostrar demasiado poco interés.” Em síntese, o problema monumental para o qual as massas não estão maduras (talvez jamais estejam): a relatividade e o absoluto envolvidos no <gosto>.


A supostamente utópica ou impossível DISCUSSÃO DO GOSTO após a Metafísica.

Até que ponto e mediante que meios é possível determinar as razões primordiais que me permitem considerar algo como preferível e atribuir um significado a tal preferência?”

Superioridade intrínseca e escala de valores.


mosaico de opções”

Que peso tem a preferência do indivíduo contra a das massas?”

Se não se pode discutir a arte, não se pode discutir mais nada.

Hume (Of the standard of taste), ensaísta e crítico do lado de lá (metafísico): a moral bíblico-alcorânica e o drama sanguinolento são inaceitáveis.

Zeitgeist da aletheia e do Belo.

SEMÂNTICA AUTOGENÉTICA: Fragmentação pós-moderna. Morte da Zeitgeist. Coabitação virtual de todas as Zeitgeister no mesmo indivíduo. Fim de um ciclo milenar e início do IMPÉRIO DA ESQUIZOFRENIA, que não sabemos quanto tempo durará.

a necessidade de restabelecer, com critérios diferentes, um critério valorativo [valor dos valores] para aplicação aos fenômenos da vida, da arte e da sociedade.”

as enquetes de Kinsey, método contestável”

Vejamos alguns exemplos de vanguardas artísticas consideradas escandalosas quando apareceram: 1) numa galeria romana, o pintor Kounellis apresentou o quadro de uma mulher grávida, nua, por cujo ventre passeavam algumas baratas; 2) o artista americano Acconci, em NY, apresentava-se confinado em uma cabine estreita de madeira dentro da qual se entregava à masturbação; 3) na exposição Documenta de Kassel (1972), o romano Vettor Pisani expôs uma mulher nua (que vinha a ser sua irmã), cujo pescoço tinha uma argola metálica, e Pisani lhe aplicava uma <tortura simulada>, cutucando uma ferida falsa pintada na perna da modelo; 4) a escultora polaca Alina Szapocznikow expunha em Paris (1970) alguns <tumores>, modelados em plástico, hiperrealistas; 5) o artista austríaco Herman Nitsch alugou um castelo nos arredores de Viena (1968-72) para representar seu <teatro das orgias e dos mistérios> (Orgien und Mysterien Theater): tratavam-se de matanças <rituais> de cordeiros e bezerros, com cujo sangue e tripas os expectadores eram banhados; para isso, Nitsch usava condutos especialmente concebidos, que derramavam o sangue e pedaços dos intestinos sobre o público; o roteiro incluía a participação dos expectadores, que deviam, além de receber os restos mortais dos animais, besuntar-se a si mesmos e aos seus vizinhos com seus próprios excrementos; havia uma série de outros <jogos> sado-masoquistas na exposição, como a celebração de missas hereges e a crucificação simbólica de algumas das ovelhas. Aos interessados, uma descrição detalhada e explicação crítica deste evento figuram em PETER GORSEN, Das Prinzip Obszön, Rowohlt Verlag, Hamburgo, 1969,(*) pp. 114-5, que transcreve também um comunicado da polícia austríaca proibindo esse gênero de <espetáculo aberrante>. Segundo Nitsch, em carta ao próprio Gorsen, o cordeiro crucificado representa simultaneamente o Pai, o Rei, a autoridade política, o ídolo estatal, a divindade. Em suma, tratava-se de uma revivificação dos cultos dionisíacos (<A revolução é um fenômeno dionisíaco>, diz Nitsch), conducentes à liberação do homem de seus tabus religiosos e políticos. (…) É típico de nossa época pretender ressuscitar cultos e práticas iniciáticos ou pseudo-mágicos pertencentes a culturas antigas, em que ditas práticas possuíam ou podiam possuir um valor autêntico; hoje sua <imitação> – seja mediante a astrologia, alucinógenos, ritos budistas, mistérios dionisíaco-órficos como neste caso, ginástica iogue, etc. – tende a ser daninha e contraproducente a despeito da intenção autoral.

(*) Até o momento, o volume-resenha mais completo sobre as relações entre arte, pornografia e sociedade.”

Exemplos como os acima multiplicam-se em outros segmentos: já pude discorrer em outra obra sobre o caso do musicólogo que gravou em fita magnética os últimos gemidos de um homem agonizante após um acidente de trânsito; bastante conhecido é ainda o caso do cineasta japonês que filmou o transcurso dos últimos instantes da vida de seu pai moribundo de câncer.”

um deslizamento (contínuo) do significado por debaixo do significanteLacan

Conceito de ASSIMETRIA ESTÉTICA por VON WRIGHT (ou mais bem uma primeira lei da assimetria): “Assimetria significa que se um estado é preferido em relação a outro, necessariamente o segundo estado não é preferido em detrimento do primeiro; i.e., pelo mesmo sujeito na mesma ocasião” Relação subsumida na fórmula-função (pPq) ~(qPp), p≠q.

O assimétrico é a premissa de qualquer proairesis.” “O simétrico se identifica com a geometrização mórbida da esquizofrenia.” Paradoxo: a ERA DA ASSIMETRIA é a ERA DA ESQUIZOFRENIA. Que seja apenas um estágio transitório entre duas eras mais autênticas, não destrói-se a contradição inerente. Resta saber se ficaremos indefinidamente presos a uma simulação indefinida desta mesma condição, como diz Baudrillard, ou se essa dialética deixa de ser estéril e se torna propulsora da superação em algum momento. Em suma, se o “novo elemento” vitorioso será ou seguirá sendo a esquizofrenia, em seu sentido pejorativo, ou a assimetria. Em busca de uma nova simetria, de um novo pathos normal.

moral corrente: contradição em termos! moral petrificada



belief is nothing but a strong and lively idea derived from a present impression (perception) related to it” HUME, A Treatise of Human Nature, 1739

A maioria das vezes, os lingüistas realizam o estudo dessas modificações [de significante-significado] exclusivamente por zelo científico e erudito, sem ter em conta adequadamente as premissas socioantropológicas que as originam (ou, se se quer, invertendo os termos da proposição no sentido de Whorf, até que se vejam as próprias premissas socioantropológicas determinadas por tais modificações!).”

Quando, p.ex., um termo como o italiano testa (para nos atermos a um dos exemplos oferecidos por Guiraud, La sémantique), originariamente uma metáfora estilística nascida da associação da cabeça (caput) com o vaso de terracota (latim testa), passou a significar cabeça, com o que se semantizou de outro modo, enquanto que – acrescentaria eu – em outras línguas românicas adquiriu um significado mais parcial e setorial: testa em português = <frente> ou, inclusive, permaneceu unido ao lexema antigo (cabeza em espanhol = caput), etc., encontramo-nos perante um exemplo fácil do difícil que resulta <prognosticar> a evolução semântica de um termo – do difícil que resulta a previsão de um significado –, mas ao mesmo tempo da importância que pode ter para os efeitos denotativos e conotativos de uma língua o fato de que se produzam semelhantes transformações.

Outro exemplo: a palavra italiana finestra – em espanhol ventana, em português janela – apresenta, ainda considerando só estes 3 idiomas, conotações completamente diferentes, relacionadas com as condições de <abertura ao exterior> (finestra e também no caso do alemão fenster), de <proteção contra o vento> (ventana e também no caso do inglês window) ou de <porta pequena> (janela, de janua).”

Our ideia of necessity and causation arises entirely from the uniformity observable in the operations of Nature.” Hume

Max Müller, para quem a própria interpretação falsa ou aberrante de algumas normas é a que abre caminho para muitas interpretações míticas destinadas a se consolidar depois com o hábito e a adquirir valor de norma. Müller explica as razões do mito de Deucalião e Pirra, que fazem nascer os homens das pedras, pela analogia entre as expressões laoi e laas; e o mito de Dafne, transformada em planta de laurel, pelo fato de que a palavra dafne tem a mesma raiz sânscrita ahana, que significa aurora, etc.” “Pouco tempo depois Cassirer viria a refutar tal teoria, detalhadamente.”

Segundo Julius Schwabe (em seu riquíssimo volume sobre os signos do zodíaco, Archetyp und Tierkreis. Grundlinien einer kosmischen Symbolik und Mythologie, 1951), a constelação de Gêmeos conotava no passado um elemento masculino em Pólux e outro feminino (ou fracamente masculino) em Cástor. Prova-o o fato de que entre os romanos os homens <juravam a Pólux> e as mulheres a Cástor. Outra prova desta masculinidade duvidosa de um dos gêmeos da constelação seria seu próprio nome, que apresenta um evidente significado castratório, como, além do mais, a própria lenda sobre o animal castor. De acordo com a lenda, esse animal, quando caçado, preferia autocastrar-se antes que ver-se privado de seus testículos pelo caçador: segundo os antigos, nestes órgãos encontrava-se uma substância utilíssima para o preparo de medicamentos contra a histeria, o tifo e outras doenças.”

Segundo a concepção da alternância de grandes ciclos temporais (que alguns chamam de <grande ano platônico>), à medida que avançam as diferentes constelações no céu, entra-se ou sai-se de uma era determinada. Cada grande era <cósmica> pertenceria a uma constelação zodiacal determinada e se veria influenciada por ela. Pois bem: podemos comprovar então que o nascimento de Cristo se produziu ou coincidiu com a passagem do sol da constelação de Áries para a de Peixes (e temos de sobra exemplos e conotações, não só astrológicos, como geofísicos, geográficos e lingüísticos para a sucessão dos <anos platônicos>), o que nos levaria a reconhecer uma razão muito mais profunda e <oculta> para o uso do nome e da imagem do peixe como símbolo de Cristo, além da aparição do nome peixe em grego para se referir algumas vezes a Jesus Cristo no Novo Testamento. A passagem da Era de Áries à Era de Touro, e desta à de Peixes (que coincide precisamente com o cristianismo e, portanto, com nossa era), à qual sucederá a de Aquário, aparece agora ilustrada com muitos dados inéditos a respeito dos já conhecidos à época de Schwabe. A propósito da denominação das <eras cósmicas> a partir dos signos do zodíaco, consultar o referido autor.”

Ist es nötig noch darauf hinzuweisen, dass die Urchristen, als sie das uralte Fischsymbol aufgriffen, sich damit eben als eine Gemeinschaft kennzeichnen wollten, die an Wiedergeburt im Geiste, Auferstehung, und Unsterblichkeit glaubte? Sie knüpften damit an die orphischpythagoreische Vorstellung der delphinischen Menschenseele an.” Schwabe “Is it necessary to point out that when the original Christians picked up the ancient fish symbol, they were trying to identify themselves as a community that believed in rebirth in the spirit, resurrection, and immortality? In doing so, they followed up on the Orphic-Pythagorean concept of the Dolphinic human soul.”

Quanto à relação entre peixe e golfinho, considerado como animal fundamental, veja-se KARL KERÉNYI, Einführung in das Wesen der Mythologie.”

as discussões sobre a importância que esses deslocamentos das constelações no firmamento poderiam ter para a confecção do horóscopo, segundo se tenha ou não em conta a posição astronômica e real do sol com respeito ao zodíaco, foram e seguem sendo numerosíssimas e encarniçadas: alguns astrólogos sustentam que o horóscopo não deveria considerar deslocamentos puramente físicos; outros afirmam que tais modificações contam também para fins astrológicos. Vemos que até o possível aspecto premonitório, presente nas práticas astrológicas, se encontra subordinado a um aspecto puramente semiótico, ou pelo menos se discute a partir dele – algo no mínimo curioso para uma crença esotérica!”

Só a arte está em condições de propor os invólucros vazios de um significado ainda não exposto à luz do dia.”

Por lo demás, estudios recientes sobre el factor tiempo, sobre su base fisiológica, biológica, patológica, han demostrado de sobra la posibilidad de una dilatación o de una restricción de lo <vivido> temporal y la posibilidad de obtener (mediante drogas, medicamentos y ejercicios especiales del tipo del Yoga, como el <training autógeno> de J.H. Schultz) las modificaciones más variadas de la temporalidad.”


Mucho más evidente es el aspecto simbolizador del tiempo en la categoría limítrofe del arte óptico-cinético (op art) en la que nos encontramos con obras inmóviles en realidad, pero que <sugieren> el movimiento (Bridget Riley, Alviani, Soto, Cruz Díez, etc.). En dichas obras – que hace unos 10 años [1962] aproximadamente estuvieron muy en boga – el tiempo existe <potencialmente>”

Por que o ritmo é tão importante para nossa existência e por que uma alteração daquele se reflete num mal-estar profundo?”

No me parece que haya otra forma de explicar la razón por la que muchas creaciones de nuestros días – basadas en tiempos alterados (en sentido psicodélico, en sentido musical-aleatorio, en sentido poético, etc.) – conducen a otras tantas situaciones de malestar físico y psíquico.”

Así, pues, esa sensación de ligereza y de <ausencia de tiempo> que se puede experimentar en un rápido vuelo transoceánico (en el que la única sensación experimentada es, no la de la velocidad, sino la de la lentitud, dado que así se nos aparece el movimiento del avión frente a la vastedad y a la inmovilidad del paisaje de nubes y del océano situado debajo) corresponde a la ausencia de tiempo de muchos ejemplos de música moderna y de algunas situaciones de las artes visuales que hoy utilizan la dimensión temporal para expresarse.”

la obsolescencia de la obra (de arte o producida por la industria) – hoy tan aguda, tan paradigmática – demuestra tangiblemente la invasión y la acción de la <consunción> [destruição lenta mas progressiva], del factor temporal, sobre las obras del hombre y la necesidad de su simbolización por parte de las diferentes artes”

la marcada separación entre mentalidad y comportamiento juvenil y senil encuentra una contrapartida en una diversificación igualmente marcada en la mentalidad y en las actitudes de quienes tienen 16, 25, 30 años. Así, pues, existe una diferenciación destacada entre grados que todavía pueden referirse a una edad juvenil, cosa que no me parece sucediera con igual relieve hace 20 o 40 años.” [!]

En mi opinión, ese hecho significa que se está produciendo una aceleración del tiempo <existencial> con respecto al fisio-patológico. El tiempo – como símbolo de un devenir que no se detiene – ha invadido estructuras todavía ayer sólidas y consistentes.”

la sensación de una <amenaza temporal>, propensa a resquebrajar la seguridad de la existencia, está presente por todas partes y la simbolizan los aspectos artísticos y pseudoartísticos a los que he aludido”

O conceito de tempo “SAE (Standard Average European” de Whorf.

No hay duda de que el fenómeno de la progresiva desaparición o atrofiamiento del pretérito indefinido en lenguas como el italiano (a excepción del toscano) y el francés (y NO en el español), o como la eficacia cada vez menor del futuro (en lenguas que lo presentan, p.ej., en forma compuesta exclusivamente: alemán, griego moderno, croata, esloveno) o <asimilado> al presente (como el ruso y otras lenguas eslavas, cuando utilizan el presente del aspecto perfectivo para indicar el futuro) o recurren a construcciones complejas en lugar de utilizar la forma originaria del futuro (como el francés: je vais faire, el español: voy a hacer, y el propio italiano: conto di fare, sto per fare, mi accingo a fare, por no hablar del futuro japonés, que muchas veces se puede identificar con el presente), demuestra que la actitud del hablante tiende la mayoría de las veces a eludir las situaciones temporales <definitivas> o bien definidas y a adoptar otras más desdibujadas y ambiguas.”


El abismo que separa a 2 Weltanschauungen – o, mejor, a dos Kunstanschauungen – a sólo pocos años de distancia parece insalvable.”

¿Por qué kitsch? Porque el cielo es demasiado azul, la vegetación demasiado verde, la superficie de la figura demasiado translúcida; y, en consecuencia, el conjunto aparece ya manipulado en gran medida y preparado para que se lo comercialice y se lo ofrezca a los turistas, para uso del <delfín burgués>, que pasará en este lugar vacaciones suficientemente prestigiosas como para que sirvan de status symbol de cara a los amigos y a los conocidos.”

la presentación más o menos exacta, más o menos magnificada, de la realidad, ya sea la fotográfica, ya sea – con mayor razón aún – la impresionista o la enteramente abstracta, resulta estar superada.”

Aquí quisiera limitarme a precisar el porqué de la aparición de una clase de preferencia por el aspecto conceptual en el arte visual, tal como se ha ido revelando en el último decenio, porque me parece uno de los temas en que la separación entre la época actual y la que acaba de transcurrir resulta más marcada, en que resulta más sintomática la afirmación de un tipo de preferencia hasta hace poco inimaginable.”

dadá, el surrealismo, fueron las consecuencias extremas de un persiflage de la presentación naturalista del mundo exterior. El informalismo señaló un regreso inútil a una especie de impresionismo pictórico, sin <contenidos>, pero no sine materia; e incluso la pintura-objeto, que desembocó, por un lado, en el pop-art y, por otro, en el arte programado y cinético (me excuso por la rapidez telegráfica y por la aproximación de estas definiciones), seguía recurriendo, a pesar de todo, a la tangibilidad densa y manipulable de la obra.”

Por lo demás, no es casualidad que un movimiento tan vasto y, en definitiva, tan <incómodo> como el del conceptualismo se haya revelado precisamente en estos últimos años (de 1965 en adelante): años que han visto el surgimiento de las sublevaciones estudiantiles de 66-8 y su decadencia, la extensión y continuación de la guerra en Vietnam y de las guerrillas en tantas partes del mundo, la difusión de la droga, la decadencia de los movimientos de vanguardia en el cine y en el teatro underground, la crisis de la novela y de la música dodecafónica y, después, de la aleatoria”

un nihilismo diferente del dadaísta, porque carece de fermentos irónicos y humorísticos, un nihilismo ya no propio de Duchamp, con frecuencia macabro, a veces irritante, otras masoquista o sádico.”

hace 20 años [1952], la única o más importante tarea del crítico comprometido, del estetólogo, era la de defender la vanguardia, de intentar hacer de mediador entre el universo circunscrito, circunspecto, del artista y el obtuso, cargado de anteojos culturales y morales, del público.”

la temporada de los happenings fue de corta duración, y en muchos casos se vio <comercializada> mediante la reproducción cinematográfica.”

nuestra época ha llegado a un punto en que la escisión entre arte <puro> y arte utilitario es cada vez más clara y cruel. El primer sector se va alejando cada día más de la comprensión y del interés del gran público (incluso de un público relativamente culto), más aún de lo que ocurría con el arte abstracto de los años 30, con el op y el pop de los años 60; el segundo sector se acerca cada vez más al producto del diseño industrial y se une a la gran familia del kitsch.”

El público se alimenta constantemente, de um modo que ya otras veces he definido como absurdo, de <sonidos musicales>, casi siempre carentes de interés artístico alguno, sin propósito renovador alguno, con una función de <relleno sonoro> exclusivamente, ni más ni menos que la del ruido que sube de la calle o del <gorjeo de los pájaros> de los tiempos remotos.” Aqui, muita coisa mudou!

el llamado público de conciertos, los viejos ambientes de los aficionados a la <música clásica>, incluso gran parte de los profesionales (directores de orquestra, profesores de conservatorio, etc.) desarrollan sólo programas a base de música del pasado, sin interés ni comprensión algunos por la música de nuestros días (me refiero a la de Stockhausen, Schnebel, Berio, Cage, Donatoni, etc.). Las obras de los músicos contemporáneos están destinadas a pocos centenares de personas dispersas por el mundo, todavía menos que las que se interesan por el arte conceptual, por el land art, por el arte pobre.”

Algunos de esos conceptos (como los de tesaurización y analidad aplicados al coleccionismo) surgieron en una discusión con el neurofisiólogo y psicoanalista Mauro Mancia.”

CONCEITO DE ANALIDADE POBREMENTE APLICADO AO COLECIONADOR: “Para muitos colecionadores, o fato de entrar em posse do quadro, da estátua, é por si mesmo fonte de gozo, de igual modo que o é o entesouramento [retenção] de suas próprias fezes pela criança.”

Muchas veces, las casas de los coleccionistas tienen pocos muebles y objetos, están mal conservadas, con mobiliario anticuado y desmesuradamente moderno, incluso de gusto dudoso. Las obras están amontonadas en las paredes, una junto a otra, sin ningún respeto por su naturaleza particular, sin ninguna preocupación por ese <espacio vital> que cada una necesitaría ni por su convivencia recíproca.”

En realidad, poetas concretos tradicionales como Ferdinand Kriwet, Rot, De Campos, etc., siguen ateniéndose, como por lo demás, Gominger (quizás el más riguroso y más imaginativo de los concretistas), al aspecto semántico del lenguaje verbal”

En definitiva: muchos artistas conceptuales han tenido que someterse al deseo de los aficionados. Han tenido que encontrar el modo de saciar el apetito voraz de los <objetos>, siempre renovado, de aquéllos; han tenido que renunciar a sus sueños de pureza, de transitoriedade, de pobreza.”


Nenhum outro setor da atividade e da criatividade humana é mais representativo que a moda para uma investigação de caráter proairético [que versa sobre as preferências estéticas do público].” “a moda encarna, quase em estado puro, a preferencialidade, que, ressaltamos, não é a <superioridade> de determinada situação.” Sendo assim, a moda não é uma arte. Ou quem sabe seja o que vem depois do fim da arte.

Quando dizemos hoje: <a lingüística, o estruturalismo, a psicanálise, o marxismo, a fenomenologia, etc., estão na moda>, no fundo reconhecemos que essas doutrinas poderosas, que essas solenes correntes do pensamentos, podem-se reduzir, no final, a simples momentos efêmeros de preferência, e que, portanto, depois de saboreadas o suficiente, destrinchadas e ostentadas, acabarão rápida e afortunadamente sendo substituídas por outras.”

A palavra alemã Genuss, que os dicionários costumam traduzir por: gozo, posse, desfrute, uso, etc., significa na realidade: saboreio unido a gozo de uma substância ou situação determinada, e não me parece que exista uma palavra em nossa língua com a qual se a possa substituir. Fala-se de um Genuss pelo café, pelo álcool, pela droga, etc.”

Estilo X Styling (kitsch)

(passado – séc. XIX X séc. XX)

ex: Estilo Império, estilo Luís XVI, rococó, estilo Rainha Ana…

Havia um sincronismo e validades universais (ditados pela aristocracia).

Bastaria recordar os numerosos trabalhos de Wölfflin, Dvorak, Panofsky, para se dar conta de que muitas de suas análises já não se podem aplicar às formas artísticas de nossos dias. Mas hoje – dado que nossa análise é predominantemente sincrônica – já nem podemos falar de estilo a propósito de certos móveis dinamarqueses, ou eletrodomésticos italianos, senão, sobretudo, de moda e de styling. É um fato – e muitos o afirmaram com razão – que o Art Nouveau, o Jugendstil, constituiu-se como o último estilo autêntico de nossa época.”

A moda do kitsch e o kitsch da moda.

El propio hecho de haber considerado que se pudieran aplicar esquemas estructuralistas a la moda (como ha hecho Barthes en su Système de la mode), pero limitando en realidad su análisis al aspecto <verbal>, de nomenclatura, relacionado con ella, ha hecho que muchos prediquen la necesidad, o la oportunidad, de incluir la moda dentro de un aspecto lingüístico-estructuralista, como tantos otros sectores de la sociedad y de las ciencias humanas en general. Y la cosa no presentaría dificultad, si no se diera en este caso una eventualidad que no me parece se haya considerado: la de una institucionalización a priori, y no a posteriori, de los elementos lingüísticos relativos a dicho supuesto código.”

Con frecuencia se afirma que la moda es un fenómeno vinculado a la sociedad capitalista y desconocido, o poco conocido, en los países socialistas y revolucionarios; no resulta muy difícil demostrar la falsedad de esa hipótesis.”

A redundância: tudo é um invólucro teatral e barroco da propriedade doméstica: a mesa é coberta por uma toalha de mesa, ela mesma protegida por uma outra toalha de plástico. Cortinas e cortinas duplas às janelas. Tapetes, capas, revestimentos, abajures…” Baudrillard

se o fato de trajar mangas de jaqueta excessivamente largas ou calças excessivamente apertadas (nos períodos em que <é moda>) deve ser considerado de mau gosto – kitsch –, podíamos também ampliar este juízo a outros setores para além da moda. Sempre voltará a época da lâmpada com luz oblíqua, talheres escandinavos, louça de aço inox, etc.”

Mesmo no cinema, apenas em casos excepcionais – Potemkin, Greta Garbo, Buster Keaton, O vampiro de Düsseldorf (para citar 4 exemplos bem distintos entre si) – as imensas qualidades artísticas conseguem <vencer> o desgaste estilístico devido a uma questão de moda, que predomina nos longas bons mas não <ótimos>. O modo de se mover dos personagens, as frases pronunciadas, a entonação das vozes, certas atitudes românticas ou passionais hoje completamente defasadas e consideradas ingenuamente românticas, ou ridiculamente licenciosas, acabam contaminando mesmo as cenas que eram (e seriam ainda) de qualidade estética e técnica.”

observar os rostos carrancudos e truculentos ou então inexpressivos, severos e carnavalescos dos diferentes hierarcas nazifascistas é – para todos, hoje – um espetáculo grotesco, ainda mais cômico que propriamente penoso e entristecedor. Como justificar o fato, senão pensando que um grande componente de moda interveio para dar àquela época o trato que ela merece?”

De praxe, consideramos a toilette (a higiene, os hábitos e estilo) de nossos pais mais ridícula e démodé que a de nossos avós ou bisavós.”

Na música, teatro, poesia não se adverte esse envelhecimento estético tão veloz decorrente da passagem da moda, uma vez que conseguimos substituir instintivamente com nosso modo de ser e de nos comportarmos aquilo que está descrito na novela ou indicado na peça. No cinema e na fotografia (meios <realistas>) isso é impossível. (…) Uma possível fonte de retroalimentação, que pode ser causa, ainda que também efeito de um espírito de época, desse estado de coisas efêmero é o fato de que no passado não era possível apresentar aos próprios descendentes, documentalmente, e com absoluta fidelidade, uma dada moda, sendo assim imperceptível, senão menos evidente e estridente, o contraste entre o ontem e o hoje.”

Está ligeiramente out (fora de moda) quem ostenta nas paredes de seu chalé ou casa de verão uma pintura informal (em 1972), como também o está quem usa como música de fundo para receber seus amigos um Respighi¹ ou Pfitzner², embora o mesmo não se possa dizer de quem opta pelo jazz de vanguarda mais recente ou uma marcha de Bach.”

¹ Compositor italiano do XIX-XX, já ele mesmo um nostálgico de períodos ainda mais remotos (sécs. XVI ao XVIII).

² Praticamente o mesmo se pode dizer deste segundo compositor alemão, incluindo o período em que viveu e exerceu sua influência e seu gosto nostálgico, particularmente entusiasta de Palestrina.

…e as coisas estão mudando enquanto escrevo”

na Itália, basta seguir um automóvel para observar um exemplo perfeito dessa veemência gesticulatória do povo (não só abundante como até excessiva), com freqüência a causa de acidentes de trânsito, graves até: a maioria das vezes ambas as mãos do motorista abandonam o volante para que ele possa comunicar a seu companheiro a profundidade de seu pensamento de maneira apropriada (que o <co-piloto> decerto não vê, ocupado em vigiar o tráfego!).” “um baixo contínuo que acompanha a palavra”

o V de vitória com a mão era quase desconhecido, antes de Churchill popularizar o gesto”

A saudação de punho cerrado de tipo comunista está, talvez, em fase de decadência, como muitos gestos indicativos de <ter fome>, <enganar>, <vou dormir>. A saudação fascista, que esteve em voga, desgraçadamente, por muitos anos, seguiu, depois, existindo com um valor de saudação <normal>, desde que fosse executada com menor elevação do braço e com menos vigor (perdendo assim seu ar <romano>).”

O ciao ou adeus italiano na estação de trem, p.ex., antes de uma larga viagem, era vertical ou frontal (oscilações do braço entre a pessoa que saúda e a direção do viajante); com o tempo, passaram a usar o tchau que hoje conhecemos: oscilações laterais, à moda anglo-saxã ou germânica. Mais curioso ainda: em poucos anos, usos gestuais passaram por transformações importantes: antes mexiam-se os dedos das mãos no adeus, e a palma ficava imóvel; depois, os dedos ficavam juntos e sem se mexerem, e a mão adquiriu dinamismo.

a passagem do tabaco da aspiração ao fumo se deveu a um aperfeiçoamento do gosto, ou <mudança de moda>. Não se pode dizer que amanhã não se voltará à moda de aspirar o tabaco ou de fumar o café ou mascar o chá.” Congelamento!

é provável que num futuro próximo (quando, como é verossímil, se tenha liberado a maconha e substâncias semelhantes) o período atual pareça fortemente condicionado: primeiro, pelo proibicionismo; depois, pela liberação; e, finalmente, pela provável decadência do uso de tais substâncias.”

Isso é o que não me parece admissível: buscar refúgio numa abolição ou atenuação da própria atividade consciente mediante fármacos que a embotam (ou a exaltam, mas desfigurando-a, desegotizando-a) é contrário a todos os princípios a que se dirigiu a civilização ocidental; é ainda adverso buscar refúgio ou auxílio em tentativas mecânicas de vidência ou de visões supressensíveis (práticas iogues, p.ex.).”

conhecida é a relação entre sexualidade e iniciação no budismo clássico, como na prática do despertar do Chakra” “métodos ocultos que não são apropriados para nossa época”

Um tal Timothy Leary, psicólogo doidão, prescrevia o cogumelo Teonanacatl, tradicional entre aborígenes mexicanos, a seus pacientes nos anos 70. O Dalai-Lama rebateu este “profissional” em 1971: “O que mais falta aos próprios usuários desses narcóticos é o que poderia ser benéfico em seu uso – a Claridade, a Pureza e a Liberdade.”


Joseph Gabel, em seu La conciencia falsa, que segue sendo indubitavelmente o melhor estudo dum aspecto patológico-político ou, se se quer, psicanalítico-marxista da ideologia, analizou bastante bem este <ponto fraco> do fanatismo ideológico.”

Segundo Dévreux, se podemos considerar o período nazi como o estabelecimento de uma forma esquizofrênica, poderíamos, igualmente, considerar a sociedade européia de finais do séc. XIX como tendencialmente <histérica>.”

Talvez não se possa dizer o mesmo da Itália em sua relação com o fascismo o mesmo da Alemanha em sua relação com o nazismo; a <cura> italiana não se produziu com o mesmo vigor.”

Um caso de paranóia política poderia ser o de Israel: o enlace com pontos de partida ético-religiosos, que remontam a milhares de anos; a incrível firmeza na perseguição de um ideal construído sobre um conceito de <nação>, totalmente teórico; o fato de ter ressuscitado uma língua morta há vários séculos…”

É sabido que a ignorância das funções mais elementares relacionados com o sexo era (até há pouco, se bem que segue sendo em parte) enorme, como também é conhecida a razão para isso: religião ou confissão (catolicismo), falso moralismo (vitoriano) ou alegações puritanas de virtude hipócritas (quakers, calvinistas e protestantes no geral).”


Croata – vrijeme (clima); goda, rok (devir)

Eslovaco – cas (devir)

Esloveno – vreme (clima); ura (devir)

Polaco – cas (devir)

Russo – vremja (raiz ambivalente); pogoda (clima); cas (devir)

Tcheco – cas (devir)



A arte (pintura e escultura, mas inclusive a poesia) deixou-se implicar nessa <glorificação do objeto> (a partir do surrealismo, percorrendo a pop art e a op art) de tal modo que não consegue mais livrar-se dessa objetualização dominante.”

O sutil mal-estar, o sentimento de frustração que experimenta hoje um homem que tenha vivido sua infância no tempo pré-guerras, especialmente nas zonas densamente industrializadas, talvez passem batidos ao jovem nascido no pós-guerras, quando o estrondo das motos, a concentração de fumaça, o estrépito do tráfego, a poluição dos mares eram já uma realidade. E é igualmente possível imaginar que o homem de um futuro próximo esteja já imunizado, ainda mais que o jovem contemporâneo [1972!], contra o barulho e o ar poluído e cinzento onipresentes.”

Numa praia contaminada nos arredores de Roma tive a ocasião de presenciar um filho perguntar ao pai se podia encher seu baldinho de água do mar: estava o menino tão impregnado da noção de contaminação que não podia deixar de considerar a água do mar como uma espécie de veneno, que se deveria evitar ao máximo.”

Expressões como “o céu azul” e “os eternos cumes nevados da montanha” já se tornaram tão kitsch quanto “amor à pátria” ou “lar doce lar” ou “a moral cristã”, “o seio materno”, “o espírito do corpo” e por aí vai…

Seria hoje absurdo seguir falando de construção e urbanismo nos termos caros a um Le Corbusier ou um Lúcio Costa há não mais de 20 anos, ou a um Gropius, por exemplo.”


a indiferença quase total quanto à contribuição e à missão das <artes visuais> em integração com o meio ambiente tem feito com que o que se chama de arquitetura perca quase toda conexão com sua matriz expressiva primária.”

RECADO A LÚCIO COSTA: “A utopia do Bauhaus, que creu poder predicar e pôr em prática a identificação absoluta entre <utilidade> e <beleza> chegou ao fim.”

Em lugar de almejar colonizar montes de pedra sem atmosfera como os da Lua (meta de aventuras recentes, já nada empolgantes, uma vez que nem as crianças assistem mais os programas dedicados aos vôos lunares na TV [1972!]), seria melhor que o homem tentasse não arruinar em definitivo o belíssimo planeta no qual teve a ventura de nascer.”

Em primeiro lugar, é necessário livrar-se de formulações estéticas antiquadas que se obstinam em considerar a arquitetura como uma arte plástica, irmã da pintura e da escultura, como se fôra uma espécie de superdecoração em escala de cidade.”

Se bem que em algumas artes (música e poesia) se possa apontar os equivalentes das partículas elementares da fala (morfemas, lexemas, sintagmas), no caso da arquitetura e urbanismo isso é muito mais problemático.”

De um ponto de vista semiótico-territorial serão mais aceitáveis as tristíssimas favelas brasileiras, ou tugúrios colombianos, que as villas miseria argentinas. Talvez esta afirmação necessite um esclarecimento: significará, então, o que eu disse que não se pode identificar o aspecto semiológico com o sociológico? Se nos dispusermos a aceitar as abomináveis favelas, por se integrarem de modo mais <orgânico> à cidade do Rio, somos por isso insensíveis às conotações sociais que esta preferência supõe? Aí está o núcleo do problema: também na antiguidade romana, babilônica, grega, pré-colombiana, existiram as injustiças sociais mais inacreditáveis, mas não monstruosidades urbanístico-arquitetônicas como nas atuais Milan, Roma e Buenos Aires.”

Os centros das cidades-satélites suecas não são nada senão shopping centers de tipo americano, enquanto que, na contra-mão, o <não-centro> das grandes cidades ianques (Cleveland, Atlanta, Houston) – excluindo-se talvez Manhattan, Boston e São Francisco da conta – já deixaram de existir, degradaram-se até se converter em setor de negócios ou mera sede administrativo-bancário-política, onde ninguém vive, onde a vida cessa quando cessa o expediente. E esse fenômeno começa a prevalecer em algumas cidades alemãs de design <americanizado>.”


Alvin Toffler contaba cómo en 70 de las mayores ciudades americanas el tiempo de residencia media en el mismo lugar era menos de 4 años. El desarraigo con respecto al hábitat propio no sería grave por sí mismo, si condujese a la reconstrucción en otro lugar de otro Heimat; pero eso es precisamente lo que ya no sucede a causa del carácter provisional del empleo, de la familia, que provocan el desinterés afectivo por el suelo urbano o por el natural.”


a arquitetura industralizada (ou pré-fabricada, como com freqüência se diz, erroneamente) constitui um dos pontos delicados da exposição, que reaparece sempre que se fala de originalidade dos edifícios, de fantasia construtiva, da tão necessária luta contra o descenso do nível inventivo, contra a uniformização e a homogeneização das construções arquitetônicas de nossos dias.”


Por mi parte, estoy convencido de que antes que nada hay que considerar la lingüística como una de las ramas de la semiótica, y no al revés (…) (como sostienen con frecuencia algunos autores franceses).” “En el caso de la arquitectura es evidente que no se puede hablar de una división en fonemas, sino, si acaso, sólo en <morfemas> (o sea, en partículas morfológicamente significativas, ¡ya que el elemento fonético está ausente!)” Um capítulo que não faz o menor sentido (como quase toda a segunda parte do livro)!

Desgraçado do edifício que se disfarça sob o aspecto de outro, como – desgraçadamente – ocorre com freqüência: igreja com aparência de night club; estádio com a de templo; escola com a de açougue [!!!] (a menos que não seja incomum alguns prédios constituírem uma espécie de curiosidade <agradável>, conquanto isso parece ter sido moda passageira dos 1800)!”

si una partitura de Bussotti puede considerarse con el mismo criterio que una pintura o un diseño moderno, también algunas notaciones arquitectónicas (croquis, proyectos, etc.), modernas y antiguas, tienen ya de por sí un gran valor artístico: basta con pensar en los célebres esbozos de Mendelssohn, en los de Haering o, sobre todo, en los de Scharoun, y, en el pasado, en algunos proyectos, realizados o no, de Ammannati, de Leonardo, de Miguel Angel, de Leon Battista Alberti. El valor artístico de dichos proyectos – prescindiendo de su <colocación semiótica> – es notable, y sería muy difícil decidir hasta qué punto se trata de obras de diseño, de maqueta, o equiparables a las realizaciones arquitectónicas auténticas. Como es sabido, según algunos, el croquis y el proyecto, si se desarrollaran y profundizaran lo suficiente, equivaldrían perfectamente a la obra ya realizada. (Y en cierto sentido lo vimos, cuando, durante la última guerra, se pudieron reconstruir algunas arquitecturas de la antigüedad sobre la base y con la ayuda de diseños de la época conservados y, por tanto, realizables.)”

La lectura de la partitura, aunque informa, incluso de forma muy precisa, sobre determinado fragmento musical, no por ello deja de ser una lectura-no-musical (o, por lo menos, no sonora); según la opinión de algunos músicos (Stockhausen, Castaldi) no es otra cosa que el registro mediante un código muy perfeccionado de un objeto sonoro cuyo auténtico disfrute sólo puede producirse a través del órgano del oído. Stockhausen, p.ej., afirma que el tipo de <goce> que le produce el recorrer rápidamente una partitura (incluso saltando de un ponto a otro de la composición) es totalmente diferente al de la audición del mismo fragmento.” Cf. STOCKHAUSEN, Texte zur elektronischen und instrumentale Musik, 1963.


en la Weltanschauung zen y taoísta predomina la tendencia a lo asimétrico, y algunos conceptos como los de wabí y de sabi podrían aproximarse al de asimetría.”

Parece impossível, mas minha criada de quarto não admite que eu coloque minhas coisas na cômoda de forma assimétrica; quando limpa minha casa se apressa em <colocar simetricamente>, de acordo com um esquema fixo seu, todos os objetos que eu havia colocado de propósito fora do lugar.” Léger

Podemos antecipar o começo do fenômeno, se pensamos na marcada tendência nessa direção que se pode advertir a partir dos últimos anos do séc. XIX com o florescimento do simbolismo na França e ainda antes, com o do pré-rafaelismo na Inglaterra: pintores e decoradores como Gustave Moreau, D.G. Rossetti, Burnes Jones, Odilon Redon, Khnopff, Puvis de Chavanne e, à geração seguinte, os austríacos da Secessão: Klimt, Schiele, etc., são todos tendencialmente assimétricos, pois começam a olhar com simpatia para o Extremo Oriente” “a adoração pelo número áureo, derivada dos círculos renascentistas, teria de ceder e ver-se invertida por novos módulos estéticos.”

por que o coração está à esquerda e o fígado à direita? por que é mais comum ser destro? por que a mãe costuma segurar o recém-nascido pelo lado esquerdo?”

O rosto esquerdo revela o lado oculto ou noturno (sinistro) da vida.” Werner Wolff

…ao passo que a metade direita – precisamente por <depender> do hemisfério cerebral esquerdo, sede dos processos de criação de idéias mais racionalizados – parece ser o <espelho> da personalidade humana mais socializada e consciente.”

normalmente o homem entrelaça as mãos de com o polegar direito superposto ao esquerdo, e a mulher ao contrário”

e como pode ser que o laevus latino não se conservou no italiano (enquanto que se conservou no left inglês, no link alemão, no lijevo esloveno e croata e no lievyi russo?)”

derecho droit destro direito

izquierdo gauche sinistro esquerdo

Se consideramos alguns esquemas urbanísticos clássicos – dos hipodâmicos aos estelares (tipo Palmanova), aos de L’Enfant (tipo Washington) ou Haussmann (tipo Paris) ou inclusive à aparente heterodoxia de Lúcio Costa no caso de Brasília –, vemos facilmente que em quase todos predomina um princípio de euritmia e equilíbrio, i.e., de obtenção do máximo de equilíbrio baseando-se numa simetria <dinâmica>, numa pseudo-assimetria, à la Hambidge. Hoje (1972!), até esse tipo de equilíbrio me parece pouco aceitável rumo a uma evolução da ordenação territorial e do <caráter distributivo> de nossos edifícios.”

Na linguagem e no pensamento a assimetria está em todo lugar ou, para ser assimétrico, em quase todo lugar: podemos considerar simétricas as manobras analogizantes ensaiadas – de forma muitas vezes ingênua, mecânica – por um Lévi-Strauss? Sim, sem dúvida; mas isso seria pertencente à exceção: uma tentativa ou mania de assimilar códigos diferentes (sociológicos, alimentares, musicais, etnológicos!) sobretudo dum ponto de vista meramente sintático e sem levar em conta, salvo superficialmente, os autênticos aspectos semânticos e axiológicos que se interrelacionam. Mas, continuando, o fato de considerar como analógicas as metáforas propriamente ditas conduzirá à descoberta dum aspecto assimétrico também nelas, i.e., porque unem dois signifiés diferentes por meio dum signifiant único.”




YASUICHI ARAKAWA, Die malerei des Zen-Buddhismus. Pinselstriche des Unendlichen, 1970

JEAN BAUDRILLARD, Le système des objets, 1968

MARIO BUNGE, The Place of the Causal Principle in Modern Science, 1963


Revista “Noigandres” (São Paulo), sobre a vertente mais séria da dita poesia concreta de origem germano-suíço-brasileira

GILLO DORFLES, Il Kitsch, antologia del cattuvi gusto, 1969 (1972) / El kitsch, antología del mal gusto, 1973

LUDWIG GIESZ, Phänomenologie des Kitsches, 1960 / Fenomenología del kitsh, 1973

HECAEN, La Symétrie en Neuropsychologie, 1970

EUGÈNE MINKOWSKI, Les conséquences psychopatologiques de la guerre et du nazisme, 1948

ALEXANDER MITSCHERLICH, La inhospitalidad de nuestras ciudades, 1969

EDWIN SCHUR, The Family and the Sexual Revolution, 1964

DAISETZ SUZUKI, Zen and Japanese Culture, 1959

VÁRIOS AUTORES, Psicología del vestir, 1975

HERMANN WEYL, Symmetry, 1952

IVOR DE WOLFE, Civilia, Architectural Press, Londres, 1972



We believe that it would be a great disservice to translation were we summarily to range it among the arts — perhaps as the 8th art.” Then fuck you.

Naïve: “We are probably justified to assume that, with a better understanding of the rules governing the transfer from one language to another, we would arrive at an ever-increasing number of unique solutions. If we had a quantitative criterion for measuring the depth of exploration of a text, we might even be able to give percentages for the cases which still escape full identity.”

The experience of correcting translation papers for competitive examinations should convince anyone that, in general, success comes with methodical approaches and methods are learnt from practitioners with experience in an often thankless profession who know that being bilingual is not enough to embark on this career.”


Translation in education can serve both for language acquisition, where it is variously frowned upon or praised, and for confirmation of knowledge acquisition. Translation into the foreign language, also called prose composition or thème, allows checking whether learners have assimilated the words and expressions of the foreign language and translation out of the foreign language, also called version, can show that learners are capable of grasping and expressing the sense and the nuances of a foreign text.”

(ii) transmission of an understood content

Translation can be given a third role. A thoughtful comparison of two languages allows a more effective identification of the characteristics and the behaviour of each. In this respect it is not the sense of an expression that matters but the way a language chooses to present it.” “French does not feel the need to add the directional indication represented by <north>. Intuitive in concrete situations, French allows the reader a greater freedom to reconstitute the contextual environment. Given his point of departure, Vienna or Munich for example, the traveller in question cannot help but going north.”

This book is intended for people who have a sound knowledge of both contemporary French and English. Its purpose is not to explain details of grammar or vocabulary but to examine how the constituent parts of a system function when they render ideas expressed in the other language.”

With experience translators can develop automatic reflexes which make it unnecessary to consider the detailed meaning of a text. Such skills are, however, only developed with regular professional practice. Nor are we referring here to computational linguistics which is concerned with automatic translation, a topic we shall discuss further.” “interest in the automation of the translation process is not unimportant and cannot be ignored by translators. We have sometimes found ourselves faced with a difficult text after a long and tiring day. In such cases a <mechanical> application of translation procedures would permit us to obtain a first draft, which would then only need re-reading to correct the inevitable rigidity of such a method.”

We are thinking, for example, of the translation of ‘école maternelle’ by ‘Motherly School’, which could have been avoided if account had been taken of the fact that in English ‘motherly’ is a purely affective word, whereas ‘maternelle’ can be both intellectual and affective.”


When, in a given context, a word has an exact counterpart in another language, there is practically only one signified for two signifiers. For example: ‘knife’ and ‘couteau’ in the context of: ‘couteau de table : table knife’.”

English bread has neither the same appearance nor the same importance as food as French bread.”

bread the pain of hunger le pain de brigitte bardot baguette the bagatelle tel quel


to repeat one of Darmesteter’s examples, ‘vaisseau’ stresses the form, ‘bâtiment’ the structure and ‘navire’ the floating capacity of the object named.” I’m not fully aware of those nuancés…

It is quite normal to forget the etymology of words and it is even inevitable and necessary so that a word can identify completely with the things it represents.”

équipe de dépannage : wrecking crew (gangue ou bando, galera)

Le berger garde ses moutons.

Le chef a préparé un gigot de mouton.

Langue corresponds to our traditional notions of the grammar and the lexicon; parole lives in the written or spoken stylistic manifestations which characterise every utterance [afirmação; sentença].”

langue parole

sense meaning

it is a fact of the French language that there is a form called ‘l’imparfait du subjonctif’. It is no longer in general use, and since it is no longer obligatory it has become an option. Today this form is considered obsolete.”

the distinction between servitude and option is important”

There is an example of overtranslation in the following passage from a book about the French Resistance movement to the German occupation of France during the Second World War in which the author relies too heavily on information translated inadequately from French.

The striking miners were given food by the occupation authorities, but they were not won over. It went so far that the families of the strikers were compelled to go to the City Hall to look for the soup which their men had refused.

(H.L Brooks, Prisoners of Hope, New York, 1942)

<To go to look for> is a case of overtranslation. It should have read: <to get the soup> or <for the soup> or even better <for the food>.” FOR THE S4K3 OF EATING, MA’AM!

Overtranslation consists principally of seeing two units when there is only one.”

We could also say that grammar is the domain of servitudes whereas options belong to the domain of stylistics, or at least to a certain type of stylistics, namely that which Bally has treated in his Traité de stylistique française (1951).”

the predominance of pronominal verbs in French does not strike us unless we contrast English with French. Through such comparisons we can also note the preference of English for the passive voice. By contrast, the study of pejorative words can be made within a single language without reference to any other. Though translators are mainly concerned with external stylistics, they must not ignore the fact of internal stylistics.”

“‘deceased/dead’; it presupposes an option and consequently the existence of stylistic variants.”

it is undeniable that even in our present period of linguistic relaxation, a French educated speaker is unlikely to say <Je vous cause>. This expression gives the text a certain tone which a translation into English must try to replicate, if only by compensation; for example, by using ‘me’ instead of ‘I’, or <It don’t matter>. The fact that <Je m’en rappelle> has become less clear in its tonal attribution bears witness to the fluctuation in these demarcation lines, but does not deny their existence.”

some linguists, notably Delacroix, have gone so far as describing the word as a <nébuleuse intellectuelle>, or even refused to consider it as having any concrete existence at all.”

There is first of all the capricious use of the hyphen: the French write ‘face à face’, but ‘vis-à-vis’, ‘bon sens’, but ‘non-sens’ and ‘contresens’, ‘portefeuille’, but ‘porte-monnaie’, ‘tout à fait’, but ‘sur-le-champ’. These irregularities are just as common in English, with the added complication that there is variance in the use of the hyphen between British English and American English, which uses hyphens more sparingly [raramente]. The following sentence would seem ludicrous to a British reader without a hyphen, yet its absence is perfectly normal to an American:

His face turned an ugly brick(-)red.

Son visage prit une vilaine couleur rouge brique.

Translators, let us remind ourselves, start from the meaning and carry out all translation procedures within the semantic field. They therefore need a unit which is not exclusively defined by formal criteria, since their work involves form only at the beginning and the end of their task. In this light, the unit that has to be identified is a unit of thought, taking into account that translators do not translate words, but ideas and feelings.”

unidade de pensamento

unidade lexicológica

unidade de tradução

There may be superposition of ideas within the same unit. For example, to loom conveys both the idea of a ghost hanging in mid-air and, at the same time, that of imminence or threat, but, whether seen as a single lexical item in a dictionary or from the point of view of the morpho-syntactic structure in which the word might occur, the two ideas cannot be separated. They are superimposed. This is the reason why it is almost impossible to fully translate poetry.”

Je suis à deux paaaaas du paradise

acon-tecer é tomar lugar mas se você toma minha vaga veja só o que irá su-ceder!

with effect, of fact

de efeito, com fato

black-bird vs. black bird

blackmail vs. black mail

He was good and mad. : Il était furieux.

Ele estava BEM brabo.

stoned deaf metul

pelado como um verme

cansado de estar doente e morto de cansado

ensoulpado da palavra de Cristo

subir em tentação

faire un somme : to take a nap [!]

une petite voiture : a wheel-chair

Dictionaries give numerous examples of these, but there are no complete lists, and all for good reason. The following examples have been selected at random”

The more two languages are alike in structure and civilisation, the greater the risk of confusing the meanings of their respective lexicons, as we see, for example, in the problem caused by faux amis.”

amigos da fossa

Do not walk in the street. : Ne marchez pas sur la chaussée.

Ne marchez pas sur la chausée. : Do not walk on the roadway.[UK]

Do not walk on the street. : Ne marchez pas dans la rue.

head bang tête-détonation

figure 1.3

In some cases the discovery of the appropriate TL unit or sentence is very sudden, almost like a flash, so that it appears as if reading the SL text had automatically revealed the TL message.”

At first the different methods or procedures seem to be countless, but they can be condensed to just 7, each one corresponding to a higher degree of complexity. In practice, they may be used either on their own or combined with one or more of the others.” 3 processos diretos; 4 oblíquos

1. borrowing

manutenção do termo; consagração do estrangeirismo

exs. comuns: comidas típicas, produtos tecnológicos, moedas, cidades

moral da estória: não traduzir nem sempre é crime

redingote (capa longa masculina);

hangar, chic, déjà vu, enfant terrible, rendez-vous, tête-à-tête

The decision to borrow a SL word or expression for introducing an element of local colour is a matter of style and consequently of the message.”

O calco é um calco.

Como calco-carbono de algo.

2. calque

Translators are more interested in new calques which can serve to fill a lacuna, without having to use an actual borrowing (cf. ‘économiquement faible’, a French calque taken from the German language). In such cases it may be preferable to create a new lexical form using Greek or Latin roots or use conversion (cf. ‘l’hypostase’; Bally, 1944:257 ff.).”

awkward calques

terapia ocupacional

banco para o comércio e o desenvolvimento (anti-lucro!)


o homem das ruas (l’homme dans la rue = o homem médio)


3. literal translation


In principle, a literal translation is a unique solution which is reversible and complete in itself. It is most common when translating between two languages of the same family (e.g. between French and Italian), and even more so when they also share the same culture. If literal translations arise between French and English, it is because common metalinguistic concepts also reveal physical coexistence, i.e. periods of bilingualism, with the conscious or unconscious imitation which attaches to a certain intellectual or political prestige, and such like. They can also be justified by a certain convergence of thought and sometimes of structure, which are certainly present among the European languages (cf. the creation of the definite article, the concepts of culture and civilization), and which have motivated interesting research in General Semantics.” “If this were always the case then our present study would lack justification and translation would lack an intellectual challenge since it would be reduced to an unambiguous transfer from SL to TL. The exploration of the possibility of translating scientific texts by machine, as proposed by the many research groups in universities and industry in all major countries, is largely based on the existence of parallel passages in SL and TL texts, corresponding to parallel thought processes which, as would be expected, are particularly frequent in the documentation required in science and technology. The suitability of such texts for automatic translation was recognised as early as 1955 by Locke & Booth. (For current assessments of the scope of applications of machine translation see: Hutchins & Somers 1992, Sager 1994.)”

If there were conceptual dictionaries with bilingual signifiers, translators would only need to look up the appropriate translation under the entry corresponding to the situation identified by the SL message. But such dictionaries do not exist and therefore translators start off with words or units of translation, to which they apply particular procedures with the intention of conveying the desired message. Since the positioning of a word within an utterance has an effect on its meaning, it may well arise that the solution results in a grouping of words that is so far from the original starting point that no dictionary could give it. Given the infinite number of combinations of signifiers alone, it is understandable that dictionaries cannot provide translators with ready-made solutions to all their problems.”

* * *

4. transposition

procedimento banal em traduções intra-linguísticas.

5. modulation

The difference between fixed and free modulation is one of degree. In the case of fixed modulation, translators with a good knowledge of both languages freely use this method, as they will be aware of the frequency of use, the overall acceptance, and the confirmation provided by a dictionary or grammar of the preferred expression.

Cases of free modulation are single instances not yet fixed and sanctioned by usage, so that the procedure must be carried out anew each time. This, however, is not what qualifies it as optional; when carried out as it should be, the resulting translation should correspond perfectly to the situation indicated by the SL. To illustrate this point, it can be said that the result of a free modulation should lead to a solution that makes the reader exclaim, <Yes, that’s exactly what you would say>.” “a free modulation does not actually become fixed until it is referred to in dictionaries and grammars and is regularly taught.”

ex: inversões do tipo: “ele não achou nada fácil a tarefa.” “ele achou a tarefa bem difícil.”

La transposition correspondrait en traduction à une équation du premier degré, la modulation à une équation du second degré, chacune transformant l’équation en identité, toutes deux effectuant la résolution appropriée.” Panneton:1946

6. equivalence

cocorico: cock-a-doodle-do

miaou: miaow

hi-han: heehaw

provérbios & clichés *hm, meio-calque meio-borrow, dependendo do acento!)

Tá chovendo canivete/o céu vai desabar : It’s raining cats and dogs.

Tô num mato sem cachorro : I’m in a heap big trouble.

deux patrons font chavirer la barque

bucalque é uma sacanagem

in Canadian French the idiom <to talk through one’s hat> has acquired the equivalent <parler à travers son chapeau>.”


politique des xénophobiques

altright coroner

7. adaptation

a situational equivalence”

Let us take the example of an English father who would think nothing of kissing his daughter on the mouth, something which is normal in that culture but which would not be acceptable in a literal rendering into French.”

Adaptations are particularly frequent in the translation of book and film titles”

Trois hommes et un couffin. : Three men and a baby. [film]

Le grand Meaulne. : The Wanderer. [book title]

MELHOR APOSTAR NO FUTEBOL: “The method of adaptation is well known amongst simultaneous interpreters: there is the story of an interpreter who, having adapted cricket into Tour de France in a context referring to a particularly popular sport, was put on the spot when the French delegate then thanked the speaker for having referred to such a typically French sport. The interpreter then had to reverse the adaptation and speak of cricket to his English client.”

something that does not sound quite right”

All the great literary translations were carried out with the implicit knowledge of the methods described in this chapter, as Gide’s preface to his translation of Hamlet clearly shows.”

80% of the world will have to live on nothing but translations, their intellect being starved by a diet of linguistic pap.” “Quatro quintos do mundo terão de viver apenas de traduções, seu intelecto sofrendo uma dieta de papinha linguística.”

8. my reign

mon oeuvre

OK é o maior EMPRÉSTIMO de todos os tempos.

Wet paint : Prenez garde à la peinture, though ‘peinture fraîche’ seems to be gaining ground in French-speaking countries

CHÃO MOLHADO (pô valeu cara, mas quem te perguntou alguma coisa?)

peso de papel de papel

Você pode falar à francesa mas odiar crases e saídas discretas de festinhas. Hoot-hoot!

shallow girl : BURRINHA

hollow triumph : Vitória de Pirro

casa de areia

castelo de cartas

casa d’arraia

sand-castle horses

Tom Araya

tel est ton cas

Teleton Caval

Clark Kant Übermas

comme un chien commun

En un clin d’oil Before you could say Jack Robinson.




spectacle only with a suspect referee



Travel abroad was at one time considered the classical means of acquiring a language. This was not perceived as remedying a shortcoming of teaching, but rather as a recognition that it is easier to teach the forms of a language than its usage which is dependent on metalinguistic information. Travel permits a constant adjustment to the situation, which formal grammar teaching cannot achieve.” “A substitute for travel are documentaries and other films which capture the spirit of a place or a people in natural settings. In both French and English considerable attention must be paid to regional variations in the language. Canadian French, for example, has created words for objects and phenomena unknown in France (e.g. the words ‘poudrerie’ for ‘blizzard’ since snow storms are common occurrences in Canada but rare in France), and there are words of French customs and traditions which are not used in Canada. When dialogues are written in contemporary colloquial language, they serve as examples of current usage and provide ready-made situation-conditioned utterances which are difficult to identify in dictionaries. Older films or films set in a historical period can even provide evidence of the evolution of a language. Specialised books on customs and traditions, specially when they are written with a keen sense of observation, are equally important for translators. Phrase books are equally very useful as are specialised vocabularies with contextual examples which alone can illustrate the use of a word in its context. (Cf. the excellent Vocabulaire de géomorphologie, by H. Baulig, Paris, Belles Lettres, 1956 and the more recent Vocabulaire de l’éditique, Walton on the Naze: GnoufGnouf 1990).” (???)

J.-C. Corbeil & A. Archambault (Dictionnaire thématique visuel français-anglais, Montréal: Québec-Amérique, 1987): Without personal experience or a photograph it is impossible to imagine what an English country lane looks like or the campus of an American university, or even these strange combinations of chemist shops and iron-mongers called ‘drugstores’.”

Though we can always learn from other translations, translators should be suspicious of the, normally unconscious, influence an original can exert. Even if the target language terminology is flawless, it is always possible that parts of the metalinguistic attitudes of the SL have discoloured the TL text, especially in official international documents where the pressure on closeness of structures is great.”

a. Comparison of texts dealing with identical or parallel situations. [me parece um exercício inútil, dado o gap entre as obras]


Shipwreck of an ocean liner:

Edouard Peisson, Parti de Liverpool, Paris: Grasset, 1934;

W.C. Wade, The Titanic, End of a Dream, New York: Rawson, 1979.

Description of a tropical storm:

Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Paul et Virginie, Paris: Flammarion, 1972;

Richard Hughes, A High Wind in Jamaica, London: Chatto, 1960.

War situations:

Ernest Hemingway, Men at War, New York: Crown, 1942;

Henri Barbusse, Le feu, Paris: LFG, 1988.

Descriptions of Venice:

John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice, London: Allen, 1892;

Marcel Proust, La fugitive, Paris: Gallimard, 1954.”

French is more explicit when it says:

texte des épreuves for: questions

début de la séance for: appointed hour

candidats for: students

donner lecture for: read.”

Contrary to all expectations, [eu diria que em nada me surpreende] books on translation written in English seem to be produced by monolingual speakers or at least by people who dislike reading other languages. So it is not surprising that only exceptionally do we find a full discussion, rather than a passing reference, to this book in English publications, while the opposite is certainly not true. The result is that until recently Vinay & Darbelnet were almost completely ignored by English-speaking writers in the United States and are only cursorily referred to in Great Britain. It must, however, also be observed that concern with translation in the English-speaking world has only very recently turned to applied aspects.”


In the same way as the French ‘grincement’ is more concrete than the French ‘son’ or the English ‘sound’, the English ‘scrub’ is more concrete, because it refers to a more specific action than the French ‘brosser’.” “Generally, it can be said that French words function at a higher degree of abstraction than the corresponding English words. They tend to be less cluttered with details of reality. Bally’s comment on the comparison between French and German is equally true when it is applied to English”

To translate an English sentence into French, is like copying a coloured image in pencil. By reducing in this way the aspects and properties of things, the French mind arrives at general, i.e. simple, ideas which it places in a simplified order, i.e. that of logic. (Taine, quoted by A. Chevrillon in: Revue des deux mondes, May 1908)”

Il est du génie de notre langue de faire prévaloir le dessin sur la couleur.

(Gide, Lettre sur le langage, Amérique française, November 1941)

promenade : walk [i.e. on foot]

: ride (on a bicycle or on horseback)

: sail (by boat)

: drive/ride (by car)

allée (a roadway) : walk (e.g. Birdcage walk in London)

: drive [in streetnames]

: ride [a path for horses]

“‘Ici’ normally corresponds to ‘here’ but frequently this is not specific enough for English which may want to express the difference between ‘up here’, ‘down here’, ‘in here’, ‘out here’, ‘back here’ or ‘over here’; this is disconcerting for French which does not normally go into such details. An Englishman in Australia may say ‘out here’, and in Canada ‘over here’, i.e. in relation to England, his home country.”

A Frenchman may ask ‘Où voulez-vous que je me mette?’, leaving it to the context or the situation whether this refers to sitting or standing. This general expression ‘se mettre’ can only be matched by specific English words and thus yields two possible translations. ‘Where do you want me to stand?’ or ‘Where do you want me to sit?’ In the same manner the French would use ‘être’ and a preposition for indicating the position of objects, when English, though ‘is’ can use the same construction, prefers a concrete verb of action, e.g.:

Le tableau est au mur. : The picture hangs on the wall.

La bibliothèque est dans un coin. : The bookcase stands in a corner.

Le livre est sur la table : The book lies on the table.” [!]

The French word ‘coup’ is extremely useful because it can be applied to a great number of situations in which it expresses what they have in common: a strong impact. The corresponding English ‘blow’ is not nearly as wide-ranging. It has to compete with a whole range of words:

coup : cut (of a sword)

: thrust (of a lance or a rapier)

: shot (of a firearm)

: kick (with a foot)

: clap (of thunder)

: gust (of wind)

: crack (of a whip)

: stroke (of a brush), etc.”

: coup d’État (revolution of the State) – ah, gringos… Não sabem nem do que se trata, a dizer verdade…


grincement : grating (of a key)

: screeching (of chalk on a blackboard)

: squeaking (of a door hinge)

sifflement : whistle (a modulated human or mechanical sound)

: hiss (of a serpent or steam)

: whiz (of a bullet)

: swish (of a curtain being pulled)

Você ouviu o zunido da bala agora há pouco?

Americans happen to whistle in approval of a show; they also whistle in disapproval, but it is not the same form of whistling. English cannot distinguish between these two varieties of whistling, though it has two quite distinct words: ‘whistle’ and ‘hiss’ which in such circumstances always has a disapproving connotation.”

le bruit à peine perceptible des morceaux de glace dans un verre (Julien Green)

: the faint clink of ice in a glass

Often French does not differentiate between the movement and the noise, e.g.:

coup de fouet : the crack of a whip (sound)

: the lash of a whip (movement)”

the slam of a door : le bruit d’une porte…

a dull thud (of a sack being dropped) : un bruit mat…

a confused buzz of voices : un bruit confus de voix

the splash of water (over a weir) : le bruit du barrage

the pop of a cork (when a bottle is opened) : le bruit d’une bouteille qu’on débouche

the clatter of dishes (being moved) : le bruit de vaisselle remuée

the dripping of rain water (from trees) : les bruit des arbres qui s’égouttent

luire light : to glimmer (feeble & trembling)

: to gleam (pale)

: to glow (reddish)

shine : to glisten (of a wet surface)

: to glint (of a dark surface)

…objets de cuivre qui luisaient doucement dans l’ombre.

: …copper objects glinting in the dark.

a French soldier must address an officer by his rank: ‘mon lieutenant’, ‘mon capitaine’, etc.; a sailor must be equally specific but without the use of the possessive: e.g. ‘oui, commandant’. A schoolboy will say ‘M’sieur’, a teacher speaking formally to one of his superiors would have to say ‘monsieur le Proviseur’, ‘monsieur l’Inspecteur’; an employee ‘monsieur le Directeur’; a French member of parliament: ‘monsieur le Président’, etc. Religious persons are addressed with the possessive pronoun, e.g. ‘Mon Père’, ‘Ma Révérende Mère’.”


bell : cloche, clochette, sonnette, grelot, timbre, etc.

size : dimensions, taille, grandeur, pointure, modèle, format

one no longer goes to the butcher but to the meat counter, which in French corresponds to ‘rayon de la viande’, ‘section de la viande’ or ‘comptoir des viandes’ (C.F.). The simplification of shopping leads to the elimination of many specific words, but the diversity of French expressions also indicates that the usage is not yet fully consolidated because the situation is relatively new.”

While dictionaries give the meanings of words, they rarely have enough space to indicate the full range of differences in meaning. A methodology of translation must, however, propose a classification of semantic values and consider types of meaning, because it permits a better understanding why certain words, which on the surface appear to be synonymous, belong to different classes of meaning. Translation errors sometimes result when translators have not noted the distance between the meanings of words which at first seemed freely interchangeable.”

An even more striking example is provided by the word ‘clerc’ whose extension varies from French to British English and again to US English. In French a ‘clerc’ is an assistant to a lawyer or an ecclesiastic; in British English ‘clerk’ is widened to apply to anybody whose function is to deal with paper work. In American English the function of selling is added to the French and British English meanings, e.g. ‘a shoe clerk’.”

French distinguishes between:

poêle – fourneau = stove

autobus – car (autocar) = bus (coach)

ruines – décombres = ruins

reflet – réflexion = reflection

écharpe – cache-col = scarf

hébreu – hébraïque = Hebrew

herbe – gazon = grass

cartouche – gargousse = cartridge

atterrir – débarquer = land

éclairs – foudre = lightning

os – arête = bone

remplacer – replacer = replace

classe – cours = class

différence – différend = difference

guichet – fenêtre – devanture = window

chandelle – bougie – cierge = candle

English distinguishes between:

convent – priory = couvent

sticker – label – tag = étiquette

experience – experiment = expérience

stranger – foreigner – alien = étranger

Arab – Arabian – Arabic = arabe

general and technical

du petit lait : whey

adhérence : adhesion

adhésion : adherence

As they get older, some words lose their literal meaning and survive only in their figurative usage. Dictionaries have no means of indicating the stages of this evolution and apprentice translators may get it wrong. There is no external sign that the English words ‘dwell’, ‘delve’ and ‘shun’ are today only used in their figurative meanings, and that their general meanings have to be rendered by ‘live’, ‘dig’ and ‘avoid’. ‘Motherly’ is the same as ‘maternal’ but only in the figurative sense, whereas ‘maternal’ can be used both literally and figuratively. ‘Thunderstruck’ has given way in its literal usage to ‘struck by lightning’ and is now used only figuratively. Equally ‘seething’ is only used figuratively. Such differences can be tabulated”

literal and figurative

intellectual and affective

In French, the objective position of the adjective is after the noun; a small number of adjectives function as specifiers and are then normally placed before the noun (beau, bon, petit, grand, long, joli, etc.). When such adjectives occur in the modifiers position, i.e. after the noun, they acquire a subjective (affective) meaning, e.g.:

un beau jour : one of these days

une journée belle : a beautiful day”

The signified may not exist or not be acknowledged in one of the two languages; or it may exist in both but is only named independently in one of them. In such cases it is also possible to speculate whether the omission is not a sign of how little importance the respective linguistic community attributes to the concept in question. Of particular interest are cultural lacunae in the same language but on either side of the Atlantic. The French Canadian ‘dépanneur’ has a counterpart in the US ‘convenience store’. The concept of a 24-hour store is not yet such an established part of the realia of the European speakers of English and French to have been named separately. The nearest European equivalent would be ‘l’épicerie du coin’ which has the English counterpart of ‘corner shop’.”

Among French lacunae for generic English words we can list:

nuts : walnuts (noix)

hazelnuts (noisettes),

almonds (amandes), etc.

awards : all sorts of study grants (bourses d’études), and distinctions based on merit (distinctions honorifiques).

utilities : services of water, gas, electricity, telephone. French ‘services publics’ with the exception of public transport.”

In the United States a Delicatessen is a restaurant specialising in smoked meat. The French ‘mie’ can be described as ‘the soft part of the bread’ but not named because in English-speaking countries most bread does not permit a clear distinction to be made between hard and soft parts. The English ‘crumb’ partially covers the French ‘miette’ and is therefore generally used in the plural. It is probably because ‘hocher la tête’ (shake one’s head) is not a frequent gesture in the English semiotic repertoire that it does not readily translate into English. English, on the other hand, has ‘nod’ which can only be rendered by the phrase ‘faire oui de la tête’, ‘acquiescer(*) (d’un signe de la tête)’ or simply ‘dire oui’.”

(*) Seria a saída natural em Português.


Quanto mais periférico, pior? Só vale a pena mesmo é no miolo?

O pão.


Q de p ã o.





Cases in which a lacuna exists because one language has not gone as far as the other in the exploration of reality are among the most interesting. French has no special word for ‘curb’ (bordure/bord du trottoir) [meio-fio], and English has no single word for ‘margelle’ (curb stone of a well) [borda]. French ‘chaussée’ has the English alternatives ‘street’ and ‘road’, but the English ‘street’ cannot then distinguish between ‘chaussée’ and ‘rue’” “For ‘to bob’ there is therefore a lacuna in French which good translators fill as best they can. English words without straightforward French counterparts are e.g.: ‘pattern’, ‘privacy’, ‘emergency’, and ‘facilities’ (already mentioned above).”

The vastness of the hall below…

This is a perfectly natural English expression, especially in written language. Its translation should not present any problems, but we immediately run up against ‘vastness’. There is ‘vastitude’, but it is hardly used. ‘Immensité’ goes too far. Translators therefore have to either transpose by means of an adjective, i.e. ‘le vaste hall en bas’; but this goes against the French tradition of using qualifying nouns; or find a noun to which they can add the adjective ‘vaste’, such as: ‘les vastes proportions’.”

stately unquestionableness of the classical languages

(P.G. Hamerton)

While it is easy to match ‘unquestionable’ with the French ‘incontestable’, would the French use ‘incontestabilité’ for ‘unquestionableness’, even though the dictionary permits it? The translation of this phrase requires a transposition and an amplification. The transposition concerns the replacement of a noun by an adjective, ‘incontestable’ or even better in this context ‘indiscutable’. If we add to this ‘stately’ as ‘majestueux’ or ‘hautain’ and a noun to support these two adjectives, we arrive at: ‘L’autorité hautaine et indiscutable des langues classiques’, or possibly ‘le prestige indiscutable’.”

It is easy to understand ‘eye witness’, but ‘témoin oculaire’ requires a greater effort of interpretation and a greater understanding of the language. The vocabulary tests used in the United States are often easier for French speakers than for native Americans because the learned vocabulary is almost the same in both languages and more accessible to French speakers.”

horse show : concours hippique

flower show : exposition d’horticulture

dogshow : exposition canine

family tree : arbre généalogique

five-year plan : plan quinquennal

fingerprints : empreintes digitales

horse-drawn vehicle : véhicule hippomobile

drinking water : eau potable

baldness : calvitie

land reform : réforme agraire

taste bud : papille gustative

sound proofing : isolation phonique

weather ship : frégate météorologique

watershed : domaine hydrographique

overtime : heures supplémentaires

rear (or driving) mirror : miroir rétroviseur

wing load : charge alaire

chain reaction : réaction caténaire

daily : quotidien

monthly : mensuel

weekly : hebdomadaire

quarterly : trimestriel

blindness : cécité

short-sighted : myope

deafness : surdité

stainless : inoxydable

roller blades : patins à roues alignées

CD player : lecteur de disques compacts

contact lens : lentille cornéenne (de contact)

progressive education : l’éducation nouvelle

basic English : le français élémentaire

bifocal lenses (bifocals) : verres à double foyer

With reference to a child’s toy ‘confisquer’ is not translated by ‘confiscate’ but by ‘take away’, because it would sound pompous. Equally ‘condoléances’ is not normally translated as ‘condolences’. However, ‘He expressed the government’s condolences’ was found in the New York Times. But in his private life, the same person would express his sympathy, e.g. ‘Please accept my sympathy…’. The English translation of a French-Canadian article reads: ‘If we asked one or the other to consummate the divorce…’. This is a literal rendering of the French ‘consommer le divorce’, but the English translation is not idiomatic; it would be better to say: ‘to go through with the divorce’.”

Parler só se usa em contextos duráveis:

He never speaks to me. : Il ne m’adresse jamais la parole.

A man spoke to me on the street. : Un homme s’est adressé à moi dans la rue (m’a abordé).

He spoke at the meeting. : Il a pris la parole à la réunion.”

journée :

matinée : [no direct corresponding English forms]

soirée :

veillée :

to iron : passar roupa

In English the gradual aspect is often indicated by the particle ‘away’, which is the opposite to ‘out’ which indicates the perfective, e.g.:

to fade away : baisser : encolher, desmilingüir

to fade out : fondre : derreter, fundir, dissolver

to die away : s’éteindre, mourir : apagar, queimar, falecer

to die out : disparaître : desaparecer, ser aniquilado”

souffler une bougie : to blow out a candle

He wiped the muddy roots clean(-ly) in the current. (Hemingway) : Il lava soigneusement dans le courant les racines pleines de boue.”

continent : in the United States, can refer both to the American continent and to Europe.

réactionnaire : in France, a person of the extreme right

in Canada, formerly a person of the extreme left

tricolore : in France, refers to the national flag

gradé : in France, is a synonym for ‘sous-officier’

Historically the French words ‘succès’ and ‘chance’ were ambivalent but are today univocal.”

The gross line between filthy and dirty.

brunette : is exclusively diminutive in French, but not in English.

a tall brunette : une grande brune


Leave your hopes deep below.

Livin’ your hopes while you can.

Drink it slowly as it fades away.

Like a cool drink in a precious can.

Could live your life and leave it well.

Sweet leafs, sweatin’ bullet-proof minds.

Sorcerors of mankind

Live versions too save

Even farther you’ll die.

There is no escape

from the tides of being.

<Madame est servie> can only be translated as <Dinner is served>.”

in 1914, aeronautics was at the same level as infantry, artillery, engineers and cavalry. It has since been promoted to the rank of aviation and is now parallel to army and navy.”

danser : faire de la danse

skier : faire du ski

patiner : faire du patin

on the occasion of the blockade of Berlin in 1948, for ‘airlift’ the French created the modulation ‘pont aérien’, which illustrates the move from the dynamic to the static and from the concrete word to metaphor. This was a case of a free modulation, but with continued use this expression became fixed and lexicalised as part of the French lexicon. The same happened to a number of other expressions of the ‘cold war’, whose French expressions are calques from English rather than modulations”

the top floor : o suprassumo

jusqu’à une heure avancée de la nuit : until the small hours of the morning

firing party : peloton d’exécution

to wash one’s hair : se laver la tête

a box car : un wagon couvert

papier peint : wallpaper (o de computador também?)

lanterne vénitienne : Chinese lantern [UK]

Japanese lantern [US]

de la première page à la dernière : from cover to cover

d’un bout à l’autre : from beginning to end : do Oiapoque ao Chuí, de cabo a rabo

d’une mer à l’autre : from coast to coast

Space Ghost transatlântico!

pâle comme un linge : white as a sheet

branco como a narina do Aécio

branco como lingerie gozada

branquinho, cheiradinho e gozadinho

For general reading we refer the reader to the substantial grammars of Quirk et al. (1972) and Leech & Svartvik (1975) for English and Grevisse (1988) for French.” “A more detailed treatment of the lexicon is given by Cruse (1986) and Lehrer (1974).” “Word-formation and neology are discussed generally in Mitterand (1976) for French and in Bauer (1983) for English; and in greater detail in the admirable book by Louis Guilbert (1975) and with respect to English complex nominals in Levi (1978). For the formation of compounds which are frequently calqued according to inappropriate patterns, see Zwanenburg (1992) for French and for both languages Bennett (1993).”


Translators are, after all, neither grammarians nor linguisticians.”




Le style administratif est un genre littéraire” R. Catherine

Pior para a literatura!

It is no accident that the English style of notices is more personal, direct and at the level of concrete expression than its French counterpart.”

Bien loin de rechercher (comme le fait l’allemand) le devenir dans les choses, le français présente les événements comme des substances.” Bally, 1944

In the course of its history French has consistently resisted the formation of derived verbs. For example, ‘recruter’ was banned ‘til the 18th century. Stendhal was offended by ‘progresser’ and would probably have been outraged by ‘contacter’ and ‘originer’. It is only recently that ‘poster’ has come into use beside ‘mettre à la poste’. ‘Tester’ is increasingly being used and the letter in Le Monde (21.10.1953) which complained about the use of ‘être agressé’ instead of ‘être victime d’une agression’ will strike most readers today as anachronistic. English has no such scruples; consequently many simple English verbs can only be rendered by means of verb phrases.”

a hopeless undertaking : une entreprise sans espoir

an orderly withdrawal : une retraite en bon ordre

a Pyrrhic victory : une victoire à la Pyrrhus

He will board the night express for Germany : Il montera dans le rapide de nuit à destination de l’Allemagne.

Within two weeks… : Dans un délai de deux semaines…

From: J.B.Smith : Expéditeur: J.B. Smith

From a friend : De la part d’un ami

Within the city… : À l’intérieur de la ville…

The reluctance of French to use ‘ceci’ and ‘cela’ for referring to a previous sentence leads to the introduction of nouns which indicate the reference more clearly and consequently change from case to case.

This does not surprise me. : Cela ne me surprend pas.

: Cette attitude ne me surprend pas.

: Cette réaction ne me surprend pas.

: Cette réponse ne me surprend pas, etc.”

Legouis & Cazamian – A History of English Literature

The Time Machine : La machine à mesurer le temps.

(H.G. Wells)

Qu’est-ce que c’est que cette lettre : What is this letter?

Because ‘à’ indicates both position and direction, French signs would be ambiguous if they read ‘À la gare’, instead of: ‘Direction de la gare’. For similar reasons French prepositions cannot be followed by conjunctions.”

English demonstratives remain on the level of concrete expression, whereas the combination of demonstrative adjectives followed by a noun leads French frequently back to the level of abstract expression.”

As a language of abstract expression, French is internally logical when it uses the definite article on all occasions when things or persons represent a category or a concept. English, working more closely to the level of concrete expression, prefers the indefinite article for presenting indeterminate objects, which it does not feel a need to conceptualise.” “The English plural without an article corresponds to a singular with an indefinite article.”

He had his arm in a sling. : Il avait le bras en écharpe.

He speaks with his hands in his pockets. : Il parle les mains dans les poches.

He reads with a pen in his hand. : Il lit la plume à la main.

in the great majority of cases, there is no choice as regards gender, and translators must be prepared for this in their training. There are, nevertheless, certain difficulties which we shall emphasize here, recalling the well-known, but essential distinction, between natural gender (male, female, asexual being or hermaphrodite) and grammatical gender (masculine, feminine, neuter; epicene).” “na grande maioria dos casos não há escolha quanto ao gênero, e os tradutores têm de estar preparados e treinados. Há, não obstante, algumas dificuldades que devemos enfatizar aqui, relembrando a sabida distinção, e que nem por isso deixa de ser essencial, entre gênero natural (masculino, feminino, ser assexuado ou hermafrodita) e gênero gramatical (masculino, feminino, neutro, epiceno¹).”

¹ Ex: a onça-macho, o jacaré-fêmea…

We know that English has almost completely lost the grammatical gender, which allows the natural gender to surface; French, on the other hand, is entirely dominated by grammatical gender. Though this latter feature obscures the actual physiology of the sexes and produces ambiguities of the type: ‘his hat, her hat : son chapeau’; on the other hand, grammatical agreements based on gender can lead to useful clarifications”

In recent years new feminine forms have been adopted so that ‘une auteure’, ‘une professeure’, ‘une docteure’ etc. are now recommended usage, especially in Canada.”

in 17th century French, ‘jeunes personnes’ meant young women, rather than young people as it does today”

Inversely, a French epistolary novel will sometimes lose some of its savour in English, because letters written in the first person are deprived of a part of their gender distinction. In such cases translators have to resort to compensations to re-establish the masculine or feminine tone: use of a proper noun, or certain lexical elements specific to one sex or the other, compounds of the type – ‘girl-friend’, ‘boy-friend’, etc.

As to ‘it’, used to refer to very young children, this can be translated by an equally ambiguous French epicene word: ‘l’enfant’, ‘le bébé’. Sir Ernest Gowers quotes a very ambiguous phrase on this subject: ‘If the baby does not thrive on raw milk, boil it.’”

domestic animals are readily given a gender in English, which is sometimes surprising to a French reader. ‘She’s a good girl’, or ‘He’s a good boy’, is often said of a dog.”

CHRISTINE, THE KILLER LADY ON WHEELS: “Better known is the feminine personification of machines towards which English speakers feel closely linked: ‘ship’, ‘packet’, ‘merchantman’, ‘motorcar’, ‘automobile’, ‘watch’. However, there are cases where the masculine is used (pipe). Pascoe (quoted by Jespersen) sums up this inconsistency, using bakery as his example: ‘Any cake is termed a he, but a cold plum-pudding of a more stodgy nature is termed a she’.”

the sea is sometimes ‘She’, sometimes ‘He’, sometimes ‘It’.”

Though English does not have a special word to indicate sex, except in kinship words and such rare cases as ‘bridegroom – bride’, it can use a special morpheme; e.g. ‘-ess’ (‘manager/manageress’, ‘author/ authoress’); but it should be noted that this suffix has a strong pejorative connotation; <There is a derogatory touch in it which makes it impossible when we wish to show respect>, (Curme, 1931). In this matter English is closer to French which, for the same reasons, also dislikes ‘-esse’ as the feminine form of the morpheme ‘-eur’, as in ‘docteur’, ‘doctoresse’; this may explain the absence of the form ‘professoresse’.

The introduction of French morphemes allows English to create some terms such as: ‘confidante’, ‘fiancée’, as opposed to ‘confidant’, ‘fiancé’, but the morpheme ‘-ette’ does not carry any evocation of gender in ‘kitchenette: petite cuisine’, ‘roomette: compartiment de wagon lit’, ‘leatherette: similicuir’, etc.”

In the collective sense, English uses words which remain singular, but can only be translated by a plural in French. In French-speaking countries we sometimes find the inscription ‘Informations’, aimed at English-speaking visitors, a plural which is translated literally from the French ‘Renseignements’. It is, in fact, the English singular ‘Information’ which is the equivalent to the French plural; to say ‘un renseignement’, English has to use a special expression form, called here the singulative (Determiner + non-count noun): ‘a piece of information’.”

advice : des conseils a piece of advice : un conseil

poetry : des vers a piece of poetry : une poésie

evidence : des preuves a piece of evidence : une preuve

furniture : des meubles a piece of furniture : un meuble

news : des nouvelles a piece of news : une nouvelle

But: The news : la nouvelle

toast : des toasts a piece of toast : une rôtie [Canadá, C.F.]

: des rôties (C.F.) : un toast

But: a toast : un toast porté à quelqu’un

flying glass : des éclats de verre|a piece of flying glass : un éclat de verre

In English, the singulative is not only expressed by ‘piece’, but a whole range of other words can be used:

English French

Singulative – Collective : Singular – Plural

a suit of armour – armour : une armure – des armures

a flash of lightning – lightning : un éclair – des éclairs

a clap of thunder – thunder : un coup de tonnerre – tonnerre

a blade of grass – grass : un brin d’herbe – de l’herbe

a firework display – fireworks : un feu d’artifice – des feux d’artifice

a round of ammunition –

ammunition : une cartouche, un coup – des munitions”


Winding road the shortest straw between two good and evils



& d[e]ad

medical students : des étudiants en médecine

her married name : son nom de marriage

mental hospital : hôpital psychiatrique (nada científicos esses gringos!)

that wretched man : ce diable d’homme

a strange fellow : un drôle de type

idiot : espèce d’imbécile

Not only do adverbs in ‘-ment’ seem cumbersome, they are restricted in their application. Conversely, the suffix ‘-ly’ in English can be attached to any adjective and even to participles.”

angrily : avec colère

ecstatically : avec extase

tolerantly : avec tolérance

tactfully : avec tact

concisely : avec concision

effortlessly : sans effort

unashamedly : sans honte

abruptly : sans transition

unrythmically : sans suivre le rythme

unaccountably : sans qu’on sût pourquoi

conditionally : sous condition

reliably : de source sûre

authoritatively : de source autorisée

inadvertently : par inadvertance

deservedly : à juste titre

repeatedly : à plusieurs reprises

He is reportedly in Paris. : On dit qu’il est à Paris.

He is reputedly the best man in the field. : Il passe pour le meilleur spécialiste dans ce domaine.

In certain cases there is no choice in French. While there are forms in ‘-ment’ for ‘certain’ and ‘vif’, neither ‘certainement’ nor ‘vivement’ would be suitable in the contexts shown above. There is option and gain in the French in ‘à tête reposée’ (compared with ‘tranquillement’), and option with no clear gain in the use of ‘d’une main habile’ and ‘en termes ironiques’.”

When the comparison is explicit, the comparative or superlative are as vital in French as they are in English. However, we note, as do most grammars, that following Latin usage, English employs the comparative in place of the superlative when the comparison is limited to two objects or two people. This is why ‘aîné’ is sometimes translated as ‘elder’ and sometimes as ‘eldest’.”

l’abrégé du dictionnaire d’Oxford : the Shorter Oxford Dictionary

Le Petit Larousse

L’abrégé Comte de Monte-Cristo!


I’m at my best.

In the next example, the French version makes it clear that the management refuses all responsibility even before the event.

La direction n’est pas responsable des objets perdus. : The management will not be responsible for lost articles.

This will be your little grandson? : Je suppose que ce jeune garçon est votre petit-fils?”

We can say that in English there is dilution, the passage of time being indicated both by the preposition ‘since’ and by the tense. In French only ‘depuis’ indicates passage of time.

Je suis ici depuis dix heures. : I have been here since ten.

But it is useful to note that French, like English, uses the passé composé or the plus-que-parfait when it is a matter of an intermittent activity.

Je ne l’avais pas vu depuis trois mois. : I had not seen him for three months.

C’est n’est pas faute d’avoir essayé : Not for want of trying.

The use of the imparfait arises as a problem in translation from English into French.”

The French imparfait is not, as is often said in a simplified view, the tense that indicates duration, but the tense that considers an action irrespective of its beginning and its end.” “if duration can be measured, time has passed. We can say: Il habitait Londres pendant la guerre, but not Il habitait Londres pendant dix ans.”

English grammarians recognise the existence of the présent historique which Jespersen suggested be called the ‘présent dramatique’. In contrast, Hilaire Belloc, in his article on translation (The Bookman, October 1931), describes it as a form which is alien to the nature of English. It is difficult to ignore this observation by a good English writer who also had an intimate knowledge of French. However, these 2 positions can be reconciled if we say that, though the présent historique occurs in English, it is much less frequent in English than in French. Translators must therefore use their discretion.”

The passé simple is commonly found in fiction texts (novel, science-fiction, tales, etc.) because they do not necessarily have to be linked to reality. The passé simple is usually rendered by the English past tense.”

He has never forgiven her. : Il ne lui a jamais pardonné.

: Il ne lui pardonna jamais.

Up to the beginning of the 20th century the passé simple was commonly used in narrative literary discourse. Today it is never used in spoken language, and only survives in some forms of written discourse.”

in English pronominal verbs are always literal whereas in French they can also be figurative.”

Inherent pronominal verbs have no transitive counterparts and are exclusively encountered in pronominal form, e.g. ‘s’absenter’ but not ‘absenter’, or take a completely different meaning from their transitive part.

Il se gargarisa à l’eau et au sel. : He gargled with water and salt.

Il se replongea dans sa lecture. : He went back to his reading.

Il plongea dans la piscine. : He dived into the pool.

Vous vous plaignez trop. : You complain too much.

Vous les plaignez trop. : You pity them too much.

Voici ce qui s’est passé. : This is what happened.

Il est passé te voir. : He came to see you.”

Os EUA são tão capitalistas que lá quem não tem CARTÃO VISA pode até ser deportado!!

The frequency of the English passive is part of the nature of the language. English verbs do not have to be transitive to have passive forms; they simply keep their preposition regardless of voice, e.g.:

The doctor was sent for. : On envoya chercher le docteur.

The bed had not been slept in. : Le lit n’avait pas été défait.”

There may be a connection between this construction and the reluctance of English speakers to express a definitive opinion or judgement.”

As manchetes da imprensa aumentam o buraco do cu dos homens.

The French ‘devoir’ has become weakened; similar to the evolution of ‘shall’, it tends to become an auxiliary verb for the future.” This shall not be a pipe.

Devo, não nego; devenho quando puder.

Books may not be returned to the shelves. : Il est interdit de remettre les livres sur les rayons.

Il ne faut pas qu’il parte. : He must not go.

Il n’est pas nécessaire qu’il parte. : He does not have to go.

It won’t roll, without time, brodah!

To express the idea of probability French has ‘probablement’, and the expression ‘il est probable que’ followed by the indicative. French does not have a personal form equivalent to ‘He is likely to’. On the other hand, among the structural faux amis, ‘without doubt’ is the equivalent of ‘sans aucun doute’ and not of ‘sans doute’, whose equivalent is ‘no doubt’.”

Contrary to French, the English future anterior cannot express probability. ‘Il aura oublié’ can only be translated as ‘He must have forgotten’, which is the same equivalent as for ‘Il a dû oublier’.”

In a sentence starting with ‘si’, introducing a weak probability of an eventuality, the most suitable English correspondence is ‘should’. In such sentences French does not use ‘devoir’; it has many other alternatives.”

It must be so. : Cela ne peut pas ne pas être.

The two things must be related. : Les deux choses sont nécessairement liées. [!]

A distinction common to both languages separates ‘je ne sais’ from ‘je ne sais pas’ and ‘I dare not’ from ‘I do not dare’. But ‘I don’t know’ is the equivalent of both ‘je ne sais’ and ‘je ne sais pas’.” WTF?!? Qu’est-ce que c’est? Pas possible!

In principle, the nuance of ‘je ne sais’ is untranslatable. Nevertheless, at the end of a sentence, it has an equivalent in such phrases as: ‘it is hard to say’.”

Seria agora o melhor momento para beber vossa água e em conseqüência possivelmente utilizar vosso lavabo?!?

Vô cagá, ok?

May I fuck you?

The English infinitive cannot be used to express an imperative. In the language of instructions and notices, where the use of the French infinitive is most frequent, English often uses its middle form which, unlike the French middle, is not pronominal.”

Il s’est tu. : He fell silent.

Il se tut.

He did do it : En effet, il l’a fait. (as he said he would).

I did warn you!, says the adult.

escada rolante : tapis roulant!

carne mal-passada : PINK MEAT

Literal translation is sometimes possible, e.g.:

the trampled grass : l’herbe piétinée

his torn coat : sa veste déchirée”

Parvenu près de la porte… : Having reached the door…

Lui parti, j’ai retrouvé le calme. (A. Camus) : Once he had left, I regained my composure.

…as they covered mile after mile… : …à mesure que les kilomètres

s’allongeaient derrière eux…

It appears that English prefers to proceed by repetition, with the aid of ‘on’ or ‘after’, in cases where French prefers an abstract word which concludes rather than describes.”

English cannot form certain types of compounds. For example, the French ‘un bruit de roues’, i.e. any wheels whose sound is heard, can only be translated by the noun phrase ‘a sound of wheels’.”

the will to power : la volonté de puissance

the room on the second floor : la chambre du second

Lady with a parrot : Femme au perroquet

(the title of a picture)

Without going as far as German, English can create synthetic expressions which in French have to be expressed by analytic means. Most of the examples below come from newspapers and publicity material which abound in such expressions. Professional translators encounter them all the time.”

It is time-consuming. : Cela prend beaucoup de temps.

It is a full-time job. : Cela prend tout votre temps.

Le pape envoie le formulaire tel qu’on lui demandait. (Racine) – This kind of syntax exists in English, but no longer in French. One way of explaining this difference is to say that French works by representation where English works by ellipsis. For this reason French refers to the complement of a verb by means of a pronoun, either in order to announce it, or to remind us of it.”

Ele não disse!

Ele não o disse!

Ele não te disse!

Ele não lho disse, pois, ora, traste!

J’y suis arrivé. : I’ve got there.

He came sooner than you thought. : Il est arrivé plus tôt que que vous ne pensiez.

Mets-en ! (C.F.) : You bet!

Skip it! : Ça suffit! : Dexa queto!

Cut it out! : En voilà assez! Ça va! : Tá bom!

Further reading:

The question of English gender is discussed in Corbett (1991).”

For a general treatment of mood and modality of English see Palmer (1986).”


THE TECHNOLOGICAL SLAVERY: “When this book was written — in the mid-1950s — research in units larger than the sentence had only reached the stage of general description and the authors were obliged to extrapolate from necessarily incomplete observations. Besides, at the level of the message, which is the subject of the present chapter, it seems impossible to explore this subject in depth without the support of computer analyses of textual corpora which was unavailable at the time.”

teachers rightly insist that translation should never be started before the entire text has been read and re-read.” HM

Je suis votre femme is either I am your wife or I am following your wife

Bêbados britânicos lacônicos:

He was having his usual. : Il prenait son verre comme d’habitude.


He stopped at the local. : Il entra au bistro du coin.


Il est entré au Métro. : He got a job at the Métro.

Il est entré dans le Métro. : He boarded the Underground.

Je vais vous mettre à la porte. : I’ll throw you out.

Je vais vous mettre à votre porte. : I’ll see you home.

[to your front door]

Demain, je serai à la rue. : Tomorrow I’ll be in the street.


Demain, je serai dans la rue. : Tomorrow I’ll be out in the street

[fighting, demonstrating, etc.]

Il est entré curé. (Canada) : He became a priest.

Il est entré chez un curé. : He went to visit a priest.

When the situation is properly analysed and reconstituted, one of the two languages, and not necessarily always the source language, may reflect the situation with greater precision.”

translators are superior to machines because they can introduce gain in the message, though, of course, not in the situation.”

A CASA É SUA, MAS NÃO FAÇA BARULHO: “Since French does not have phrasal verbs, a notice hanging on a door, saying Entrez sans frapper! is more precise than the English equivalent Walk in!. While to English speakers the meaning is perfectly clear, its correct interpretation depends much more on the situation than the corresponding French notice.”

Titles are thus examples of the purest state of explicitation. As the stylistic abridgement which leads to a title is rooted in the nature of the language, we readily understand that titles have to

be translated by means of modulation”

Hollow Triumph : Château de Cartes

Wuthering Heights : Les Hauts de Hurlevent

(Transposition of the sound-effect of the proper name)

Fatal in My Fashion : Cousu de fil rouge

(Wordplay on ‘fashion’; the work deals with murder in a fashion house)

The Man with My Face : Comme un frère

(History of a double)

Le Grand Meaulnes : The Wanderer

Out of the Past of Greece and Rome : Tableaux de la vie antique

(Transposition with noun)

Blackboard Jungle : Graine de violence

(Film about juvenile delinquents)

Le compteur est ouvert : Twice Tolled Tales

(Wordplay on ‘compteur-conteur’) : (Wordplay on ‘toll-told’)

Mixed Company : De tout pour faire un monde

Thicker than Water : Les liens du sang

Figure it out for yourself! : C’est le bouquet!

An Alligator named Daisy : Coquin de saurien

(Wordplay on the idiom ‘coquin de sort’)

the expression ‘César de Carnaval’ hides an allusion to Mussolini and has been aptly translated as ‘Sawdust Caesar’ [César de serragem]. It is formed by a modulation on the idea of carnival, hence the circus and its arena which is covered in sawdust. There is also wordplay on ‘sawdust’ which is used for the stuffing of puppets.”

Depuis quand répond-on comme cela à ses parents? : Since when do children answer their parents in this way?

Dear Sir, : Monsieur

Dear Mr. Smith, : Cher Monsieur

His wife of 16 years… : Après seize ans de mariage, sa femme…

His 16 year-old wife : Sa femme de seize ans

You asked for it. : Vous me l’avez demandé.

: C’est bien fait pour vous.


He is talking through his hat. : Ele nem sabe do que está falando…

Give me Beethoven any time. : Não é lá uma Brastemp (Beethoven)…

E quem poderia imaginar que a brastemp se tornaria um dos meus maiores pesadelos recentes?

If, for example, in Canada we find ‘SVP’ written on a notice stuck on a lawn, we understand it to mean that we should not walk on the grass. Or, if in the English-speaking parts of Canada, a roadside sign reads ‘WORMS’ we know it to refer to the sale of bait for fisherman.”

a French teacher : a teacher of French/from France

Stage door : Entrée des artistes

Unlike the lexicological units, situations are not recorded in dictionaries. They are rarely mentioned in books on stylistics, except by Bally who treats situations in his Traité de Stylistique française and more extensively in Le langage et la vie (1952).”

Mensagens contextuais de difícil apreensão quando isoladas:

i. Le mécanicien n’a pas aperçu le signal.

A railway signalman, which in French is indicated by the semantic markers ‘mécanicien’, and ‘signal’ which excludes, for example, a motor mechanic or a dental mechanic; it is further likely that there has been a railway accident, otherwise the message would be pointless.”

ii. Saignant?

The situation explains that this is a waiter in a restaurant asking a customer whether the meat should be grilled ‘rare’, as opposed to, medium or well-done.”

iii. Et avec ça, Madame? MAIS ALGUMA COISA?

This sentence is appropriate for a sales assistant in a store addressing a female customer who has already bought something.”

iv. You can’t miss it. VAI NA FÉ, IRMÃO!

This is said by someone who has just given an indication to a stranger who has asked for a direction.”

v. You’re on! AÇÃO!

This expression is typical for a stage manager who sends a performer onto the stage.”

vi. Wrong number. QUE NÚMERO VOCÊ DISCOU?

This is a response to a wrongly dialled telephone call.”

vii. You’re a stranger here. / Hello, stranger! E AÍ, SUMIDO!

This expression fits the case where we greet someone whom we have not seen for a long time. Suddenly encountering someone at one’s doorstep, the French equivalent might be <On ne vous voit plus!>. The familiar tone also indicates a certain close acquantaince between the interlocutors.”

would a telephone operator greet a new subscriber with ‘Hello stranger!’? This is very unlikely and demonstrates that any one situation normally and almost automatically calls for a particular message. For example, ‘Do you think we’ll make it?’ seems only appropriate for someone who is late for an appointment, e.g. a departing train, and fears that he/she may miss it. It also expresses anxiety, and an atmosphere of tension, etc. The specific limitation of the message to a single situation is all the more remarkable in that the general sense of the verb ‘make’ is totally unrestricted.”

when a British English speaker fears that his message ‘Smith called this morning’ might be misinterpreted, the alternative ‘Smith called here this morning’ or ‘called by this morning’, would be chosen, making it clear that it was a personal visit and not a telephone call. In American English the ambiguity is less likely to occur because the expression ‘stop by’ is widely used in such cases.”

Accordingly, in August 55, he (Julius Caesar) made a start by crossing from Boulogne with some 10,000 men, etc.”

IS EUROPEAN PHILOSOPHY DEAD? “To understand this sentence from an English book on archaeology we need to add the implied topographical details, namely ‘the Channel’. The text was written from the point of view of someone in England and reflects the same attitude as when the English speak of the Continent when referring to the rest of Europe. (…) This particular meaning of ‘Continent’ is now also found in American English and then the appropriate equivalent would be ‘Europe’.”

UM CURSO PARA +30: “Translation can therefore be regarded as a truly humanistic activity which has its place among the highest intellectual pursuits. This is a well-known fact though it is rarely fully acknowledged.”

Regardless of any special usage, question marks are important in comparative stylistics because translators frequently have to deal with elliptical sentences, especially in dialogues.”

Finally, and this is the most critical point, morphological links are not usually indicated in writing. Before translating, a thorough segmentation of the text is therefore necessary which can only be carried out by a careful reading which restores the prosodemes and correctly separates the stress groups. In French, the distinction between the two meanings of the following example is made in speaking by a liaison after ‘savant’. Only the use of orthographic liaison markers would clarify the difference.

un savant aveugle : a blind scientist

phonetically: [õesavãvoegl]

un savant aveugle [+liaison] : a learned blind man

phonetically: [õesavãtavoegl]

L’usage laisse une certaine latitude dans l’emploi des signes de ponctuation; tel écrivain n’use jamais du point virgule. Une relation peut-être marquée au moyen d’une virgule par celui-ci, au moyen d’un point-virgule par un autre, au moyen d’un double point par un troisième. L’abondance des raisons peut s’expliquer tantôt par des raisons purement logiques, tantôt par

des références à un rythme oral qui multiplie les pauses. (Grevisse 1988: paragraph 1058)”

Needless to say translators must convert the English decimal point into the French ‘virgule décimale’, e.g. $10.50 → 10,50 $ and put the currency sign after the symbol. See Ramat (1989) for a discussion on that subject. The corresponding update to English punctuation is Nunberg (1990). Stylistic or optional punctuation serves to provide greater semantic precision in a message.”

The absence of commas is not considered an error in English which uses commas more sparingly than French.”

The absence of commas frequently leads to backtracking in order to correct an erroneous segmentation of the text and avoid a misinterpretation. This is particularly acute in cases of successive particles” “it is strongly suggested that translators read their text aloud so that they can be guided by the articulation.”

termos curtos x termos longos (sinônimos perfeitos) (FRANTUGUÊS!)

weeds : les mauvaises herbes

: les voiles d’une veuve

model : modèle réduit

to make amends : faire amende honorable

to inhale : avaler la fumée

sold at cost : vente au prix coûtant

as : au fur et à mesure que

ruminer : to chew the cud

He talked himself out of a job. : Il a perdu sa chance pour avoir trop parlé. : Ele falou mais do que devia. : Se fufu.


In general it appears that English is shorter than French. This, at least, emerges when English texts are contrasted with their French translations. But we also have to take account of the fact that all translations tend to be longer than the original. Translators lengthen their texts out of prudence but also out of ignorance.”

retirement → to retire : prendre sa retraite

We’ll price ourselves out of the market. : Nous ne pourrons plus vendre si nous sommes trop exigeants.

“‘Before, after, until, etc.’ have the advantage of being prepositions and conjunctions at the same time.”

We conclude that economy is a relative concept and what matters is only how it is achieved. Each language has its own cases of comparatively greater economy which translators have to be aware of in order to find the most appropriate expression.” “In English, in the absence of the surname or the first name, the familiar register is often marked by the use of such familiar forms of address as ‘man’, ‘chum’, ‘Bud’, ‘Mac’, ‘boy’, ‘girl(ie)’, ‘brother”, ‘sister’, etc. In French many of these forms of address, used as interjections or in appositions, can be omitted because the use of ‘tu’ compensates. French also has such non-specific, familiar forms of address, e.g. the very familiar ‘Jules’ to address someone whose names one does not know. The US equivalent might be ‘Mac’, whereas in England ‘Jack’ or ‘George’ would correspond, but it must also be noted that such terms often change with fashion. On the whole, however, the use of the forename is more widespread in the United States than in England.”

Disliking abbreviations, especially of names, French can reproduce the tone by a dislocation of the constituent elements of the message.” O estruturalista L.-S.

There are three possible cases:

a. The SL elaboration can be transferred directly to the TL.

b. The SL elaboration can only be expressed by means of an equivalent form.

c. The SL elaboration cannot be reproduced, but is compensated in some other way.

Elaboration is a matter of stylistics. It relies on levels of expression, which in the written language are used for certain literary effects to satisfy technical requirements, as in legal discourse. Elaboration is therefore mainly found in literary, diplomatic or political texts. Elaboration is not a property in itself. One of its extreme forms was the precious style; a contemporary elaboration is the ‘jargon’ of some social scientists.”

by retracing the process backwards, translators may be faced with alternative possibilities leading by parallel routes to the same global effect and choose the alternative to the original text.

We must therefore recognise that back-translation cannot constitute a precise measurement since it is unlikely that the original will be reconstructed verbatim. Like writers, translators enjoy a certain freedom of expression or work within a range of expressions which does not affect the meaning of the message.”

TRADUTOR FRANCÊS-FRANCÊS: “A French Canadian translation may differ slightly from a French or Belgian one in its choice of synonyms, variants or regionalisms which do not affect the global meaning of the message.”

Two versions of a text which are considered fully equivalent at one time may be considered to diverge greatly at other times. Conversely, texts which we find divergent, may be considered equivalent by a later generation of readers. Historians of the language will then have to prove equivalence or divergence.”

“‘Gloom’ is appropriate to the extent that it is an external state which the soul suffers, but it is stronger than ‘morne’ which accounts for the stronger back-translations of ‘détresse – chagrin – jours sombres’ and perhaps also for ‘tristesse’.” Gloom é uma péssima palavra do Inglês, sempre problemática!


It went like clockwork. : Cela a marché comme sur des roulettes.

His life hangs by a thread. : Sa vie ne tient qu’à un fil.

In the case of dead metaphors translators simply have to look for an equivalent metaphor in the TL.”

flotter dans l’indécision : to dilly-dally, to vacillate

la marche à suivre : the procedure

as cool as a cucumber [!] : avec un sang-froid parfait

before you could say Jack Robinson : en moins de rien / en deux temps trois mouvements

as like as two peas : comme deux gouttes d’eau : separados na maternidade

In cases where proverbs are constructed around dead metaphors, the search for equivalents can range widely. In the case of live metaphors, translators can look for an equivalent or, if it cannot be found, translate the idea. Any metaphor can be reduced to its basic meaning, which Bally calls the ‘terme d’identification’.”


un sale type : a bad guy

un type sale : a dirty guy

comer pelas beiradas

run like an invisible guy and, despite all the other runners being the favourites, win the race cofcof in one word underdog

Yoda’s ontological expectations

Since in both languages the goal tends to be placed towards the end of the sentence, in French, adverbial modifiers, which qualify it without being the real core of the message, are preferably placed in the earlier part of the sentence or before the verb. This is particularly applicable to causal expressions, a manifestation of the abstract approach in which the cause precedes its effect.

Sûr d’obtenir gain de cause, il attendit sans inquiétude l’ouverture du procès.

Il y a Untel qui donne une conférence ce soir. : X gives a lecture tonight.

the cold, ugly little town : la petite ville froide et laide

English, like German, remains more objective and therefore often represents a state or an activity outside any subjective interpretation of reality.”

There’s a knock at the door. : On frappe à la porte.

Today is Thursday. : Nous sommes jeudi aujourd’hui.

Marseilles compte une population de près d’un million d’habitants. : The population of Marseilles is close to the million mark.

English frequently uses italics or underlining for signalling an emphatically stressed word. Such marks are less clear in French where italics and capital letters do not necessarily indicate a phonemic emphasis, but rather a graphemic highlighting. Besides, French cannot at will stress any element of the sentence. Nevertheless the following uncodified means of emphasis are available in French:

Vous trouvez ça <formidable>, vous?

Permettez….. J’ai aussi mon mot à dire!

C’était hénaurme! (instead of énorme)

Si, si : Yes, indeed.

Si, si, si, si! : Yes, I assure/tell you!

C’est très, très bien. : That’s excellent.

Il n’est pas gentil, gentil. : He’s not very nice.

Il n’est pas beau, beau (Canada) : He’s not what you call handsome.”

Céline,…le Roi! Ah, quoi, mais non!…

formidable : super

écoeurant : disgusting/or : splendid (C.F.)

refus carré : flat refusal : UM FORA REDONDO

un temps dégeu (C.F.) : rotten weather

un programme sensas : a brilliant programme : TÓÓPzêra

Je te connais bien, moi!

En ce qui me concerne,…

He was excruciatingly funny : Il était impayable.

He was good and sorry. : Il le regrettait amèrement.

He was good and mad. : Il était absolument furieux.

Elle est stupide, ton idée! : This is utter nonsense.

More will be said about this later. : Nous en reparlerons.

“‘Beaucoup’ can be used in initial position only when it refers to people. (Beaucoup n’ont pas pu entrer).”

The ample use of the rhetorical question is native to ordinary French prose, not to English. It is also native to French prose to define a proposition by putting the data of it first into question form. (Belloc, 1931)”

Où est-il le temps où quand on lisait un livre on n’y mettait pas tant de raisonnements et de façons. (Saint-Beuve) : Gone are the days when the reading of a book did not require so much fuss and bother.”

There is only a step from the rhetorical question to the exclamation. English freely uses exclamations, which incidentally employ the same inversion required for questions, possibly because it constitutes an affective type of emphasis without the artifice of rhetoric.” É isso. O Português é o idioma universal que reúne as características de todos os demais. É isso! Não é isso mesmo? Creio que seja assim…, sim, de fato, assim o é, eu não me engano! Ó! Engano-me eu por um acaso?!?

Though in French exclamations are quite common in every day language, they do not occcur with the negative form. But note the fixed highly literary expression: ‘Quelle ne fut pas ma surprise…’.”

such ambiguities as ‘le tiroir est tout vert — le tiroir est ouvert’. Because spoken French does not strongly mark word or morpheme boundaries, articulation is based on sense and breath groups some of which can be quite long and difficult to analyse.”

fait no pé que le reste we cours derrièr


Mon innocent de frère : My stupid brother

deux dollars de l’heure : two dollars an hour

Il y en a trente de blessés. : Thirty were wounded.

Il n’est rien d’impossible à l’homme. : Nothing is impossible to man.

Voilà du bon travail de fait. : Well done!

Il est honteux de mentir. : Lying is despicable.

It has also been described as the film of reality. English offers excellent examples of this style in sentences such as:

He crept out from under the bed. : Il sortit de dessous le lit.

He walked leisurely into the room. : Il entra dans la chambre sans se presser.

He drank himself to death. : C’est la boisson qui l’a tué.

Off with you. : Va-t-en! Sauve-toi! File!”

Among 21 titles of novels, 16 titles are ‘static’ of the type <Vol d’essai>, but 5 resemble the dynamic nature of the English titles above.

Je me damnerai pour toi.

Quand les genêts refleuriront.

Vous verrez le ciel ouvert.

Quand le diable a soif.

Quand l’amour refleurit.”

A intradutibilidade dos títulos de música.

Writers may somehow delay the development of the ideas until they have found time to absorb and order them by establishing a sequence, hidden connections, cause and effect, etc. This is, broadly speaking[,] the French attitude, which resembles that of a spectator commenting on events rather than that of a participant stating them gradually as they appear. This second attitude requires taking a specific stance and applying value judgments, and can therefore be called rational development, which is achieved by the greater use of the level of abstract expression. Generally speaking, English adopts the first, i.e. the intuitive or sensorial point of view, whereas French prefers the second. This observation is confirmed by the English critic and writer Robert Graves, whose comment on this issue, being subjective, is also quite revealing:

…French, Italian… are reasonable codifications of as much of human experience as can be translated into speech. They give each separate object, process or quality a permanent label duly docketed, and ever afterwards recognize this object, process or quality by its label rather than by itself; … these languages are therefore also the rhetorical languages, rhetoric being the poetry of labels and not the poetry of things themselves. English proper has always been very much a language of ‘conceits’, … the vocabulary is not fully dissociated from the imagery from which it is developed; words still tend to be pictorial and not typographic… It is the persistent use of this method of ‘thought by association of images’ as opposed to ‘thought by generalised preconceptions’ that distinguishes English from the more logical languages. (Graves, 1926)”

Quant à la coordination, elle devient une véritable charpente du langage, très apparente, solide et souple à la fois, abondante et variée. Nombre de ‘particules’ lient les phrases et les propositions entre elles pour bien en marquer le rapport logique: opposition, explication, exemple, résumé, conclusion, objection. C’est encore une des grosses difficultés du grec pour les jeunes héllenistes, et même pour les traducteurs chevronnés. Si l’on traduit toutes les particules, on alourdit intolérablement la phrase française. Si on les escamote, on fait disparaître un des traits essentiels du génie grec: la démarche prudente et sûre de la pensée,… (Bernelle, 1955)”

O Novo Testamento e seu PESO incômodo bem-ilustrados… Por outro lado, não outro senão Platão podia ser o rei-filósofo…

In the translation of French diplomatic or legal texts the omission of connectors which mark the flow of the utterance would be a disservice to the language; but as these connectors can vary considerably between languages, it has to be accepted that what is explicit in one language may have to be implied in the other and vice versa, even in texts that are otherwise considered to require as literal a translation as possible.”

sentient sentence

in the last paragraph, the phrase ‘in other words’ is a semantic connector and ‘but’ a lexical connector. Dictionaries rarely list semantic connectors which are difficult to identify and characterise outside their immediate context.”

“‘furthermore’ can mean both ‘de plus’ and ‘enfin’.” Ademais, ou seja…

In all this immense variety of conditions, the objective must be… : Et cependant, malgré la diversité des conditions…

This sentence contains two enumerations, (i) of the difficulties presented by the diverse conditions and (ii) the choice of objective. ‘This’ has a recall function and at the same time stresses the complexity of the difficulties to be resolved. French prefers to indicate clearly the opposition between the obstacles and the goal to be attained.”

Dictionaries cannot offer suitable equivalents for ‘en effet’ because they would need as many examples as there are situations in which it can occur. Many translators equate ‘en effet’ with ‘in fact’ which however is the equivalent of ‘en fait’. Basically, the expression ‘en fait’ is the opposite of ‘en effet’.”

Com efeito e de fato são sinônimos perfeitos em Português.

Em efeito já seria um arcaísmo, se é que aceitável hora alguma…

Porém no parágrafo acima en fait e in fact seriam : Na verdade…

Na verdade, en fait e in fact seriam…

(idéia de oposição)

In fact I was gonna kill her, but she is indeed adorable!

Absolutely, ma friend.

It is part of Hemingway’s style to use few connectors. In modern French this style can be imitated up to a certain point. There may nevertheless come a moment when, as we have seen, the nature of the language resists close parallel translation. Even if a translator tried to imitate Hemingway’s style, it is doubtful whether French could cope with two ‘and’ in sequence. Also, the ‘when’ would normally be translated by a tighter link.”

OXIDENTE (enferruja mas demora): “In both languages the expansion of a point of view is represented by the colon, the introduction of additional information by brackets, and especially by hyphens. The indentation of a sentence, the separation into paragraphs in order to list a number of arguments, blank spaces of varying size, are all graphic means of articulating a text.”

For an English reader the semicolon [;] reinforces the comma which would normally be expected in this position and has thus the role of final element connector.”

Alemães e franceses curtem mais um

Paragraph structure is an important stylistic device; for example long paragraphs as we find them in Proust or Ruskin and short paragraphs of a few words as in Victor Hugo are intended to achieve specific reactions in readers.”

Freedom at the formal level, which has to be channelled by subtle and rule-governed techniques, is the main concern of this book. It is very difficult to make rules or even set guidelines for organising the macrostructure of texts because of the great diversity of text types and the enormous variation in the length of texts. It is nevertheless very important because it is quite easy to distort the flow of an argument by a wrong segmentation into paragraphs.” “in multilingual publications of the United Nations there seems to be an excessive concern with preserving identical paragraphs in all languages. This practice certainly facilitates cross-references among multilingual texts in a discussion, but it is dangerous to elevate it to an absolute rule. A simple count of paragraphs in bilingual Canadian or European documents shows that for the same text English uses fewer paragraphs than French and that paragraph borders do not always coincide.”

THANK GOD: “as long as the rules we have discovered here are reversible, we are dealing with a structured and classifiable system which to a certain extent is even automatic. Everything else in translation is subjective and is related to literary creation.”

Inexperienced or incurious translators do not spontaneously feel the need for a change of the point of view in a message. The more familiar a syntactic structure is to translators, the less they think of oblique solutions. This tendency is also prevalent in bilingual populations where translation is often no more than a simple calque of structures from the source language. It is, of course, true to say that bilingual populations usually also share a fair amount of culture and therefore background knowledge which influences their verbalisation. They are therefore less likely to use the method of modulation which is built on the recognition of extralinguistic differences.”

French pragmatics to express imperatives positively: French uses ‘Taisez-vous!’ rather than ‘Ne parlez pas!’. Hence ‘Tenez-vous droit!’ rather than ‘Ne soyez pas penché!’”

The advert which states Coca-Cola refreshes without filling (and its variant: Coca-Cola does not fill) cannot be translated literally, especially since the meaning of ‘fill’ is rather subjective. The Canadian translator of this slogan clearly felt the need for a modulation by inversion, which is quite common. ‘La boisson légère, qui rafraîchit!’

Phone for a taxi. : Appelez donc un taxi. (French does not specify the mode of calling or asking.)”

He stood looking at the sea : Il s’arrêta pour contempler la mer.


I’m afraid we’re not on the telephone. : Je regrette, nous n’avons pas le téléphone.

I’m afraid I’m not on e-mail yet. : Je regrette, pour l’instant je n’ai pas accès au courier électronique.

Pôxa féra, recêio naum pôder tiajudá!

O senhor queira nos acompanhar.

Estender a roupa no varal: denota a origem do hábito das lavadeiras de estenderem a roupa sobre a grama. Diferentemente do que seria se disséssemos “pendurar a roupa”.

The move from abstract to concrete reminds us of metonymy; the change of part and whole is like synecdoque; the argument by the negation of the opposite is like litotes; the use of space and time intervals is like metalepsis; etc.” ??? – esclarecimentos na sequência

…and I don’t mean maybe. : …et je ne plaisante pas.

to sleep in the open : dormir à la belle étoile

She can do no other. : Elle ne saurait faillir à sa mission. / Elle ne saurait agir autrement.

This is your receipt. (on a bill) : Reçu du client.

Buy Coca-Cola by the carton. : Achetez Coca-Cola en gros / Achetez Coca-Cola à la douzaine.

Give a pint of your blood. : Donnez un peu de votre sang.

This parcel may be opened for inspection. : Peut être ouvert d’office.

Nous sommes des Napoléons jusqu’à la moelle!

SE VOCÊ NÃO É PRONOME VOCÊ É CONTRA NOMES: “False abstractions in English are a special case under the guise of metonymy. Some English words express rather general abstractions which may cause difficulties in French. These words can be recognised both by the fact that they often stand for a previously expressed sentence and by the use of an abstract deictic. Contrary to expectations French renders these words by concrete expressions. This movement is a form of reverse modulation, moving from the general to the particular, and is motivated by the deictic and seemingly abstract nature of the English text.”

The French ‘installation’ often corresponds to ‘facilities’, a very general word of even wider range than ‘installation’.”

I saw two men with huge beards. : Je vis deux hommes à la barbe de fleuve.

Soldado de estômago vazio não agüenta fuzil: pun intended.

I wouldn’t lift a finger. : Je ne lèverais pas le petit doigt.

Estômago soldado não caga em funil. The part for the whole (synecdoque)

Ex: ‘Le Palais Bourbon’ for the French Parliament; a Sétima Arte; Marseille é a cité Phénicienne; Windy City é Chicago.

A arena onde as bestas se devoram NÃO seria um exemplo de synecdoque (qual o termo traduzido?) quando em uma prosa poética eu estiver me referindo, p.ex., aos nossos queridos congressistas. Neste caso temos uma substituição metonímica, e não a referência a um todo por um “nome próprio” ou alcunha estabelecida.

Mais exemplos onde há substituição:

Ele limpou a garganta : Ele clareou a voz.

He read the book from cover to cover. : Il lut le livre de la première à la dernière page.

“Ele flutuava dentro de suas vestes”: construção possível no Francês para denotar a frouxidão e largueza das roupas em alguém.

Don’t call up the stairs. : N’appelle pas du bas de l’escalier. [??]

Yield right of way. [US] : Priorité à gauche. Negation of the opposite (litotes)

It does not seem unlikely. : Il est fort probable.

He has a guilty conscience. : Il n’a pas la conscience tranquille.

Come along quietly. (Policeman to man being arrested) : Suivez-moi sans protester.

Don’t make me laugh. : Laissez-moi rire. [??]

I know as little as you do about it. :Je n’en sais pas plus que vous. Space for time (metalepsis)

Where my generation was writing poetry… these youngsters are studying radio scripts. : Alors que ma génération faisait des vers… les jeunes d’aujourd’hui travaillent des textes pour la radio.

* * *

the white man’s burden : le fardeau de la civilisation

Fixed expressions representing modulations, e.g. the type ‘fireboat : bateau-pompe’ exist both at the lexical level and for whole messages. In the latter case we speak of equivalences, which are discussed in the next section, e.g.:

Vous l’avez échappé belle. : You’ve had a narrow escape. : Essa foi por pouco : Escapou fedendo. : Foi por um triz.”

There is thus a difference between the parallelism of equivalences which have emerged independently in each language in an identical situation and the equivalences created by translation which have become an integral part of the TL.” “There exists a phased process of creation of new expressions some of which become fixed with time, e.g. the phrase ‘a new deal’, spontaneously written by Mark Twain, became a fixed expression with a political meaning, i.e. New Deal, when it was taken up by President Roosevelt and led later to similar expressions in politics, e.g. Fair Deal.”

semantic equivalences can be recorded in glossaries as collections of gallicisms, idioms, proverbs, idiomatic expressions, etc. (see: Dony, 1951). We intend to show that the scope of equivalences is wider and that such collections can never be exhaustive.”

French cleaning : (in France) Nettoyage américain

invisible mending : stoppage

French stick : baguette

French toast : Pain perdu. Pain doré (Canada)

French leave : filer à l’anglaise [!]

German measles : rubéole

Spanish fly : cantharide

LE BON NÖEL: “(The habit of exchanging impersonal preprinted cards at Christmas is of relatively recent date in France. Before that people sent visiting cards or letters for the New year which, though also containing ready-made phrases, were not so general as the English phrase above.)”

alusões (sínteses) culturais:

A Tomada da Bastilha : Le quatorze Juillet : Bastille Day / the storming of Bastille

Le quatre Septembre : The fall of the French 2nd Empire (1870)

L’homme du dix-huit Juin : De Gaulle (particularmente seu discurso de 18/06/1940)

la fille aînée de l’Église : Catholic France

la chute du Mur : The re-unification of Berlin

elephant : Partido Republicano

the deep south: Georgia, Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama e Mississippi

the Boston tea-party : o incêndio de navios carregados de chá no porto de Boston que iniciou a Revolução Americana de 1776

no taxation without representation : o slogan que fez eclodir a guerra de independência

epítetos retóricos:

the Granite City (Aberdeen)

the Athens of the North (Edinburgh)

um Bourbon (republicano americano!)

the Old Dominion (the state of Virginia)

Old Glory (the flag of the US) [que nojo]

the Old Colony (the state of Massachusetts) [quem adorou foi o Moro]

The simplest external indicator of allusions is to be found in words with a deictic, anaphoric or cataphoric function. In the process of analysis we could indicate anaphoric references by a left pointing arrow (←) and cataphoric references by a right pointing arrow (→); this distinction could be useful in identifying the nature of the reference so that the translation can properly account for them.

The English definite article has a greater deictic value than the French definite article and must therefore at times be rendered by a French demonstrative. Some are anaphoric, i.e. they refer to previous events or situations”

There is no future in the country if this is allowed to prevail. : Avec un pareil → état d’esprit le pays est voué à la stagnation.

Probably under the influence of the English ‘this’, many French language newspapers use ‘Ce’ in headlines, even when no explicit allusion would appear to justify such a deictic. In order to conform to the French tradition these headlines should have used nominal expressions”



French has followed English in this use of deictics, as we can see in the example of the advertising slogan C’est une chaise Flambo!. In this case an accompanying photograph or drawing can explain and even justify the use of the deictic.”

France’s Pineau. : M. Pineau, représentant de la France.

Renowned European Cuisine. : Sa cuisine.

Epicurean Wine Cellar. : Ses vins fins.

Scenic Aerial Chair Lifts. : Son monte-pente pittoresque.

Private Heated Swimming Pool : Sa piscine.

clichés are single units of translation and should wherever possible be replaced by an equivalent target language cliché. The motivation for the use of clichés can be found in the desire to avoid repetition, i.e. the wish to produce ‘elegant variations’. It may occur that there is no need for a cliché in the target language. English is not as averse to repetition as French. We can therefore expect to find more clichés in French than in English.” Cf. Partdrige, Dictionary of Clichés (1980)

You could have knocked me down with a feather. : J’en suis resté sidéré, estomaqué,…

You could have heard a pin drop. : On aurait pu entendre voler une mouche.

Was my face red!? : Je ne savais plus où me mettre.

It was sitting there all the time. : Il me crevait les yeux.

He had it coming to him. : C’est bien fait; ça lui apprendra.

be fruitful and multiply : croissez et multipliez

Genesis 1.28

old and well-stricken in years : vieux et avancés en âge

Genesis 18.11

signs and wonders : prodiges et miracles

Exodus 7.3

Fixed allusions differ from clichés in that they have a specific origin which can be traced back to an author, a book, or a well-known historic fact. They form part of a people’s heritage, and it is quite possible that 2 people, though speaking the same language do not share the same literary or historical allusions. This is frequently the case with British and North American texts.”

a certain flair is needed to recognise citations which are not identified by quotation marks or reference to the author or the book but are hidden in the text.”

Different periods and social classes have their own preferences for sources of allusions but the French classical authors have been cited for centuries and are likely to continue to do so. Many have full English equivalents and occur in English dictionaries of quotations, but English users of such phrases would not necessarily make the same cultural association to the original author and his historical period.”

a whole series of books took their title from a film by the American comedian Woody Allen, Everything you ever wanted to know about sex, but were ashamed to ask. For example, in 1981 the highly respected philosopher James D. McCawley [who?] published Everything that linguists have always to know about Logic but were ashamed to ask.”

Estude por cem dias. Quem sabe lhe servirá para um.

Em Roma fechada não entra mosca.

Como diria um português em 1530: o melhor é sempre ir par’oeste.

Her ghost in Phileas Fogg

Moçoila como a neblina (fille as fog)

O caminho mais curto para a verdade não é uma linha reta, afinal a terra é geóide.

O menor caminho entre dois pontos é uma parábola, até Einstein saberia disso.

Diz a razão, diz a abstração, que nada há mais prático e rápido que uma linha reta do início ao fim: eis porque a vida é irracional, imediata, enrolada e demora a passar! Não confie em conselhos, prefira viver sem celhos!

Pierre est vraiment séraphin. : Pierre is very avaricious.

The book by J. Heller Catch-22, later made into a film and long running television series, has given us an expression for a situation in which one cannot win, in the sense of the proverb <Heads I win, tails you lose>.”

Down! (to a dog) : Couché! Bas les pattes!

Keep off the grass! : Ne marchez pas sur le gazon! : A grama ainda está muito verde para receber caminhantes.

Under new management. : Changement de propriétaire.

: Nouvelle administration (C.F)

Desculpe, mas em Português essa não colou!

Slippery when wet. : Chaussée glissante par temps humide.

Winding Road. : Virage sur x kilomètres.

In the last example French indicates a distance, whereas English readers are expected to note by themselves when the curves stop. The greater precision expressed in French road signs by the use of precise measurements, e.g. PARIS À 600 MÈTRES (Gare St-Lazare), may add to the impression some tourists have gained that French is a clear and transparent language.”

Ceci c’est pas un spa!

Slowly you can go forever

There’s never a game over if you can fill this form.

Cof cof

Eles se parecem como dois flocos de neve. Yin e yang.

– Vocês são como Mario e Luigi.

– Irmãos inseparáveis?

– Não: todo mundo agradeceria se aparecesse só um por vez.

– Detesto hospitalidade.

– Como?

– Eu disse que detesto essas duas coisas.

– Mas você só disse uma.

– Hospital e idade. Detesto ser bem-tratado só porque sou um velho doente.

A caridade começa onde a hospitalidade acaba: no limiar da porta da sua casa.

Take, for example, the fact that most American cities are built on two sides of a railway line. Because of the distribution of population on either side, Americans speak of a right side and a wrong side of the track when they want to make general class distinctions. Translators must understand this situation before they can attempt to create the following equivalent message.

He lives on the wrong side of the track. : Il n’est pas de notre milieu.”

Ela é Julieta e eu Romeu, com essa diferença: não nos gostamos. Aí tens.

The text book examples are usually taken from Indian languages which do not differentiate between the colours red and brown, or red-brown-black, or between white-grey-pale blue, etc. Nearer to European languages, the standard example is Welsh, for which the following table shows the division of colours”

The now obsolete French expression ‘demi-tasse’ is still used in the English-speaking America to refer to the small cups used for after-dinner coffee.”

We can cite an incident of the First World War. A misunderstanding about the English troops was based on the translation of ‘tea’, the name for the English soldiers’ evening meal, by the French ‘thé’ [quando não passava de uma ração ordinária de soldado].”

The English ‘residential areas’ refers to parts of towns without shops, offices or factories. This type of town planning is often unknown in France and consequently the concept does not exist. Even in the ‘beaux quartiers’ of Paris — another metalinguistic problem — there are shops and offices in elegant residential streets.”

the French ‘quartier des affaires’, ‘centre ville’ or ‘centre’ would correspond to the US ‘downtown’ or ‘business centre’ or the ‘City’ of London.”

In the English speaking world ‘science’ does not include mathematics, the ‘humanities’ does not include history and geography and possibly linguistics.”

PROFESSOR É QUEM TEM PROFESSORADO: “the title of professor followed by the proper name is in France usually reserved for medical professors. Other university professors are more frequently called simply ‘M. X’.”

The word ‘hospital’ is not always best translated by ‘hôpital’ which in French has certain connotations of poverty if not outright misery. Therefore, in certain cases it is better to translate:

I went to see him at the hospital. : Je suis allé le voir à sa clinique.”

Yours truly, : Salutations distinguées,

Yours sincerely, : Veuillez agréer l’expression de mes sentiments les meilleurs,

Yours ever, : Amitiés

* * *

As a form of conclusion we can do not better than critically examine André Gide’s observations in the preface to his translation of the first act of Hamlet.

The study of messages, originally proposed by Zellig Harris (1952), had to wait another 2 decades before it was granted its own theories under the heading of text linguistics. Halliday (1976) discussed criteria for textual cohesion, Hoey (1983) presents the criterion of coherence. A global view of text linguistics is given in Dressler (ed.) (1978).” “There is a substantial literature on the linguistic aspects of metaphor, e.g. the excellent collection of articles edited by Ortony (1979) and Lakoff (1980); in French metaphor is discussed by Henry (1971).”

A psycholinguistic interpretation of the criterion of relevance in translation is given by Gutt (1991).”

Bernelle, M.A. 1955. “Présentation du grec ancien”. in: Vie et Langage 44. 492.

Cassirer, E. 1979. Symbol, Myth and Culture. Essays and Lectures of E. Cassirer. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Dony, Y.P. de 1951. Léxico del Lenguaje Figurado (Castellano, Français, English, Deutsch. Buenos Aires: Desclée de Brouwer.

Galichet, 1958. Physiologie de la Langue française

Hutchins, J. & Somers, H. 1992. Introduction to Machine Translation. London: Academic Press.

Locke, W.N. & Booth, A.D. 1955. Machine Translation of Languages. New York: Wiley. Lyons, J. 1977. Semantics (2vols.) Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Malblanc, A. 1944. Stylistique comparée du français et de l’allemand. (5ed. 1968) Paris: Didier.

* * *

Rivers perhaps are the only physical features of the world that are at their best from the air. Mountain ranges, no longer seen in profile, dwarf to ant-hills; seas lose their horizons; lakes have no longer depth but look like bright pennies on the earth’s surface; forests become a thin, impermanent film, a moss on the top of a wet stone, easily rubbed off. But rivers, which from the ground one usually seen only in cross sections, like a small sample of ribbon — rivers stretch out serenely ahead as far as the eye can reach. Rivers are seen in their true stature.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh, North to the Orient

THE ART OF NOISES – Manifesto do pintor futurista Luigi Russolo

The Greeks themselves, with their musical theories calculated mathematically by Pythagoras and according to which only a few consonant intervals could be used, limited the field of music considerably, rendering harmony, of which they were unaware, impossible.

The Middle Ages, with the development and modification of the Greek thetrachordal system, with the Gregorian chant and popular songs, enriched the art of music, but continued to consider sound in its development in time, a restricted notion, but one which lasted many centuries, and which still can be found in the Flemish contrapuntalists’ most complicated polyphonies.”

Eis que fez-se o acorde!

On the other hand, musical sound is too limited in its qualitative variety of tones. The most complex orchestras boil down to 4 or 5 types of instrument, varying in timber: instruments played by bow or plucking, by blowing into metal or wood, and by percussion. And so modern music goes round in this small circle, struggling in vain to create new ranges of tones.”

We Futurists have deeply loved and enjoyed the harmonies of the great masters. For many years Beethoven and Wagner shook our nerves and hearts. Now we are satiated and we find far more enjoyment in the combination of the noises of trams, backfiring motors, carriages and bawling crowds than in rehearsing, for example, the Eroica or the Pastoral.

We cannot see that enormous apparatus of force that the modern orchestra represents without feeling the most profound and total disillusion at the paltry acoustic results. Do you know of any sight more ridiculous than that of 20 men furiously bent on the redoubling the mewing of a violin?”

Meanwhile a repugnant mixture is concocted from monotonous sensations and the idiotic religious emotion of listeners buddhistically drunk with repeating for the nth time their more or less snobbish or 2nd-hand ecstasy.”

Nor should the newest noises of modern war be forgotten. Recently, the poet Marinetti, in a letter from the trenches of Adrianopolis, described to me with marvelous free words the orchestra of a great battle:

every 5 seconds siege cannons gutting space with a chord ZANG-TUMB-TUUMB mutiny of 500 echos smashing scattering it to infinity. In the center of this hateful ZANG-TUMB-TUUMB area 50km² leaping bursts lacerations fists rapid fire batteries. Violence ferocity regularity this deep bass scanning the strange shrill frantic crowds of the battle Fury breathless ears eyes nostrils open! load! fire! what a joy to hear to smell copletely taratatata of the machine guns screaming a breathless under the stings slaps traak-traak whips pic-pac-pum-tumb weirdness leaps 200m range Far far in back of the orchestra pools muddying huffing goaded oxen wagons pluff-plaff horse action flic flac zing zing shaaack laughing whinnies the tiinkling jiiingling tramping 3 Bulgarian battalions marching croooc-craaac (slowly) Shumi Maritza or Karvavena ZANG-TUMB-TUUUMB toc-toc-toc-toc (fast) crooc-craac (slowly) crys of officers slamming about like brass plates pan here paak there BUUUM ching chaak (very fast) cha-cha-cha-cha-chaak down there up around high up look out your head beautiful! Flashing flashing flashing flashing flashing flashing footlights of the forts down there behind that smoke Shukri Pasha communicates by phone with 27 forts in Turkish in Herman Allo! Ibrahim! Rudolf! allo! allo! actors parts echos of prompters scenery of smoke forests applause odor of hay mud dung I no longer feel my frozen feet odor of gunsmoke odor of rot Tumpani flutes clarinets everywhere low high birds chirping blessed shadows cheep-cheep-cheep green breezes flocks don-dan-don-din-baah Orchestra madmen pommel the performers they terribly beaten playing din not erasing clearing up cutting off slighter noises very small scraps of echos in the theater area 300km² Rivers Maritza Tungia stretched out Rodolpi Mountains rearing heights loges boxes 2000 shrapnels waving arms exploding very white handkerchiefs full of gold srrrr-TUMB-TUMB 2000 raised grenades tearing out bursts of very black hair ZANG-srrrr-TUMB-ZANG-TUMB-TUUMB the orchestra of the noises of war swelling under a held note of silence in the high sky round golden balloon that observes the firing…”

Every noise has a tone, and sometimes also a harmony that predominates over the body of its irregular vibrations.”

We are therefore certain that by selecting, coordinating and dominating all noises we will enrich men with a new and unexpected sensual pleasure.

Although it is characteristic of noise to recall us brutally to real life, the art of noise must not limit itself to imitative reproduction. It will achieve its most emotive power in the acoustic enjoyment, in its own right”

We note, in fact, in the composers of genius, a tendency towards the most complicated dissonances. As these move further and further away from pure sound, they almost achieve noise-sound.”

In this way the motors and machines of our industrial cities will one day be consciously attuned, so that every factory will be transformed into an intoxicating orchestra of noises.”

WOMEN, MOTHERS, AND THE LAW OF FRIGHT: A HISTORY – Martha Chamallas & Linda Kerber


tort: injustiça

This article presents a gendered history of the law’s treatment of fright-based physical injuries. Our goal is to connect the law of fright to the changing cultural and intellectual forces of the 20th century. Through a feminist lens, we reexamine the accounts of the legal treatment of fright-based injuries offered by Victorian-era jurists, traditionalist legal scholars of the first 2 decades of the 20th century, a legal realist in the 30s, and a <Freudian> medical-legal commentator from the 40s, all of whom helped to shape present-day tort doctrine. We conclude with an account of Dillon v. Legg, in which the California Supreme Court recognized Margery Dillon’s right to recover for the harm she suffered from seeing her daughter killed by a negligent driver.”

An old English case, Lynch v. Knight, is famous for originating the general proposition that mental disturbance alone does not qualify as a legally cognizable harm.”

The loss of such service of the wife, the husband, who alone has all the property of the married parties, may repair by hiring another servant; but the wife sustains only the loss of the comfort of her husband’s society and affectionate attention, which the law cannot estimate or remedy. She does not lose her maintenance, which he is bound still to supply …” “When the husband was the plaintiff, the loss was viewed as material harm; when the wife sought recovery, the loss was called emotional harm. This legally constructed asymmetry resulted in gender disadvantage to women.”

Adultery for men was forgivable; the same conduct on the part of women was not. Campbell analogized the husband’s injury resulting from a wife’s adultery to the loss of property a total deprivation that occurred regardless of the husband’s subjective response. He relegated the wife’s injury to the non-compensable class of hurt feelings.”

In a prominent case at the turn of the century, Justice Holmes found that the reason for the impact rule was to separate genuine from fraudulent claims, not to separate the physical from the mental. The requirement of an impact was said to function as some guarantee of genuineness. By shifting the rationale from the theoretical to the practical, Justice Holmes helped the impact rule to survive in a significant minority of the states until the 60s. The physical injury requirement is the modem descendant of the impact rule. It requires a plaintiff to demonstrate that her fright resulted in physical injury, rather than only mental distress.”

The bystander rule requires a plaintiff to prove that her injury is traceable to fear for her own personal safety, rather than fear or concern for the safety of another. This restriction gets its name because it prohibits witnesses to accidents from seeking recovery, thus limiting claims to primary accident victims. Many jurisdictions that were unable to tolerate the harsh results of the bystander rule have softened the rule to allow recovery to a plaintiff who feared for the safety of another person, if he or she were also physically imperiled by the defendant’s conduct. The modified amended rule in these states became known as the <danger zone> rule placing the emphasis on the physical location of the plaintiff rather than on the source of the mental distress.”

One court, for example, applied the bystander rule to deny recovery to a mother of a newborn who witnessed a nurse negligently drop her baby onto the tiled floor of a hospital room, fracturing the baby’s skull. (…) the bystander cases more often involved transportation-related injuries; typically, the plaintiff witnessed an automobile driver injure or kill a close family member.”

The history of the doctrine governing fright-based injury often bewilders students in 1st-year torts classes until the doctrine is described as evidence of the law’s gradual evolution toward a more liberal, plaintiff-oriented system of recovery. The scheme becomes more comprehensible when students are told that the old law that virtually closed off recovery for fright-based injuries is gradually being replaced by a more flexible system that permits some classes of plaintiffs to recover, so long as they fall within the new set of boundaries established by the courts in the various states.”

There are few clues as to why women began to seek compensation for fright-based injuries only in the late 19th century. The appearance of these claims may be linked to medical understandings of conditions known as neurasthenia and hysteria. In the 1870s and 1880s, pioneering neurologists, notably George Beard and S. Weir Mitchell, established a connection between mind and body, specifically that mental and emotional problems may produce physical manifestations.” “Beard’s most important treatise is AMERICAN NERVOUSNESS: ITS CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES (1881) [futuramente no Seclusão]; Mitchell’s is perhaps FAT AND BLOOD: AN ESSAY ON THE TREATMENT OF CERTAIN FORMS OF NEURASTHENIA AND HYSTERIA (5ed., 1888). This understanding rested heavily on the work of the great French physician Jean Martin Charcot, with whom Freud studied briefly.”

Despite these new understandings, the older perception that hysteria was a disorder traceable to the uterus and was therefore peculiar to women continued to persist both inside and outside the medical community.”

Therapy for hysteria reflected this distrust: it involved isolating the patient from all except the doctor, who then dominated the patient emotionally. In short, treatment could be punitive.”

While the availability of neurasthenia as a diagnosis made men, as well as women, more free to confess to anxieties, insomnia, palpitations, impotence, and other nervous disorders, men still lived in a culture that severely inhibited them from publicly confessing weakness.”

The first notable case involving a claim of fright-based injury was an Australian case decided by the Privy Council in 1888. Victorian Railways Commissioners v. Coultas involved a near miss at a railroad crossing. The plaintiff, Mary Coultas, was riding in a buggy with her husband and brother. An employee of the defendant-railroad negligently signaled the buggy to cross and Mary Coultas feared that she and her companions would be killed by the fast-approaching train. Mary Coultas’ husband managed to get the buggy across the track, so that the train passed close to the back of the buggy but did not touch it. Mary Coultas fainted into the arms of her brother and there was medical testimony to the effect that she suffered a severe nervous shock, a miscarriage [no sentido estrito de aborto espontâneo], prolonged physical illness, and impaired memory and eye-sight.” “The conventional wisdom of the time accepted the notion that miscarriages and other birth-related harms could stem from fright or nervous shock and that it was not abnormal for pregnant women to suffer such responses, at least if the stimuli were frightening enough.”

By the 1970s, obstetricians believed that <most spontaneous abortions . . . occur some time after death of the embryo or fetus> and, therefore, <if abortion were caused by (psychic or physical) trauma, it would likely not be a very recent accident but an event that had occurred some weeks before.>

the cases displayed a sympathy for the plight of corporate defendants exposed to claims by a potentially large class of persons. The attitude seemed to be that the infirm, the unfit, and the sensitive must take their chances when they venture outside their homes. The message to pregnant women was that the dangers of injury, and particularly of uncompensated injury, increased on the public streets.”

it was problematic to view pregnancy as extraordinary or unusual because there was always a certain number of pregnant women in every community. (…) For the next 3 decades, Bohlen’s article would serve as the foundation for many of the traditional critiques of the impact rule.”

A typical case arose in Wisconsin in 1935 when Susie Waube looked outside the window of her home and saw her daughter struck and killed by a negligent driver. Susie Waube became <extremely hysterical, sick and prostrated> and died less than a month later. Her husband brought a survival action to claim the recovery to which his wife would have been entitled had she lived. The Wisconsin Supreme Court dismissed the complaint, concluding that the defendant owed no duty to protect Susie Waube from harm.”

When in 1931 Karl Llewellyn listed the nation’s leading legal realists, Leon Green was on the list – a list that also included William O. Douglas, Charles Clark, and Jerome Frank. Green’s work on fright and his more general articles on negligence law were very influential.” “An insightful discussion of the characteristics of the diverse group known as the legal realists is contained in Singer, Legal Realism Now, 1988.” “Green was not interested in debating the logical merits of the impact rule. He preferred to group the cases around factual similarities or situation types, creating 3 new categories: derailment, passenger, and general traffic.” “Ironically, Green’s radical methodology was used to defend the status quo in this area of tort law – Green’s work later would be cited by conservative judges seeking a new rationalization for restrictive legal precedent limiting recovery.”

Despite Green’s realist penchant for fact-sensitivity, he did not analyze the significance of gender as a factor influencing judgment. In the very first paragraph of his fright article, Green made the point that some courts had mistrusted claims of fright-based injuries. He then made a significant observation about the marginalization of this type of law-suit: <Their labels as ‘fright’ or ‘mental suffering’ cases signify the distrust with which they were at first, and still are, regarded by some courts. With few exceptions, recoveries have been restricted to women, and for most part, pregnant women.> That is all Green had to say about gender. His single observation suggests that the fright cause of action is marginal to the law of torts and perhaps that only female plaintiffs stand a good chance of prevailing.” “Green was correct in thinking of fright-based injury as a woman-dominated claim, but his implication that the claims of women were favored by the courts was unsupported by the cases he cited.” “Both Green and Prosser created the impression that women not only dominated the tort but that <mere> men might have a harder time recovering.”

the new field of psychosomatic medicine enabled the physician to diagnose more subtle presentations of psychic disability, not all of which appeared overnight and some of which required <usually a long bombardment with emotional stimuli> over a period of time. Smith had in mind disorders such as asthma, angina, hypertension, colitis, peptic ulcers, gastritis, anorexia nervosa, and psoriasis.”

Males venture into places of peril as much as females and so are as frequently exposed to (trivial impacts or psychic stimuli). But the male is usually the breadwinner; his thoughts are distracted from his experience by the tasks of his job, and further, he has much to lose and little to gain by developing a neurosis. The female is usually at home, has more time to ponder upon the experience, and more to gain and less to lose from developing symptoms. The independent post-accident psychological forces conducing to neurosis are apt to be more potent in her case.” O antiquado Smith

He found that the ratio of female plaintiffs to male among his cases was a striking 5:1.”

Smith even ventured to explain why women sue more often in impact cases: <We might theorize that more women than men suffer ‘injury from without’, either because they frighten more easily or in fleeing from apprehended peril, are handicapped by lack of athletic prowess or masculine agility and so fall victim to comparative clumsiness. (…) It well may be that the male ego is too compromised by claiming injury through fright, this deterrent to suit being bolstered by social taboos. After all, one has to face a jury, and he does not like to become an ass before his fellow man. A woman’s <femininity> is not hurt by such a claim.>”

Skeptical of both the claims of women in fright cases and of men who claimed combat neurosis, Smith saw the situations as analogous because he believed that, in both settings, the victim stood to gain by pleading weakness a situation otherwise uncommon.” “Smith’s application of Freud to legal doctrine prompted him to notice gender but in the process to reinforce gender inequality.” Não entendeu nada de F.

Shall it be the sturdy phlegmatic chap who has been building up his biceps at the Y.M.C.A. the fragile fellow whose resistance is subnormal, or the average man in normal health, toughened and seasoned by everyday stimuli of the knock-about world?”

The breakthrough case that first permitted recovery for mothers who witnessed their children’s injury was a California appellate decision written by Justice Matthew O. Tobriner in 1962. At the time Amaya v. Home Ice, Fuel & Supply Co. was decided, the courts seemed to be hardening their stance against recovery in <bystander> cases, except in the rare <danger zone> situation in which the plaintiff was also physically imperiled.”

Lillian Amaya watched from a distance of 80 feet [~20m] as her 17-month-old son was crushed beneath the wheels of a negligently driven ice truck in the driveway of their home.”

Tobriner’s ruling for the plaintiff in Amaya was reversed by the California Supreme Court in a 4-3 decision. In fact, the result was even closer than the split indicated. By the time of the supreme court ruling, Justice Tobriner had himself been elevated to the supreme court. Unfortunately for the plaintiff, however, Tobriner was required to recuse himself from the Amaya litigation in the supreme court because he had decided the case in the lower court. The judge sitting in for Tobriner supplied the critical vote against the plaintiff to produce the very shakiest of precedents against recovery.”

Only 5 years after deciding Amaya, the California Supreme Court overruled it in Dillon v. Legg. Justice Tobriner wrote for the new majority in 1968. He stressed that the plaintiff was a mother, not an ordinary bystander, who witnessed the negligent killing of her child.”

Tobriner would not allow the ruling in Dillon to depend on this narrow factual distinction. Instead, he flatly rejected the danger zone approach as a <hopeless artificiality> that would produce the anomalous result of granting <relief to the sister… and yet deny it to the mother merely because of a happen-stance that the sister was some few yards closer to the accident>. The new rule announced in Dillon was that liability would depend on the more flexible test of whether the accident and the harm were reasonably foreseeable. Tobriner expressly noted that the closeness of the relationship between the plaintiff and the victim should be a key determinant of foreseeability. The old physical danger zone was transformed by Tobriner into a larger zone of emotional danger.”

In Bakke, the social change Tobriner wished to support was the integration of black students into medical schools. His dissent remains an eloquent defense of affirmative action as entirely consistent with the goals of the 14th amendment.”

Neither Margery Dillon nor her lawyers, so far as we can tell, understood their victory in terms of women’s rights. It is also unlikely that the judges who dissented in Amaya or joined the majority in Dillon understood themselves to be responding directly to the gendered nature of the issues in these cases. Subsequent legal commentators have also ignored the role that gender played in Dillon.”

It appears that Margery Dillon supported her children without help from her ex-husband. In her wrongful death complaint, Dillon alleged that her ex-husband had not contributed materially to Erin’s support and maintenance before her death.”

Guido Calabresi is one of the few commentators who goes beyond cost-benefit assessments to acknowledge tort law’s role in <shaping tastes>. Calabresi claims that the law is more likely to compensate for an emotional cost when the harm is intuitively <shocking, offensive, and even abominable>.”

<Mother love> surely was not a creation of America in the 60s. Why, then, did it take so long for the courts to produce Dillon?”

The years between 60, when an ice truck injured James Amaya, and 68, when Tobriner handed down the California Supreme Court’s decision in Dillon, were transitional years in American social history. They marked the end stages of an era that we remember as <the cold war>, a period usually dated from 1945 to 65 or so, in which an overarching demand for security in foreign affairs filtered into a <domestic revival> that offered marriage and motherhood as the only appropriate roles for women.” “in 60, 40% of women over 16 held a job, and 1/3 of working women were mothers of children under 18.”

As Amy Swerdlow’s study of Women Strike for Peace has shown, when thousands of women wanted to protest atomic bomb testing in 1961, they found that the most effective strategy indeed, the only effective strategy available to them was to organize as mothers who feared for the health of their children and who worried particularly about strontium-90 in milk. Any other stance was vulnerable to being attacked as unwomanly, un-American, and pro-Communist.” [!!]

It is also clear that the Dillon judges were writing in the intensely political year 68, toward the end of a decade in which both the civil rights and anti-war movements had been conducting a national teaching, as it were, on the topic <the personal is political>. The Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, had been established in 1961. Betty Friedan’s manifesto The Feminine Mystique had been published in 1963, one year after the Amaya decision was handed down. When Dillon was decided, a 2-year-old National Organization of Women had articulated a call for an equal rights amendment, for access to safe, legal abortions, and for the enforcement of anti-discrimination legislation. In 68, feminists picketed the Miss America pageant.”

The wrongful birth cause of action complements the Dillon claim in that it gives legal recognition to the interest women have in their relationship to their unborn children. The wrongful birth cause of action pressures health professionals to make sure that a pregnant woman (or a woman contemplating pregnancy) is advised of any condition that might affect her own well-being or that of her unborn child. By enlarging the physician’s duty, this cause of action tends to expand the notion of women’s health to include reproductive health and health of offspring.”

That recognizing difference may lead to marginalization, while ignoring difference may lead to inequitable results, has long been the Scylla and Charybdis of feminist theory. A major goal of feminist theory is to find a route past these monsters” “Tort law began to respond to women’s interests at a transitional moment in which the cold war’s reification of domesticity began to give way to the contemporary women’s movement for social change.”

THE NAKED THERAPIST – Sheldon Kopp em “kopperação” com outros terapeutas

“This is not the first time my writing has been informed by my dreaming self. By now I am wise enough to trust such experiences even before I can make sense of them.”

Acceptance and praise foster a feeling of well-being in the child. They encourage confidence, spontaneity, hope, and a sense of being worthwhile. Punishment and threat induce guilt feelings, moralistic self-restriction, and pressure to atone. Guilt is the anxiety that accompanies transgressions, carrying with it the feeling of having done bad things and the fear of the parents’ angry retaliation. In the interests of self-protection, the child learns to deal with this anticipated punishment preemptively by turning it into an internalized threat against himself. § Disapproval and contempt make a child feel ashamed of not being a worthwhile person. The implied danger of abandonment may make him shy, avoidant, and ever anxious about making mistakes, appearing foolish, and being open to further ridicule.” “Aceitação e elogios alimentam na criança uma sensação de bem-estar e conforto. Encorajam a confiança, espontaneidade, esperança, um senso de capacidade e de cumprir o seu papel. Punição e ameaças induzem sentimentos de culpa, auto-restrições morais, pressão corretiva. A culpa é a ansiedade que acompanha transgressões, carregando consigo o sentimento de ter feito coisas ruins e o medo da retaliação furiosa dos pais. Com a auto-preservação em vista, a criança aprende a lidar com esse castigo iminente de modo preventivo, internalizando a ameaça contra si mesma. § Desaprovação e desdém fazem a criança se sentir envergonhada por não ser uma pessoa valorosa. O perigo implicado no sentir-se abandonado é o desenvolvimento de uma personalidade tímida, esquiva, evitativa, constantemente ansiosa ou apreensiva quanto ao cometimento de erros, com medo de acabar parecendo um tolo ou de estar vulnerável ao ridículo dos outros.”

A ANTIGA SÍNDROME DE RENAN: Medo de ser expulso de casa. Medo de dar muitas despesas. Medo de ser um mero mortal.

<Look how foolish you are, how clumsy, how stupid! What will other people think of you when they see that you can’t seem to do anything right? You should be ashamed of yourself acting like that. If only you really cared, if only you wanted to act right, if only you would try harder, then you could be the kind of child we want you to be.> Repeated exposure to such abuse calls forth an inner echo of self-contempt. § Eventually the child learns to say of himself, <What an idiot I am, what a fool, what an awful person! I never do anything right. I have no self-control. I just don’t try hard enough. If I did, surely they would be satisfied.>” “<Olha quão tolo você é, desajeitado, estúpido! O que vão pensar de você, se você não consegue fazer nada direito? Você devia sentir vergonha de si mesmo agindo desse jeito. Se apenas você se importasse, se você só quisesse agir adequadamente, se você apenas tentasse mais, aí então você seria o tipo de criança que queríamos que você fosse.> A exposição repetida a tal tipo de discurso leva a uma internalização dum eco de auto-desprezo; uma voz interna passa a repetir as mesmas coisas antes faladas pelos seus superiores. § Eventualmente, chega-se ao ponto em que a própria criança dirá, diante de cada nova decepção: <Que idiota que eu sou, que imbecil, que péssima pessoa! Nunca faço nada certo. Não tenho sequer auto-controle. E eu nunca tento o bastante. Se eu tentasse, com certeza satisfaria a vontade dos outros.>”

“My own mother often told me: <I love you, but I don’t like you.> It was clear that this meant that she loved me because she was a good mother, but that she did not like me because I was an unsatisfactory child.”

“The experience of being seen as momentarily not yet able to cope is a natural part of growth. It is also natural to experience the embarrassment that accompanies making mistakes, stumbling, blundering, or fucking-up.”

“Some parents are too hard on their children because of their own personal problems, others because of harsh cultural standards. Some cultures make excessive demands for precocious maturing of the child. In such settings, shaming inculcates the feeling that other people will not like the child unless he lives up to their expectations. § When shaming arises out of the pathology of neurotic parents, the child may be expected to take care of the parents. Such a child may never learn that the natural order of things is quite the reverse. He is discouraged from ever realizing that it is the parents who are supposed to take care of the child. § Even more insidious is the impact of the parent who unconsciously needs to have an unsatisfactory child. Such a parent will never be satisfied, no matter how hard the child tries, no matter how much he accomplishes. Anything less than perfection is unacceptable. If the child gets a grade of 95 on an examination, he will be asked why he didn’t get 100. If he gets 100, he will be asked what took him so long to get a satisfactory grade. Told that he should have been getting 100 all along, he may become afraid to do well lest perfect grades be demanded of him all the time from then on. If he happens to be a chronic straight-A student, then he may be asked, <If you’re so damn smart, how come you can’t keep your room clean?>” “This can lead to his spending a lifetime vainly seeking the approval of others in the hope that he may someday be validated at last. § My own parents shamed me needlessly and often. They made it clear that it was my clumsiness, my inadequacies, and my failures that made them unhappy. Even my successes and accomplishments were made to reveal how inferior and insufficient I was.”

“<Enough,> she stilled me. <A boy doesn’t interrupt when a father is talking, a father who sweats in the city all week long for him.>”

“Those who have been shamed can some day learn to overcome feeling unworthy. Embarrassment, in contrast, is a natural reaction that is inevitable in certain social situations.”

quavering speech [fala tremida] or breaking of the voice, sweating, blanching [empalidecimento], blinking, tremor of the hand, hesitating or vacillating movement, absent-mindedness” Goffman, Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-Face Behavior, 1967

“The medical term for less-than-normal breathing capacity, for instance, is respiratory embarrassment.”

“Some unexpected physical clumsiness, breach of etiquette, or interpersonal insensitivity may leave a person open to criticism for being more crude or coarse than he claims to be. But this is an issue of manners, not of morals. It may make for a temporary change of social status, but never carries with it the self-threatening sanctions of shame, with its implications of abandonment, loss of love, and ultimate emotional starvation.”

“For a moment all bets are off. Trust of myself and others is in jeopardy. All values are once again in question. First there is the question of trust in myself. Am I an adequate human being or a fool? What can I expect of myself? Do I really know what I am doing?” “It is a time for the exotic flowering of my paranoia. At such times I may mistakenly expect contempt and ridicule from loving friends and neutral strangers. It is just as though they would turn from me in disgust as my parents did when I did not meet their impossible standards.”

Where is my floor?

Please open that door

Shut those windows

Cracked room and mind

of a sweet-salty boy

Sing along and refrain

from hiding.

There seems to be no way for any of us to get through the day without making a careless error, doing something foolish, committing a gaffe or faux pas.” Gof., op. cit.

“After hitting the lamppost I sat on the curb and cried as little as possible. I was really worried. Now it was time to go home and face my mother. Instead of seeing this mishap as an unfortunate accident around which I could feel sorry for myself and expect some sympathy, I knew that I had let my parents down again. I headed home and climbed the stairs to our apartment, skates over my shoulder.”

“Still, echoes of this grotesque situation can be heard at times from out of my unsettled and unworthy depths. I remember just a couple of years ago when I learned that I had to undergo a second bout of neurosurgery.”

“At such times my mother’s explicit instructions were: <Don’t fight, but never, never deny that you are a Jew.> She seemed to want me to be well-behaved, but did little to help me to avoid occasions of sin.”

“One afternoon after school Charlie started beating on me in front of a girl I had a crush on. For the first time in my unhappy marriage to Charlie Hooko, my own fear of being seen as a shamefully brutal, lower-class street fighter was overcome. The fear of being humiliated in the eyes of this girl was even more shameful. And so in the midst of the fight I punched Charlie right in the mouth. He couldn’t believe it. I could hardly believe it myself. § Charlie stopped the play at once. He took me down to the park and we both washed our faces at the fountain. Charlie announced to everyone around that I was a tough guy, that he admired me, and that we would be friends from then on. That ended months of regularly scheduled defeat.”

Punch like a girlish girl

Yea, just feel the flow

“As an early teenager I did eventually graduate to becoming a marginal member of a fighting street gang. I pretended that I was a better and more enthusiastic fighter than I ever really was.”

“As my children grew, being creatures of their age they moved toward the freak culture. Part of this involved their being the first kids in our neighborhood to let their hair grow long. So it was that another macho incident came about. One of our neighbors, strong both of will and of muscle, flew the Confederate flag.”

“What proof did he have, I demanded? His only answer was that my kids had long hair. He believed vandalism occurred only in the ghetto. Ghetto kids had long hair and they broke windows, he insisted. My kids had long hair. And so he concluded that it must have been one of them who had broken his window.”

Ironically, the blunderer often unwittingly reveals the discomfort of his predicament by the very means by which he tries to hide it: <the fixed smile, the nervous hollow laugh, the busy hands, the downward glance that conceals the expression of the eyes.>” “Ironicamente, o atabalhoado freqüente e inadvertidamente expõe seu desconforto situacional pela própria tática utilizada para disfarçá-lo: <o sorriso fixo, a risada nervosa despropositada, as mãos hiper-ativas, a vista caída que esconde a expressão dos olhos.>”

“Essa necessidade social salutar de ocultar-se o embaraço é enfatizada nas pessoas que foram excessivamente submetidas a vexames na infância. Potencialmente, o indivíduo virá a desenvolver um estilo de conduta de tipo neurótico, agindo timidamente a maior parte do tempo e preferindo evitar que outros venham a percebê-lo ou a conhecê-lo.”

“Tendo tantas dificuldades de interação, não é raro que a pessoa acredite que sua abertura para o constrangimento e a vivência de situações ridículas [pois socialmente é impossível fugir de tais ocasiões] é realmente singular. Ela pode desenvolver a crença que outras pessoas não têm a mesma tendência de <se passarem por tolas> de tempos em tempos, como ela tem.”

“Sua própria conscienciosidade de seu problema age como um efeito bola de neve: a apreensão pela sua hiper-sensibilidade eleva seu senso de isolamento, peculiaridade, solidão, enfim. Que trágico que a pessoa deva sempre sentir-se como um desajustado! Basicamente, não diferimos uns dos outros. Ninguém é capaz de lidar o tempo todo com as demandas sociais, sempre excessivas. Mas é que o comportamento tímido-neurótico é sempre desproporcional, alimentando a convicção íntima de que <há algo muito errado consigo>.”

“As maneiras reservadas do introvertido <clássico> (não-mórbido) são parte, provavelmente, de sua orientação psicológica inata; e ele estará sempre mais inclinado ao mundo interior das experiências privadas, que lhe é bem mais confortável. Certo nível de acanhamento da personalidade é mesmo, senão natural, incentivado socialmente. Algumas pessoas (como o próprio que escreve) escondem sua timidez crônica debaixo de um véu de arrogância simulada.”

“When he does try to express himself, he is likely to be hesitant, needlessly soft-spoken, ingratiating, and apologetic. Whenever possible, he simply will try to avoid contact with other people.”

A person who is not neurotically shy understands that it is the external situation that contributes to embarrassment, rather than some defect in his own character. Unlike the shy neurotic, he has come to learn that these anxieties are triggered by his reaction to particular people and situations.” “Uma pessoa que não é neuroticamente tímida compreende que é o contexto exterior que contribui para seu embaraço, em vez de qualquer defeito de seu próprio caráter. Ao contrário do tímido neurótico, aquela pessoa aprendeu a ver que essas angústias são acionadas pela sua reação a pessoas e eventos particulares.”



The shy neurotic cannot get anywhere in overcoming his excessive shyness without first revealing to himself that what he truly fears most is not rejection but acceptance, not failure but success. He begins to go after what he wants out of life.” “O tímido neurótico não chegará a lugar algum, enquanto tenta superar ou minorar sua timidez, caso não admita para si mesmo que o que ele realmente mais teme NÃO é a rejeição mas a aceitação, NÃO é o fracasso, e sim o próprio sucesso! É aí que ele começa a alcançar seus verdadeiros objetivos de vida.”

we’re all looped, leaked, sinking, seeking and not finding, just overwhelmed by our own hopes’ weights… what if…

a head dive in a pool of danger

“Feeling undeserving of such unfamiliar achievement and acceptance, he has unwittingly learned to discredit these pleasureable experiences. A poignant early expression of this self-defeating attitude occurs during the first phase of psychotherapy.”

Anything that makes him feel worthwhile calls forth the echo of his mother’s voice, demanding that he question his presumption. It is as though he can almost hear her demanding, <Just who do you think you are?> Believing even for a moment that he is satisfactory as a human being evokes the underlying shameful feeling that he has presumed too much.” “Qualquer coisa que o faça sentir-se valorizado evoca o eco da voz de sua mãe, mandando que baixe a bola. É como se realmente pudesse ouvir, <Vem cá, quem você pensa que é?>. Acreditar por um só momento que ele é um ser humano completamente satisfatório é o suficiente para ter sua paz de espírito quebrada por pensamentos de culpa de que ele agiu presunçosamente.”

O supremo oposto do vaidoso dos vaidosos – e o que isso trouxe? Mais ódio dos ‘cristãos’ sobre sua cabecinha…

“So it is that each moment of decision is followed by a moment of revision. A minute later, he has reversed his thrust forward, retiring once more into his customary shyness.”

“His life is not what he meant it to be at all. It’s just not it at all.”

Evitar a confrontação é como comprar à prestação!

Guy de Maupassant’s short story, The Diamond Necklace, is a classic example of the high price of false pride. It is the story of Matilda, a woman tortured and angered by having to live a shamefully ordinary life because she does not possess the luxuries and delicacies which she insists befit her station.”

“It was my parents who started me off down my own painful path of shame and false pride. My parents are no longer responsible for this trip that I sometimes continue to make. Now the enemy is within. It is only my own overblown ego that shames me. It is only I, still sometimes arrogantly insisting on having higher standards for myself than I would impose on others. How much easier to accept the flaws in others than in myself. To the extent that I cling to being special in this way, I remain stuck with the tediously painful life of the perfectionistic striver. I must get everything right, all the time, or suffer shame. It is far too heavy a price to pay for maintaining the illusion that I might be able to rise above human frailty.”

“I give up being satisfied with myself as a pretty decent, usually competent sort of guy who, like everyone else, sometimes makes mistakes, fucks up, and plays the fool. Instead I insist that if only I tried harder, really cared, truly wanted to, I could become that wonderful person who could make my long-dead parents happy. Then they would approve of me. I would be the best. Everyone would love me.”

Guilt and shame originate from different kinds of faulty parenting. Guilt arises out of a certain kind of bad fathering, shame out of bad mothering.¹ Either parent may elicit one or the other depending on the particular parent’s role and attitude rather than on his or her gender alone.

Excessive authoritarian fathering creates guilty anticipation of punishment for transgression against the lawful order of things. Overly demanding mothering breeds shame.”

¹ Kleiniano demais…

“Paradoxically, too much shaming often produces defiance rather than propriety. No longer able to bear the overwhelming burden of shame, a child may develop a secret determination to misbehave. He comes to wear a mask of spite and shamelessness.

“We were studying Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. At the beginning of one week, the English teacher announced that we were to memorize Marc Antony’s eulogy. I protested loudly. Memorizing materials that needlessly cluttered up my head was both a waste of my time and an intrusive violation of my mind. No arbitrary school system had any right to do that to me.”

<Ma, how come you always talk funny when you come to see a teacher?> This was one of my rare opportunities to shame her”

Straight people were simply not prepared for coping with those of us who shamelessly stepped outside of the system, acted with contempt for the rules, and covertly shamed them for the arbitrariness of their principles.”

“At times my shameless behavior has gotten me into trouble. But so long as it sometimes gets results like that, who am I not to be tempted to continue to be outrageous?”

“More privately, I had developed the false pride of perfectionism to hide my shame and worthlessness from my own eyes. I had to avoid risking further failures and more mistakes. I had to be able to change my image so that I might escape without looking like I was running away or hiding out.”


“No longer would I be the fumbling incompetent who was too timid to go to parties because he never knew how to go about making friends. Instead I became a <heavy> intellectual. With such profoundly developed sensitivity, I could no longer be expected to be bothered devoting my precious energies to the pursuit of the mundane social goals that somehow seemed to excite almost everyone else I knew.

Even armoring as exquisite as this was not enough. Somewhere inside I knew I was just too damn lonely. I still needed to be needed. Acting obsequious, or even <being nice>, was an unthinkable solution. Instead I began to advertise myself as ever ready to rush into the gap whenever a task presented itself that ordinary folk found too unrewarding to mess with.”

“For the first few years of my career as a therapist I worked in impossibly archaic monolithic custodial institutions such as state mental hospitals and prisons. Though allegedly established and maintained as society’s attempt to care for and rehabilitate its social deviates, these institutions turned out to be punitive warehouses for those undesirables about whom the rest of us wished to forget. I cast myself as the champion of the oppressed.¹ Doggedly and unsuccessfully I fought the administrative powers, hoping to attain decent care, effective treatment, and eventual release for the inmates.”

¹ Incrivelmente similar a minha loucura de querer me tornar professor!

“Now I had a new problem. There were no bad parents to fight. How was I to define my role in this more benevolent situation?”

“I do not usually shake hands with a new patient unless the patient gives some indication that this is part of where he starts out in social relationships, in which case I respond.”

“His opening lines were: How long have you been a therapist? Don’t you know that phobic patients can’t stand to be touched? You insist on shaking hands with me knowing that I am too compliant to refuse. It could only make me anxious. The demands you make on me!

“Should he awaken during the night and need to go to the bathroom to urinate, he must simply suffer through the hours until dawn. He was not able to risk disturbing his dog by getting out of bed. His feeling of friendship with the dog was substantiated by his bringing him along to the treatment sessions.”

“There he asked to be deported to Russia for asylum. Surely he would get better treatment under Communism than he had from the barbaric democratic psychiatric services in America’s capital.” “I described my own experience, and I pointed out that the patient was crazy. He had made me crazy. I warned this man that he would make him crazy, too, unless we all understood that just because the patient claimed that something difficult needed to be done did not mean that we had to do it. The patient was all heat and no light. We were vulnerable to his unrealistic outcries because of our own needs to meet every challenge heroically, no matter how nutty it might be. If we thought it over for a minute, we would realize that there wasn’t much in the way of disastrous consequence in this for anyone but the patient himself. That was unfortunate for him, but that was the way it had to be. Happily, the perspective I offered was sufficient to relieve the Congressional Counsel of his own anxiety.”

“The patient was an attractive woman in her early twenties whose birth defects included having no feet and only rudimentary hands. She managed to get about with a combination of prosthetic devices and monumental denial.” “Focusing on her frustrated wishes to become a star in the public eye allowed her to avoid her anxiety and despair about the oppressive difficulties that she encountered in everyday living. My own parallel defensiveness led me to join her, supporting her crazy longings with my own denial of shame-filled helplessness. She made her own contribution by avoiding my tentative therapeutic interventions. There was just no way she could hear my timid suggestions that this whole show business preoccupation was an avoidance of dealing with the day-to-day quality of her life.”

“Unattended snot ran out of her nostrils and down her face (her measure of how much messiness I could tolerate?). I listened and sympathized as if my mere presence would heal her.” “For some reason, which I still do not understand, after about a year of this circus she let me in on her <secret>. All during this time she had been seeing me on Thursday afternoons, and now she confessed that she had also been in therapy on Monday mornings at another clinic with another crazy therapist.”

“This new challenge’s chart described her as a borderline psychotic, a part-time alcoholic, an unhappy, aggressive woman with preoccupying sexual hangups and several previous unsatisfying bouts of psychotherapy. When I went out to the waiting room to invite her in for our first therapy session she struck me as a slight, timid waif of a woman. She looked more like an emaciated 12-year-old than a life-hardened 32-year-old.”

Oh, now I get it, the old color symbolism test. A male therapist with a red shirt, and now I’m supposed to tell you that I’m sometimes gay, and you probably are, too!” “You’re the therapist I’ve been looking for all of my life. I’m never, never going to leave you. I know that you’ll be able to accept whatever I do without ever making me feel bad or throwing me out.” “My relief and sense of well-being was immediately transformed. I got the sinking feeling that I had just made a lifetime contract with an albatross.”


“By then I was off balance, but I knew the direction in which I must go. I told her that alcoholic beverages were not permitted in the clinic. If she opened the beer here in my office that would be the end of treatment. As in the first session, she seemed relieved rather than upset by my setting some limits on her acting out.”

“She had gone to visit her dentist to have a tooth extracted. He knew that she had bad reactions to the usual anesthetics that he used. Therefore he had brought a bottle of whiskey and insisted that she have a couple of straight shots to prepare her for the extraction. She described herself as having been rather uncertain. Still she yielded to his encouragement to have one, two, and then another couple of shots. She claimed that soon she was so high that she could not resist his insistence that she perform fellatio.”

* * *

Albert Ellis


“While I have the floor, let me also disagree with Shelly’s [Sheldon’s] (and almost all other therapists’) allegation or implication that shame largely stems from early childhood experiences. Shit, no! If anything, early childhood experiences largely arise out of our innate predispositions toward inventing <shameful> conditions and actions and consequently idiotically making ourselves—and I mean making ourselves—unduly embarrassed about our inventions.” “Because Shelly’s feelings of shame in regard to the incident with his parents have a high degree of correlation with his feelings of shame today, he mistakenly assumes that the former caused the latter.” “Shelly’s parents indubitably taught him various standards of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’—including the standard, ‘You act rightly when you stubbornly refuse to imagine yourself letting either of your parents drown and wrongly when you even consider saving only one of them from drowning.’ Given such standards, and having the human tendency to adopt them, Shelly will assuredly believe that he acts ‘rightly’ when he tells his parents that under no conditions would he let either of them drown and ‘wrongly’ when he tells them that he would choose one over the other. Granted.”

A person’s history therefore has relatively little to do with present feelings of shame or self-downing. Shelly may have learned his standards of good and bad behavior from his parents (and others), but he decided to take them seriously and he still decides to do so if he feels ashamed of anything he does today.”

“I had a female client who had serious feelings of inadequacy about herself, especially in her relations with men, and whom I helped considerably to overcome some of these feelings. She had an attractive female friend to whom she talked about me and the way I had helped her, and who got somewhat turned on to me. This friend, in her own manipulative way, managed to meet me at a series of lectures I gave and suggested that we date.

Now I knew that I’d better not do this. Not only have I refused from my first days as a therapist to have social relations with my clients—for although this may have some advantages, I recognize that it tends to lead to more harm than good—but I also have refused to maintain close relations with any of their intimates. (…) A good idea, and I invariably—or almost invariably—stick with it. But not this time! The friend of my client seemed so charming and attractive that I decided to break my self-imposed rule and to date her. I saw her a few times, got intimate with her socially and sexually, and then decided to stop seeing her because I found her much less charming and interesting than I previously had thought. In the course of my fairly brief relations with her, I deliberately mentioned nothing about my client, since I knew that they had a somewhat close relationship, and I didn’t want to give away any confidences.

Nothing happened for several weeks; and then, after I and my client’s female friend no longer saw each other, all hell suddenly broke loose. My client, Josephine, came in one day terribly upset and said that she had discovered that I had seen her friend socially. She found this most distressing for several reasons. She thought that I might have revealed some things about her to her friend. She felt constrained, now, in telling me certain feelings that she had about this woman. She confessed a sexual interest in me and said that she felt jealous that I had shown no inclination to have sex with her while I had obviously had it with Sarah. She hated Sarah for having seduced me and then having boasted about it. Most of all, curiously enough, she felt upset because I had stupidly allowed myself to get taken in by Sarah, who, according to Josephine, had no interest in me other than as a conquest, who had fooled me into thinking she had more intelligence than she actually had, and whose inherent nastiness I had presumably entirely failed to perceive.” “I, like Josephine, at first upset myself more about my mistaken diagnosis of Sarah than about anything else.” “Her interest in me stemmed mainly from her belief that I might help her with her own personal problems and from the ego boost she experienced from telling others that she had a well-known psychotherapist interested in her. Although I had told her very specifically not to mention our association to Josephine, whom I guessed would upset herself about it, she had not only told all to her friend but had also lyingly stated that she had given me up and that I still had a great interest in resuming relations with her.” “I took a chance that my relationship with Sarah would never get back to her. I really had preferred Sarah over her, and perhaps some of this preference had come through in my relationship to Josephine. I had given her an opportunity to see some of my diagnostic weaknesses—and thereby helped remove some of her confidence in me as therapist. When she had shown an overt sexual interest in me, I had quite ethically but perhaps too brusquely repulsed her, partly because at the time I already had established a sexual relationship with Sarah, and Josephine did not seem half so attractive to me. If I had never gone with Sarah, I might well have handled rebuffing Josephine in a more tactful and more therapeutic way.” “She seemed to accept the fact that I had not deliberately done anything to hurt her and had only made some understandable errors.” “Fortuitously, she got involved with a well-known psychiatrist who treated her with a dishonesty similar to Sarah’s treatment of me, and I helped her considerably in accepting herself with her gullibility [naiveness] and in breaking away from him without feeling terribly hurt.”

“I set a few more rigorous rules for myself about socializing with the friends and relatives of my clients, and eventually I mainly forgot about the entire incident.”

“If I down ‘me’, ‘myself’, or my totality for my errors, I essentially take myself out of the human condition and view myself as a subhuman. Falsely! For, as a human, I cannot very well attain superhumanness or subhumanness except by a miracle!”

As far as I can see, you do not really admit the true wrongness of your acts if you don’t make yourself feel very guilty about them. And, even if you do acknowledge their badness, you do not motivate yourself strongly enough to change them and keep yourself from recommitting them in the future. Poppycock [Baboseira]!” “As a person who admits his own irresponsibility but who doesn’t down himself totally for having it, I save myself immense amounts of time and energy that I otherwise would spend dwelling on my poor actions, obsessively showing myself how wrongly I did them, and savagely berating myself for having such fallibility.”

“I try not to make myself guilty about making myself guilty, nor to make myself feel ashamed of making myself ashamed. I don’t find it easy! I keep slipping. My goddamned fallibility clearly remains.”

Gerald Bauman

“I felt the role of therapist to be an artificial one requiring that I adopt a facade that made me feel like the newly clothed emperor. I think I persisted in this unpleasant exercise partly because doing therapy was then the wave of the future for young clinicians, partly because I was assured by colleagues and supervisors that I was reasonably competent and talented, and partly because I tend to become stubborn under duress.”

“The most difficult <incident> of all lasted about two years. In the course of some very significant changes in my life, I was subject to severe anxiety attacks while working with clients (and at other times as well). The awful feeling would gradually well up in a great surge that might last for several minutes and then gradually subside. The experience was particularly frightening because I never felt certain how <high> the surge would go. While working, for example, I felt as though if it went much further, I might fall out of my chair or flee the room (these never happened). Though appearing to occur at random, these <attacks> themselves seemed to become more intense over about two years; then I gradually became able to overcome them and resolve the underlying issues.”


  • “Minimize (or eliminate) pretense in self-presentation. This is especially relevant to, and difficult for, beginning therapists.”;
  • Buscar uma espécie de “acordo tácito” com o paciente sobre o nível de nudez ideal que o terapeuta e o “tratando” desejam para a terapia;
  • Sempre ter em mente flexibilidade nas regras de resolução de problemas meta-terapêuticos – incluindo seguir ou não, conforme o caso, até mesmo ESTA regra!

Howard Fink


O INSEGURO ESTEIO MORAL DA NAÇÃO: “He began to wonder if his suspicious attitude toward his wife was some sort of an illusion he had to maintain to give him the upper hand in the relationship, to be the constant moral superior.”

“The subject of his wife and I forming some sort of a conspiratorial love pair against him was never again mentioned without a lot of genuine humor associated with it. In fact, as if to further discount the possibility, he once said that he never thought I could lose enough weight anyway to be called slim or skinny by anybody.”

Arthur Colman


“While I have known her, she has worked as a topless and bottomless dancer, a masseuse in a parlor catering to conventioneers, and now nude encounter. She has been only partially successful at these jobs. She turns off as she undresses.”

“When she worked as a masseuse, she did not like to touch men’s genitals and do <a local>. It was formally against the policy of the club, although she admitted that to <jerk a customer off> got you a larger tip.”

“Here she was, earning twenty dollars a half hour (exactly my fee, dollar for minute) by sitting nude talking to men who chose their state of dress. No touching, no closeness, no real intimacy. She didn’t admit to seeing the analogies in our situations, probably because she was frightened of exploring their meaning. Her fear protected me from the full impact of the miming that she portrayed as the naked therapist.”

“Being embarrassed about experiencing a particular feeling is just the beginning of the cycle. Confronting the need to keep the feelings hidden increases its potency. Deciding to risk the uncovering process by telling the patient what has been happening inside of me can momentarily increase the embarrassment until it is released in a rush as the communication is finally made.”

O velho dilema de se apaixonar durante as sessões.

“My wife and I have written a book, Love and Ecstasy, about merger experiences in the solitary, dyadic, and group orientations.”

“I remember one patient that I worked with in the Kopp/Colman office. Yvonne was an exquisite, delicate 18-year-old rebel. Her father was a wealthy member of the State Department, her mother the dependent matron of a colonial mansion. Yvonne worked at shattering all family hypocrisy. She attacked with reckless competence, trying everything, flagrantly, desperately, and always self-destructively. She came to Shelly through some of her friends. He represented a bearded refuge for her, an adult who might understand. He sent her to me.

Her name should have been Jezebel. At that point in my life she represented impulse, license, sensuality, limitless possibilities. (…) Falling in love with her would be a lot simpler solution to my malaise than reclaiming the lost parts of my own spirit.”

“I knew I was clever enough to translate what was happening inside of me into words and actions that would facilitate her therapeutic work with me, but I wasn’t sure that I had the courage to risk such an intimate and painful personal statement, with its unknown repercussions for both of us.”

“It is not unusual now for me to feel love in a variety of forms for men and women with whom I work.” “Fantasies from therapy (in the case of Yvonne) invaded my sexual relationship with my wife and my paternal relationship with my daughter, just as those relationships entered my therapy relationship with her.” “She described her evaluation session with me and noted that she was sure I had had an erection during some of the hour. Triumphantly she proclaimed that she was positive of that fact as I got up to escort her out of the room at the end of the hour. She wondered about my ability to work in such a state and about my designs on her. She also wondered about the quality of my marriage and my sex life.” “I remembered being sexually aroused by Susan. My response had been prompted largely by the provocative role she had assumed during the hour rather than from a personal attraction. She could be very sexy, but most often used it as a weapon and a defense. I knew that precisely because of my reaction to her—arousal without great interest.” “I said I got sexually excited by many of my patients, female and male. I tried to use all my responses to an individual in my work, those of my body (including my penis) in all its states, and of my mind, with all its fantasies. I certainly did not plan to cut off parts of myself in the therapy encounter. Integrating that openness in the special setting of therapy with my family and other personal life was difficult and a challenge.”

QUANDO DOIS JUNGUIANOS SÃO CASADOS: Libby knows me and herself well enough to assume that we could experience other people sexually and still focus our most intimate sexual expressions in each other, that she as Every-woman could become a repository for all my sexual fantasies just as I could for hers.”

Arthur Reisel


Verdade e vitória são contraditórias.

Meu analista tem uma voz paciente, e eu ouvidos doutorais!

Arthur, it takes ten years before a therapist begins to know what he’s doing.”


“Thinking that a straightforward discussion of the pot experience might ease some of this mother’s extreme fears, I asked the girls what it was like for them to smoke pot. Their replies were cautious and evasive. As I should have anticipated, they hit the ball smartly back into my court, asking me if I had smoked pot and if so, why didn’t I describe how it felt? Being a more skilled player than the girls, I could have used a therapeutic trick shot to put the ball back in their court. Yet something told me that the truth was called for here even if the shocked mother were to decide that a therapist who smoked pot was not for her family. Fortunately, it turned out well. Despite her innocence the mother is an open-minded woman who accepts differences in others.”

“Used with Karen’s permission, excerpts from her letters to me will amplify and enrich my presentation.”

I think you protest too strongly and judge too harshly of a previous generation; but the protesting quite vehemently part interests me the most because I have seen it come out before with Carolyn; it wasn’t what you said as much as the intensity with which it was said. You see, on occasion I am also interested in getting into other people’s lives even though I do not get paid for it. I am interested in what makes them tick, and I try to remain as receptive as I can to subtle, non-verbal clues.”

you are very, very far from being an open book. In other words, there is much about you that I do not know. I don’t really know how it makes you feel. I know at one point in the therapy I felt like I was naked, and you were a rapist, and you called me a beggar, and it hurt, and I thought: I’d rather be a beggar than a rapist. It just seemed that you kept taking and taking”


you can’t beat them; you never beat them; all it accomplishes in the long run is letting them beat you. I don’t think either one of us would think that was a life well spent.” deixar-se levar é como ir para o inferno, pois não existe paraíso sem esforço. se isso significa que você “tem de dar valor”? Hoho, chega, descanse os nervos, o inferno não deve ser tão ruim… Me chama que eu vou!

I did not tell you my complete reaction to your giving away one of your pictures. My initial feeling was a tinge of jealousy that you thought enough of one of your other female patients to give her a picture you liked very much. What felt like a little child in me yelled out: What are you doing? Don’t you know? I’m supposed to be the most important one! You’re not supposed to give your favorite picture to someone else! On that same level, I’m still not exactly bouncing off the walls about it; a little of the same feeling came back when you brought it up today. However, I feel it is so ridiculous, and childish, and unrealistic that I don’t even know if I completely allow myself to feel it, much less express it.”


She wasn’t going to think you had designs on her, was she? You didn’t, did you? Then, what’s to feel uneasy about? It was a very nice thing. People should do it more often. I’m glad you did, a little jealous, but pleased.”


I get the very strong impression from you that you like doing things according to schedule, and that you really do not take deviations too gracefully. It is too bad that people’s needs do not run according to schedule also, or maybe most of your patients can program them for their hour or whatever.”


Fuck your schedule; it might have fucked our lives. We should have gone elsewhere, but you didn’t have to worry about that because I was already too attached to you for that, and I’m sure you didn’t lose any sleep over it. I have resented it; I didn’t realize I resented it so much.”

“She then sent a brief note to apologize for blaming me for fucking up her and her husband’s lives. Karen knew they were responsible for their own lives, and she felt badly about hitting below the belt over the issue of my schedule.” Below the belt, but not too much…

Quantos anos de serviço contribuídos como “terapendo”?

Jacqulyn S. Clements


Alan, in his 5th year of hospitalization, had been recalling the days when he was an airplane mechanic. He concluded with the comment, <That’s why I can’t ever get married; I’m a mechanic.>

You may be noting the symbolism. What I said was, <Well, I don’t know about that. I’ve known a number of mechanics and most of them were married.>

Alan pondered this thoughtfully. Then with a twinkle in his eyes, he leaned close to me and said, <But were they schizophrenic?>

“Telling these stories is vaguely embarrassing, but, as lived, they were really good experiences for me and for the clients. My response in each case was a silent but clear <Touché!>. I don’t recommend dumb comments; but if you’ve got a Bobby or an Alan, you can learn a lot and enjoy each other.

An incident from my practice that illustrates a negative feeling of goofing and embarrassment occurred on the day I handed Mrs. B the A-child’s appointment card. My comments made it obvious that I thought she was married to Mr. A, who was also seated in the waiting room. These weren’t new people; I’d interviewed each with their real spouses. When Mrs. B pointed out my error, I wished I could disappear into a hole in the floor, and my right arm flew up in the air. I used it to touch my hair and said, <Oh, my, where is my head today?> Then, taking the A-child back to the therapy room, I quipped, <I almost got you a new mother today—ha ha.> As far as I know this had no big effect on therapeutic progress, although I certainly wouldn’t call it a confidence builder.”

“Sophisticated clients know what Gestalters and such are like; they probably saw their 6th Fritz Perls film just last week.” Um dos fundadores de um dos ramos da Gestalt (que não é monolítica): Perls, F., Hefferline, R., & Goodman, P., Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality (1951).

“I went to all those miscellaneous workshops and training institutes like everybody else, but I never did manage to come home a recognizable anything. I tell them I’m a Jackie-therapist, and this means, of course, my confidence rests almost solely on results. Yes, this has bothered me some. I’ve never felt ashamed not to be a walking encyclopedia on psychoanalytic theory, but often when another therapist is visiting the premises, I feel tempted to ask my client to please get down on the floor and scream like he’s having an avant-garde breakthrough.”

“I’ve had a few clients with outstanding embarrassment records. Cindy, age 14, recalled her 1st date: She spilled Coke in the boy’s lap, bowled [derrubou] a 16, and then left his car door open, resulting in $70 worth of damage. In such award-winning-goofers I also plant seeds to the effect that they’ve hit bottom, so what’s left to fear?”

“It’s amazing how many children I’ve seen who won’t run on a dropped ball. Little princesses just pose and posture the whole game—any game. The strikeout freezers can usually stay on the team if their batting average is high enough. But princesses are eventually ridiculed and chosen last.”

NÓ CEGO: “My other chronic childhood embarrassment worry had to do with body functions. In grade school about the worst thing I could imagine was wetting my pants in class. However, I was also too embarrassed to ask to be excused to go to the restroom. Would this qualify as a double bind? I am probably one of the few people in existence who neither asked to go nor went anyway.”

“It wasn’t until this very year that I got blood on my skirt in public. I was seeing a teenage boy for therapy when it happened. I laughed.” Quando crescemos e aprendemos que dar aquela freada ou mijada na rua não é nada de mais. “Now I’ll ruin the story a little bit: The teenage boy had gone before I realized it had happened, and then I laughed.”

“Life’s traumas, goofs, negative embarrassments and such should be stored lightly. If they’re off in the warehouse, they’re hard to get at when you need them and could do something constructive with them. But even sending the empty storage cabinet to the warehouse is ill advised. Then you wouldn’t have anything to put these memories in. They’d be laying around in sight too much. There are times for getting them out, but really nobody wants to see or hear that stuff all the time, even your best friends. And how about your own probable concentration on them? That’s called negative feedback overload. To avoid repression or indiscriminate hang-out, better get those storage cabinets out of storage!” O que está sempre exposto passa a ser ignorado (como certos livros na prateleira, que estão na sua frente mas você não os vê mais).

The hypothesis was born: Be they orthodox or atheists, Jews have one foot stuck on the wailing wall. This was a hunch, not a put-down.” “A hipótese havia nascido: Fossem ortodoxos ou ateus, os judeus têm um pé fincado no Muro das Lamentações. Isso era um palpite, não uma afirmação ou acusação.”

IDENTIFICAÇÃO ESPIRITUAL, NO NEED FOR SHOWING (wallpaper de estrela de Davi e correlatos): “My fantasies went even further. I pondered the possible effects of Jewish Depression on the theory and practice of psychotherapy. Since nearly all the geniuses and heroes in this field really are you-know-whats, there might be an accidental bias that could be labeled the J.D. factor. Non-Jewish therapists would pick it up by identification and introjection. By now, almost everybody probably has J.D. This means things may not be as bad as they look.” Ser antissemita é ser antiocidental como um todo, mas não significa ser pró-oriental. Na verdade o Oriente desconhece o pânico anti-judaico; isso é uma doença exclusiva do homem moderno autocastrador. Ser antissemita seria negar nossas mais vincadas raízes pagãs. Ser antissemita é ser um destruidor dos próprios antepassados, nobres e elevados (recado a Varg & simplórios desta era).

Wailing Wall. To wail is to cry. A wall is a block. A crying block? Crying because of a block?” Trocadilho impossível em Português.

“Note that Adam and Eve had no neurotic human parents and did not live in an uptight culture. They didn’t even have any childhood memories. Archetypal shame may be rather far removed from psychological theories regarding its derivatives. Note also that Adam and Eve were not Jewish; they were everybody. There was a wailing wall long before the one in Jerusalem. The latter is likely a modern intensification, or reenactment.”

“For many years, as an adult, I had frequent repeats of two rather common dream themes. In one I was to be in some play. It was opening night, and the curtain was soon to rise. I couldn’t remember any of my lines. I couldn’t recall ever having been to rehearsals. I couldn’t even find a script to refresh my memory or to take, hidden, on stage with me. In the other dream it was time to go take some school exam. I hadn’t been going to class. I’d forgotten I’d even enrolled in the course. If I’d ever had the textbook, I didn’t know where it was.

Despite years of individual therapy, group encounters, and hundreds of psychological theory and how-to books, these dreams continued unchanged. Then last year I had breakthrough dreams for both of them and have not had either one since.

In the breakthrough play dream, the curtain actually goes up and I step on stage. I not only have to improvise my lines, but I’m not dressed like the others. Six women glide by in beautiful satin gowns, and I’m standing there in a terrycloth robe with a Kotex [absorvente] sticking out of one pocket. Everybody laughs. In the school dream, I go to the room, take the exam, and presumably flunk.”

All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) is a commentary on general goodness, not just what we call self-righteousness. As such, it always sounded like a real bummer to me. Maybe the frequency of righteousness wasn’t high, but what a slam on quality. I once thought: Now there’s a good recipe for neurosis.”

“Of course, the righteousness insight didn’t really pop out of nowhere. I’ve been on a gradually emerging spiritual journey for 3 or 4 years now. Sometime during this period the following dialogue probably took place, although I’m surely still working on the last line of it.”

Donald D. Lathrop


<I have never had a failure in psychotherapy!> My out-bragging the braggart was so incredible that it shut him up. What a blessing for me! The rationalizations that would have poured out of my mouth in justification for my clearly unreal claim humiliate me even now as I think of them. Evidently he recognized at that point that I was crazy. He never attended another supervisory session.”

“The type of therapy—the goals, the expectations, the method—defines failure. In psychoanalysis, the best studied of the therapies, failure has two important faces. One is the therapy that never ends, the <interminable analysis>. The other is the therapy that ends without a full completion of one of the technical dimensions of (psychoanalytic) treatment, namely the resolution of the transference neurosis.” “In most psychotherapies, the transference neurosis is left almost totally untouched. Good results are achieved by minimizing its development.”

“We talked about Arlene Mildred and her father. There were parallels. Arlene had been suicidal for months and was perpetually rejected by her parents. Yet if she killed herself, there is no question that her father would be on the phone screaming threats at me.”

“I feel better (as always) when I work, when I do the work that is my calling. It’s hard to concentrate, but there is relief for me in involving myself with the immediate problems of the living. Now there is something new. I am now haunted by the reality that no one in my care, not my patients, not my family, not myself, is safe from death through my unawareness. The only relief for me is talking into my machine, blindly recording for what purpose I do not know.”

“I recalled today that Mildred had had an illegitimate child and that her parents had condemned her for it; they had disinherited her, had left her with the feeling that in no way could she redeem herself. Now that she is gone, they are going to punish me.”

“But maybe not! Sometime in the late afternoon, sometime after the first woman had comforted me, I began to permit myself to think that maybe they would not sue me. Even now this goes back and forth, now one way, now the other. I know that I will just be waiting, waiting for however long it will be before the letter comes, before the papers are served, waiting and scared and at the same time a little defiant. They are not going to destroy me. I am not going to destroy myself.”

“That’s another strange quirk in this. I can no longer take comfort, as I have for so many years, in fantasies of committing suicide myself. Some recent realizations have convinced me that not only is suicide no longer a possibility for me, but comforting myself with fantasies of suicide is no longer acceptable. How strange, how ironic, that at the same time this door is closed to me, I have experienced the first suicide in my professional career.”

“These are all games. Nothing changes the reality. Mildred is dead. The games I now play to keep other men from judging me, from punishing me for my unconsciousness, for my carelessness, for whatever part is my fault, these games do not seem to me to have much to do with Mildred and me.”

“Tonight Mildred’s parents are busy making the plans and carrying out the procedure of burying their daughter. When they are through, they will come to bury me.”

“She told me that she was responsible for all of the evil in the world. I told her she did not frighten me; I told her, as I have told lots of crazy people, that I would expose myself to her and then we would see whether she was indeed the overseer of all evil. Now she is laughing. I just wish she wasn’t angry. Of all the helpers, all the professionals who have been involved with this young woman over 6 years of suicidal behavior, she saved her act of murder for me. I can stand the laughter, but the contempt, the anger, the hurt to my therapist’s arrogance, that really digs in hard.

Strange that this poor woman and I came together. We were brought together by the impersonal forces of the State. She was covered for her psychiatric care by welfare. I was and am obliged to make much of my living by treating these people. Like many such patients, she did not even pick me. I was picked for her by the good-hearted woman who runs the boarding house where Mildred was sent after her release from the state hospital. This totally untrained person gets the horribly sick, broken souls after they are hastily patched up and discharged from the state hospital. She is understandably anxious to find some professional to take care of her boarders. Many of them are as severely disturbed as any patient I have ever seen in the backward of a state hospital.

From the first time she came to my office, Mildred did not want to see me. In fact, for her first appointment, she refused to come in. I was glad. I didn’t need any more patients. I didn’t need to convince this unattractive young woman that I could help her. So I let her go. But the lady with the burden of taking care of her day in and day out was insistent, and a reappointment was made. Second try: I got her into the office. It was at this time she told me that she was the carrier of all evil. I found something to like in her. Her arrogance regarding evil stimulated my own in a competitive sort of way. I’ve known since I was a kid that no one is <badder> than I am. After that beginning, it was a succession of broken appointments, my happily giving up on her because she was stuck in a hospital in another part of the state, getting her back, working within totally unrealistic limitations of time and money imposed by welfare regulations, step by step to the final miserable result.”

“I was aware, as dawn broke this morning during my run on the beach, of Mildred’s blind eyes that do not see this sunrise. My dream last night was that I was working with some other  people, trying to finish a job. Although I was working hard and felt the importance of finishing the job, I was not frantic. Then I was relaxing with some people, perhaps having cocktails, and a young woman asked me whether I would be giving a language course. I replied, Who, me? Parlez-vous ze Deutsch? Everyone laughed, for I had demonstrated that language was my very weakest subject.

I did not understand this seemingly light-hearted and trivial dream in response to Mildred’s death. Then I went to consult my friend, my guide, Max Zeller (our relationship was called Jungian analysis, or psychotherapy, and I was the patient). Max suggested that we consult the I Ching. This was a beautiful idea. It was the very sort of objective statement that I would be willing to accept. I certainly did not want any more comforting.

I asked the I Ching about the nature of my involvement with Mildred, the meaning of this experience. The answer was hexagram 28, <The Preponderance of the Great>. In this ancient Chinese symbolism was revealed a union of solidness, steadfastness, and joy. My light-hearted dream of last night now makes sense to me. As a student, much less a teacher of the language of the unconscious, I am a rank beginner. My life is the task that must be completed. As the dream says, I no longer work frantically at the task, imagining that I will thus impress the gods or get the job done, i.e., reach perfection. The hexagram also comforts me in my experience of inner peace, my lack of grief. I had feared that this was merely denial on my part, the refusal to feel the expected emotions. But the ancient book of Chinese wisdom suggests that grief and breast-beating are simply not part of this experience.”

“Now it is years later. I never heard another word from Mildred’s parents. The boyfriend who had encouraged her to sign herself out of the hospital against my advice called a couple of times. He mainly wanted to share his feeling that all of us had been bound together by a cosmic experience. I could agree—since he made no further demand on me. I was satisfied that he had forgiven himself as I had myself.

My failure, as I now see it, was in not being aware of the purpose of my treatment of Mildred. This young woman had been in agony for years, convinced that she was personally responsible for all of the evil in the world. She had tried repeatedly to solve both her own excruciating pain and the world’s unnecessary suffering by killing herself. However, she had always been too disorganized, too fragmented to succeed. I had treated her with medication and with psychotherapy so that she finally had the necessary ego resources to carry through a definite act of self-annihilation. My job was to cure her so she could kill herself! My failure was in remaining unconscious, in not being willing to be fully responsible for my part of the therapeutic contract.

I had known for years before this incident that the danger of suicide is greatest during the recovery phase. I knew that I could have legally detained her for a while longer. It would have been a lot of trouble, but it could have been done. The fact is, I just didn’t care enough about Mildred. That’s what was lethal.

I don’t want to slip into moralizing. That has no place in a world that is moving slowly but surely away from judgment, away from manipulation through guilt. I am convinced that my own refusal of guilt in Mildred’s death was the key to my not being punished by society. If we permit guilt to take over, we communicate to others their right to take vengeance on us. Meu satânico erro em quase todos os períodos turbulentos da minha vida: ser cristão demais! Jussara, Maria das Graças, veteranos bobiólogos, até mesmo indivíduos estranhos, conhecidos na véspera… sempre se aproveitaram dessa faceta, tantos rostos descarnados disponíveis para umas pancadinhas, impunemente… Felizmente minha língua e meus dedos, embora em efeito retardado, isso lá é verdade, não seguem ordens ou ditames do “corpo típico” (o que me lembra TÍSICO), se é que se me entende. Aloprados e mais sinceros do que idiotas e bons, eles procedem à vendeta; “fora de contexto” não existe na perspectiva dessas duas instâncias, verdadeiras guias desta carne que transpira. Uma vez, em que não importa quanto veneno a serpente inoculasse eu jamais reconheceria qualquer porcentagem de culpa: Isabel the Unimportant Nóia, leprosa que se filia com os tipos mais tortos e mendicantes, desajustados, dessa Brasília imunda (e por isso me conhece!), não tinha nenhuma razão, mas, ainda pior, nenhuma chance de, com razão ou não, me convencer de minha responsabilidade no incidente que precipitou meu divórcio. Isto não é dizer que esse tipo de pessoa sem conhecimento causal algum tem qualquer ciência socrática de que nada sabe: pelo contrário, uma Unimportant Bell é sempre e perigosamente a “personalidade forte” que carrega uma fé cega, uma autoconfiança ilimitada nos próprios métodos, a pura contingência e falta de método, a vida informe e tosca, não-lixada, torpe como madeira matéria-prima. Estas pessoas são tão fanáticas em seu niilismo inócuo quanto qualquer dogmático tentando reinjetar, atavicamente, tabus e ritos milenares já superados na nossa sociedade protestantemente laica (faz parte do jogo de cena a impressão de que os evangélicos nunca foram tão poderosos, mas é uma força de castelo de açúcar, com dilúvios à vista…). Não temos rigidez e teimosia para levar adiante nenhum propósito que não tenha nascido ontem mesmo, enquanto civilização brasileira pós-moderna. Os mais doidos e inconseqüentes que já conheço há anos, mesmo que sem qualquer padrão real, são os únicos que posso descrever com precisão em seu martelar psicológico entediante.

ATENÇÃO, FIÉIS! NOSSOS PLANOS FORAM ANTECIPADOS PARA ONTEM: “All of my life I have failed. All of my life, I have suffered depression as a consequence. But I would far rather take my punishment as depression than project the responsibility for punishing me out onto the world. Others are not likely to be as merciful to me as my own educated inner Judge. I had a revelation once: There is no judgment on Judgment Day.

Vin Rosenthal


“Unlike Joseph K. in Kafka’s The Trial, I know what I am guilty of”

“I am so nervous! I take some Thorazine. (Why Thorazine! Especially when I’ve never taken any psychotropic drug—not even marijuana.)”

“(And now I know what my patients are talking about when they tell of their anxiety.)” Weird. Sempre achei que a descoberta antecedia a profissão!

Were you aware that a contract with a ‘schizophrenic’ often has little binding power?”


“The Tribunal gets really hot when it suspects sexual misconduct on my part. The judges are terribly suspicious of anything that looks the slightest bit sexual. (This sometimes is a hard one because they don’t always agree among themselves about what is sexual and about the rules of common practice and the behavior of the hypothetical <reasonable therapist.>) The Tribunal casts its confronting eyes over my writings and challenges me about such statements as follows:

She says: If it hadn’t been for your response to me, your holding me, I don’t think I would ever have come to believe anyone could find me sexually desirable; no matter how long we had just talked about it.


I’m amazed and overjoyed. I had picked up her message that she genuinely desired to have me-as-a-person act warmly, lovingly, intimately, with her-as-a-person, but I was uncertain whether I should risk it. Now I can see that by limiting my risk I would have seriously limited her possibilities.


My judges are especially wary whenever I Hold a patient.” “they often are skeptical and insist on reading between the lines and beyond what I have written.”

If I sense the person is feeling sexual as a child, I let him know he is safe. If I sense the person is sexualizing to avoid, I try to encourage his getting to his child; if he does not, we sit up and work on it. This is also true if I sense that I am sexualizing the situation. I do not continue TO HOLD a patient if I stay with my sexual feelings”


“The Age of Aquarius enables me to avoid detection; no one looks that closely, and whoever does is ridiculed for being <uptight>.”

“What would you have me do? What kind of job would you permit me to hold that would enable me to retain my humanity, use my skills and talents and develop my potential? Remember, my peers are no better than me. The few unflawed noble souls are, wisely, going about their business in an unpublic way; they couldn’t care less. I have to live somewhere, someone has to share my company—otherwise that would be too inhuman a punishment to fit my misdemeanors. Reforming seems like such a difficult, even impossible task. Disappearing feels easier, yet, I’d have to take myself along. I suppose I’ll just go along as I have and hope that nothing happens.”

Lora Price


why not just a few?


“In the social work profession, close, intensive working together with clients toward personality shifts and problem-solving is called <counseling>. This is a term that suggests <telling> someone what to do as a way to be helpful.” “It is the social worker—the woman—whom the public mind most often identifies as the offerer of the <concrete> service. The intangibles, the profundities, are within the male preserve.” “Sigmund Freud and Otto Rank supplied the educational approaches that dominate the field. When I was in graduate school the faculty was overwhelmingly female. The course in psychological theory was the only one not taught by a social worker. Instead, the instructor was a male psychiatrist with a faculty appointment as <consultant>.”

“Even those social work agencies most heavily invested in offering counseling rather than concrete services rely upon regularly scheduled psychiatric consultations to determine and consolidate diagnosis and the direction of treatment. When I was a caseworker in a family service agency, it was a male psychiatrist who was hired to offer his expert opinion on a weekly, one-hour consultant schedule. There were only one or two caseworkers who could <present> within this frame.”

“Mistakes or therapeutic errors (although they were not so designated) were to be kept <in house>. This was a familiar and oft-taught lesson.” “The case supervisor, my supervisor, and I would all sit there chatting amiably, awaiting the arrival of the psychiatrist. He always came late because his schedule was so busy. All four of us would then engage in seeming accord as if there was only one way to work with my clients, one direction for me to follow. Because my submitted materials reflected only that I knew exactly what to do, we could then all bask in the aura of certain knowledge and perfection.”

“Making one’s way is equated with manipulation and control. Although the kernel of this truth first became evident in my work in a social work unit (a family service agency), it was even more glaringly so when I began working in mental health facilities. Ironically, these are considered the apex of clinical social work placements because of the opportunity they offer to do counseling—or therapy—without the impediment of the concrete service traditionally found in social work agencies. I had decided to go this route because of my wish to work with clients more intensively and knowledgeably.”

“When I applied for the job I wanted, I was turned down by the woman who was the Chief Social Worker. She said I was too inexperienced and would make too many mistakes. Besides that, I had been trained as a Rankian and obviously would not fit in with the Freudian approach of that particular clinic. She knew that my being there would <embarrass> the social workers who needed to keep up with (if not be better than) the medical staff. The chief of the service was a male psychiatrist. I saw him next. He was pleased to maintain his position in the ongoing struggle by overruling her and hiring me. In any case, he could not conceive that anything I would do could be that important. He knew that it was the doctors who ran that clinic.”

“the <family> was considered to be my area of expertise. The people I saw were labeled <clients> in deference to their secondary standing in the treatment matrix.”

“In my mind, women were less likely to be accepted into medical school than men, and girls were not as skilled as boys in dealing with prerequisite subjects such as science and mathematics. Also, becoming a social worker consumes less time and less money. Clearly, expending less energy befits a profession which is only of secondary importance.”

“Away from my clients I wept copiously. With them, I insisted on appearing intact and untroubled. I feel embarrassed now by my complicity in perpetuating their assurances that I could be perfect”

Arthur L. Kovacs


Presented at the symposium Critical Failure Experiences in Psychotherapy, Division 29 Midwinter Meeting, 1972.”


“I now know that this formulation is nonsense. What we do with our patients— whether we do so deviously and cunningly or overtly and brashly—is to affirm our own identities in the struggle with their struggles. We use them, for better or worse, to secure precious nourishments, to preserve our sanity, to make our lives possible, and to reassure ourselves in the face of that ineffable dread that lurks always beyond the margins of our awareness and can be heard as a very quiet electric hum emanating from the depths of our souls when everything is silent.”

“In this way, we can use our training to utter comfortable lies to ourselves and to avoid looking at the processes by which the persons we are either catalyze or defeat those who move in communion with us.”

“…what? Disaster? Chaos? Stalemate? I do not even know the right word to describe the outcome.”

“Part of me needed a persecutor, and Gwen supplied the potential to play the part.” “When I no longer needed to be persecuted, we somehow parted.”

“subjective time is always more important than objective time”

“Gwen came to see me because she had begun to experience severe anxiety attacks in school. Most of these were evoked by encounters with her psychology instructor, a married, middle-aged man. She was convinced, in her own paranoid fashion (to which I was unutterably blind in the beginning), that he was making seductive, obscene, and shaming gestures toward her continually. When he discussed masturbation in his lectures, she believed he was shaming her before the whole class, accusing her and revealing that she was a masturbator. She would blush, feel terrified, and have to leave class. Gwen was frequently aware of his genitals bulging in his trousers. She often believed he dressed in a fashion to accentuate them and positioned himself in such a way as to exhibit his endowments to her. When he talked about sexual matters, she <knew> he was lusting after her. I need to make it clear that, as I do so often, I partly trusted Gwen’s craziness and indeed believed there was something in the instructor that longed for her. She was, I must repeat, deadly cute.”

“When she returned to her next appointment, she was furious with me. She screamed at me that I was a rotten fucker, that I had sent her to her humiliation, that I took sadistic pleasure in teasing her. The force of her violence was incredible; her features contorted into a malevolent hatred that I have seldom seen. For the first time, I sensed the presence of some awesome murderousness in her, and I felt frightened. The pitch of her screaming was louder than I had ever heard. I believe, and still do, that the instructor had manipulated her and given her a dose of clever poison to choke on as he protected himself from her paranoid wisdom. I tried to get her to hear that. Her ears were closed by the noise of her own anguished, vicious screaming. She broke out of my office, fleeing from me and from her rage, almost wrenching the door off its hinges—although she probably does not weigh more than 95 pounds [43kg].”

“My beliefs, inflicted on Gwen and most others who opened themselves to me, were my armor, my sword, and my shield at that time of my life.”

“The next many months Gwen found exquisite ways to torment me, even though I could not get her to come to my office. She began, for example, to call me, usually around 3A.M.. I would stagger out of bed to answer the phone. There would be an ominous silence, then a loud screaming, You goddam piece of shit! I want you to die! or something equally vicious and abusive. Suddenly the phone would be hung up and it would be over until the next time. I believed then that my life was in the grip of some malevolent, overwhelmingly crushing principle, for Gwen’s timing was exquisite. Most of her calls occurred at times when I felt too weary, too battered to stand one more moment of anguish in my life. My struggle to build a new existence was beginning to consume me. Most of those nights I had fallen into fitful sleep after lengthy episodes of bitter acrimony with my former wife or of crying desperate tears at having to cross such a limitless desert alone. Gwen’s calls would cause me to start up from steamy, sweat-rumpled sheets in terror; I did not feel the strength to deal with her.”

“At last, after an absence of 4 months, I finally received a daytime call from Gwen. She asked to make an appointment! When she came in, she told me that she had been thinking about her therapy a lot and that she felt she wanted to enter group therapy. Having others around would, she believed, keep the 2 of us from getting into terrible trouble together. (I often notice patients possess incredible wisdom, if we would only listen!) I also, as did she, wanted and needed to dilute the horrible intensity of what had been transpiring between us. I readily assented, and Gwen started group.”

“In her middle adolescence, Gwen’s stepfather had a psychotic episode, preceded by a period of great violence during which he brandished a pistol repeatedly, screamed at his family members often in desperate viciousness, and engaged in great, raging, hallucinatory battles with his wife—during which he sometimes bloodied her or broke her bones—before he himself finally went to a psychiatric hospital. Gwen trembled violently as she remembered and related these things. During this period of treatment, also, Gwen got herself a job as a secretary, decided to attend college at night, and moved into her own apartment, separating from her family for the first time in her life. And I felt smug, pompous, and marvelously effective as her therapist. What an ass I was!”

“Once I was working with another patient. The other patient was pouting, sullen, withholding. She had come up to the edge of something and now sat stolidly, defiantly, unyieldingly. I became exasperated and started shaking her. The next thing I knew, Gwen threw herself on me, fists flailing, screaming You fucker, you fucker! It took 10 people to pry her off of me. I was very shaken.

Another marathon. Days, months, years—I do not know how much later. I had taken 20 patients into the Sierra Nevada. We were camped out in a snow-surrounded, glacial-scoured, lake-filled paradise. I had asked a woman along to share my sleeping bag at night. As I look back, I now feel ashamed of my choice. My companion was young and very pretty but had nothing more for me than sexual compliance. For this she wished to present me with a large number of emotional demands. At that period of my life I was desperate for any crumb of nourishment, did not appreciate my worth, and would hunger after anyone I believed would have me. We fought a great deal that weekend. Gwen kept watching the two of us balefully. During the 2nd day, she asked the largest man in the group to restrain her physically while she talked to me. He did so, and once again she shifted gears into her screaming viciousness, calling me a piece of shit, a motherfucker—any obscenity she could muster. He held her so she wouldn’t hit me. She struggled hard to get free while she vilified me. The gist of her tirade was, of course, that I was a moral leper, a vile sensualist, and a user of people.

As my first marriage continued to die and as I searched for the goodness I so longed for, Gwen became somehow in my mind the world’s representation of the established moral order. She had been selected to make me suffer for my sinful attempts to make a new life. The night calls and screaming at me over the telephone continued, usually when I could least bear them. Incredible vituperation also spilled out of her in group each week.”

“Weekends are always terrible when marriages are dying.”

I want her dead! I suddenly knew it and began to fantasize the myriad ways I could kill her. I danced exultantly over her broken corpse. Her life must end so that mine could go on! (…) That shitty, stinking little cunt-bitch! I arrived at work trembling in fearful awe over the intensity of my own murderousness. That night in group my patience was exhausted. The 2 of us got into a screaming battle with each other. I told her how I longed for her to die. We traded insults and murderous fantasies. I felt momentarily better.

Another night—weeks later. I am talking to someone else about masturbation. Gwen’s paranoia flares up again. She accuses me of sitting with my legs apart to compel her to stare at my crotch. She insists that I am talking about masturbation to shame her. She yells that I should get it straight once and for all that she does not masturbate. I get furious. I tell her that she is a stupid little bitch. I tell her she is 20 years old and that it is time she started masturbating. I describe to her how to do it and order her to go home and carry out my instructions after group. I add that I never want to hear anything about masturbation from her again. She becomes silent. Finally, I start searching my heart about her accusations. I tell her that they are partly justified, that when I first met her I had indeed tried her on in fantasy as a possible lover. I assented that I had probably teased her provocatively and flirted with her in subtle ways. I admitted to her the crazy desperation that seized most of my life then, the hunger to be at rest in a good woman’s arms. I added that my fantasies about her had died, though, soon after my getting to know her—that she was not my other half, nor what I needed for me. I said that I regretted that fact. I believed that my inability even to imagine her any longer as a partner to me was a sad tragedy. I felt forlorn as I talked to her. I closed the group by expressing my wish that a day might come before either of us were dead when once again she could stir me in such a way as to invoke in me imagery of her being my woman. I knew that that would be a sign that something profound had happened to each of us.

Early the next morning, Gwen called. She asked if she could have an individual appointment with me. I had a cancellation that afternoon and readily assented. At the appointed hour, I opened the waiting room door. Her face was contracted with rage. As she walked by me, she slapped my face. When we entered my office, I asked her what the hell that had been for. She screamed that I had exposed, shamed, and humiliated her in front of her friends in group. Then she went berserk and threw herself on me, trying to claw my face and spitting at me as we tussled. We crashed to the floor, spilling furniture and books everywhere. I finally subdued her, and as she began to feel the assertion of my strength and control she murmured between clenched teeth: Go ahead, you bastard. Fuck me. I told her I wasn’t interested. She began to sob convulsively. I had never seen her like that. She was suddenly very little and helpless, a 3-year-old who had been running around in murderous fury, trying to pretend that she had adult competencies lest the world penetrate her disguise and annihilate her. An image is indelibly burned into my awareness: the two of us sitting there on the floor in the midst of the rubble of my office, Gwen sobbing helplessly in my arms, my rocking her and feeling rubber-kneed and weak from the awe and fearfulness of what we had just experienced.”

“She began describing her stepfather coming into her room one night. Gwen stopped, flushed, went incredibly tense, and would not go on.” “My instructions to her to enter into a dialogue with the half-fantasied, half-remembered shade of that man on that nameless occasion precipitated a kind of trance-like state. Gwen became 14 again. She relived and reproduced what I knew was in store for all of us—her stepfather’s feared, longed-for, luscious, tormenting, lacerating, hungering attempted rape of her that awful night of her memory. Who knows whether the events were real or not? I still do not. But their reality was powerful that evening she described them to us.”

“Her tear-drowned eyes remained closed. I picked her up and rocked her as I would my own daughter. At first she drank me in. Then I felt her stiffen. I knew intuitively what was happening, and I said to Gwen, No, I don’t have an erection. She realized it too, at the same time, and turned to rubber once again in my lap. Yet, at that moment, I sensed our relationship was doomed and hopeless. If I held her at some emotional distance to placate her longing, terrified struggle over being penetrated, she would rail at me for being no help, disinterested or worthless to her. If she captured my attention, and I started to move closer to her, I would become the bearded satyr—too exciting, too forbidden, and too dangerous to deal with. Either way the end result was an outburst of fearful hatred. I talked to her often about this frustrated, impotent dilemma into which she thrust me. It never did any good.

Instead, Gwen began to separate from me. She started to come to group less and less. At first I felt comfortable with this, for the events of her life demonstrated a thrust toward increasing competency and mastery. She received a significant promotion at work. She separated from her boyhood lover and began to explore the possibilities of loving a much more capable man a few years older than she was. (…) One day she called me to ask me for a referral. A friend who did not have much money wanted to enter therapy and asked her, so she said, for the name of a good clinic. I provided this to her, and I added that the friend should ask for Dr. X, if possible, at that agency for I knew he had a good reputation. Three months later I found out, when Gwen began to talk matter-of-factly about it in group, that it was Gwen herself who had gone to see Dr. X and that Dr. X had begun seeing her, not at the clinic, but in his private practice!”

“She finally mustered the courage to tell her new lover that she was falling in love with him and to ask him for more of himself than he had been willing to give her thus far. He smiled, told her that she was a sweet thing, but that all he wanted her for was an occasional night in the sack. He laughed delightedly at her precious gift of her avowing that she wanted him, and he went to the refrigerator to break out a bottle of champagne. Gwen went berserk, tore up the man’s apartment, and forced him to throw her out bodily. She then came to group the next week, started up her screaming machine again, complained that I was an evil monster who ruined people’s lives, and stormed out of the office. I did not see Gwen again for three months. I was relieved. I thought she was gone forever, and I was happy. I had at last left my previous life, was living alone, and felt joyously in love with the woman who is now my wife. Gwen’s seeming departure was a mystical sign to me that my perilous journey was at last over and that I would be able to rest in my wife’s arms, exhausted, ecstatic, and optimistic about what we were beginning to build.

Much to my surprise, Gwen signed up for a weekend marathon [!] I held the next January. My soon-to-be wife accompanied me on that occasion. As I relive those moments, I remember how Gwen stared at the two of us in hateful envy. She detested my happiness. She tried to interfere, with sarcasm and cruel mockery, in any work I attempted to do. I finally stopped everything to contend with her. I was quaking with tension. After Gwen played many screaming broken records over and over again, I asked her what the hell she wanted from me. To my astonishment, she softened and asked to be held. Haltingly, I agreed. She came and sat next to me. I put my arm around her and she leaned against me, but I felt some kind of stiffness and unyieldingness in her manner and bearing. I told her I missed the vulnerable child she had—on a precious very few occasions—allowed herself to be with me. My wife, in her usual marvelously intuitive fashion, saw the look in Gwen’s eyes and began to speak to her of her own struggles with pride and envy. They swapped tales of being children, of longing for good fathers, and of all the turmoil and fear such longings create. My wife urged that Gwen be resolute in searching for what she wanted and that she not allow her fears of other women’s retribution to turn her aside from her quest. Gwen softened and allowed herself at last to surrender to being held. Later in the night one of the women in the group asked Gwen for permission to, and indeed did, feed her from a baby’s bottle. [Ah, kleinianos!]

Gwen then disappeared from my life. Once in a while I would get a phone call from her complaining bitterly about the cold, cruel, and vicious treatment she was receiving at the hands of Dr. X. I urged her each time to discuss her grievances, real or imagined, with him and told her she was always welcome, if she wished, to return to group—that many people missed her and asked about her. Last June, I got a call from her again. She and Dr. X had gotten into a fight, and he had thrown her out of therapy, saying that he was sick of her vicious bitchiness, would not put up with it anymore, and was not going to see her again. Gwen sounded crazy and frightened on the phone. I began to get anxious.

Two weeks later I came into my office and found it at shambles. All my books had been thrown on the floor. The furniture was overturned. Papers had been ripped up. A cover from Time magazine, the one with Jesus Christ Superstar on it, had been ripped off. A knife, thrust through the face of Jesus, impaled it to my couch. I knew immediately who had done it, and I began to fear for my life. Then Gwen called and asked for an individual appointment. I refused, telling her that I was afraid of the violence in her. I urged her to come to group so that we could talk where we would both be safe. She screamed at me and hung up.”

“Three weeks later, a fireman came into my office. Gwen had been gathered in off the roof of my building after having threatened noisily for an hour to jump.” “The physician in charge called me. He said Gwen had confessed to him it was the 3rd attempt she had made on her life in 48 hours.”

“The mother reported that Gwen had assaulted her parents and her father’s psychiatrist during the past week. I begged the mother to have Gwen hospitalized. Instead the mother screamed at me for being <one of the fucking Jew-doctors> that had ruined her daughter’s life. Screaming in fury, she told me she was going to take Gwen home. For the next 3 weeks I walked in dread, not knowing whether Gwen was alive or dead, not knowing if she would come at me out of some other dark night, this time with a weapon.

Late in July, Gwen called again. She asked for an appointment. For some reason known only to my sense of the uncanny¹, I granted her request. I was terrified, but I needed to confront some primitive dread in me. I was sick to death of being a person who always ducked bullies and fled from the possibility of violence. She would be the occasion for me to confront me.”

¹ Referência freudiana

“She related to me that she had made appointments with 8 different therapists in the past 4 weeks and had physically assaulted all 8 of them and fled.”

I guess I’ll live. But I don’t think I’m going to go on with therapy.”


“As she disappeared down the hall she smiled bravely and called out over her shoulder, You’re the only one who always lets me come back. I have not seen or heard from her this past 3 years.”

“Gwen served me well as my vicious companion at a time I needed one. The impress of her being will always be with me.”

Hobart F. Thomas


“On several occasions I have experienced deep feelings of love and/or sexual attraction for clients. At other times I have felt and expressed feelings of irritation and anger. None of these emotionally charged situations, however, seems to provide the devastating frustration of those in which no truly personal contact occurred. I am recalling the long and seemingly fruitless hours spent with depressed patients in mental institutions, which seem to put one’s faith in a therapeutic process to the ultimate test.”

“Perhaps the toughest experiences of my career were the days of attempting to practice before I myself had undergone personal therapy. I had mastered the knowledge, techniques, and procedures well enough to obtain a clinical Ph.D., but the heart and guts of the process were missing. Bizarre as it may sound, I even recall on more than one occasion actually envying the experiences of some of my clients in therapy.”

“Approximately 4 years after completing a doctorate, I entered personal therapy. Reasons for the long delay are not easy to determine. In spite of episodes such as the above, I seemed to be endowed with sufficient ego strength to keep the show going. Besides, I was not convinced that the Freudian model and many of its practitioners, who represented the bulk of my exposure to clinical practice at the time, were the answer either to my own or to the world’s problems. It was then, and is now, my conviction that one best chooses a therapist out of some deep intuitive place, and one can do no better than to follow one’s feelings when making such a choice.”

Bouts with the perfection monster”

“Being <analyzed>, at least in the circles in which I traveled at the time, also qualified one for membership in a rather exclusive club. A part of me wanted to belong, to be accepted, to be part of the action. Another part, for whatever reasons, refused to join up and pay the membership dues.”

“Ironically, my impression is that, currently, the Jungian school is considered more <in> [fashion] than the Freudian. At the time, such was definitely not the case.”

“What if all of a sudden I can’t function?”


“The outer drama in which therapist and client each play their respective roles continues, apparently without interruption, until the end of the hour.”

“The experience of panic occasionally recurs, sometimes in the consulting room, sometimes while teaching a class, or sometimes during seemingly ordinary conversation—usually, in each case, when I feel pretty much in charge and everything appears to be running smoothly. (Another clue here, perhaps?)”

really plays well for his age”


“We need not always stand alone.”

Look, Mom, I finally made it!”


“My hunch is that the state of panic is a corrective, devised by my wiser Self to help put things back in the proper perspective—a real therapeutic kick in the ass to remind me that I’m not God.” My hunch is that my panic is for me to saying Farewell, father!

“it is essential to know how to let be.”

that’s all: [be] midwife. You can relax.”

“My perfection bogey-man stays with me a good deal of the time, however. Having experienced that paradisaical state of Being, I do keep searching for ways to get there and stay there. Even when I appear to be laying back, I’m trying—trying to do, trying not to do. And, too often, in rushing to reach home I forget to smell the flowers along the way.”

NO, NOT FREUD: “When my own therapists revealed themselves to me as persons, not gods, I soon realized that human imperfection has about it its own particular beauty.”

Joen Fagan (mulher – informação relevante para um dos casos que ela irá contar!)


“One of my oracles is the dictionary. Built into the derivation of words and the range of their meanings is a cohesion of human experience. So I asked Webster the meaning of naked, and found my eye pausing over and returning to <defenseless, unarmed, lacking confirmation or support.> As I sat, feeling my way into these meanings, I remembered William.”

“He sat in the front row, nodding at the right times and laughing at my jokes, behaviors much appreciated by a teacher.” “You know so much about this; don’t you think…?” or “Why wouldn’t it be true that…?”

“I was lonely, but people had to press against me to become friends; even though I needed and wanted them, my reserve and hesitancy took some broaching. It was the same with students who had asked me to counsel with them. They had to persist past my uncertainty and self-doubts. So I accepted some intrusiveness and tolerated my discomfort with him without firm limits or comments.”

Did I think he needed to go back into therapy? Did I think he was crazy? His father had said that to him this week. His wife had told him that too. But he thought he was doing well. Would I see him for therapy?

No, William.

Why not?

You’re not finished with Carl. Besides, I won’t see students who are taking courses from me for therapy. (Avoiding saying, of course, that I doubted my ability to handle him or that he was too manipulative.)

Well, will you have lunch with me? Why not?

He was becoming a nuisance. Once, as he got up to go, he suddenly leaned over and tried to kiss me. I was angry then and told him so.”

“Did I think he was crazy? He had been hospitalized before. What did I think? <I think you’re bothered about a number of things and should go back and see Carl.>

“Anyway, in another week summer vacation would start, and 3 months away from the college would solve the whole thing.”

“The next morning an envelope was in the mailbox at my house; it was a somewhat confused but humorous letter from William saying he had decided to spend the summer in a nearby public park and inviting me to join him.”

“The next day there was another letter, more angry and threatening, with some sexual allusions that were immediately denied. You know, of course, that I’m just kidding. I love you and wouldn’t hurt you or do you harm. I began feeling frightened and did not sleep well. The letter the next day was even more threatening. If you won’t see me, you won’t see anybody. I want you and I’ll get you.

“The father called me later that afternoon to say that he had found William and had had him admitted to a psychiatric ward. My relief, though, was short-lived. Letters now started coming through the mail, openly delusional, abusive, threatening, and sexually blatant. Again I waited and did nothing, not knowing anything to do. Should I contact his unit? Or him? Or his father? To do what? Say I was scared? Then his father called again. He thought I might want to know that William had escaped from the ward.

There was a paranoid somewhere in the city and I was the center of his delusions. Several days of extreme anxiety. I put chain locks on my doors and jumped at noises. I remembered a patient at the hospital where I had interned, who, ten years after his last contact with a former female therapist, still maintained a similar life-focusing preoccupation with her. The hospital viewed him as sufficiently dangerous to call and warn her when he escaped”

“I remembered other threats to therapists and attacks by patients, and I frantically found work to do and friends to be with.”

“Shortly after that an FBI agent called to say they had investigated the forgery at the request of the bank but did not recommend pressing charges since William was now in the psychiatric ward at Bellevue. Again, relief.

Once every few months a postcard came, and one time, a box of candy on Valentine’s Day. He might no longer have been paranoid, but I was; thinking there was a chance it was poisoned, I threw it away. The sight of the neat, familiar writing could still evoke anxiety, but the cards came less and less frequently until finally a year or more had passed with nothing to remind me of him.”

Do you know that you saved my life?

No, William, I didn’t know that.


He stood up, went to the door, paused, said goodbye, and left. I realized that I had no idea what he had meant.”

“Do you know, William, how much you taught me about the impossibility of running?”

Barbara Jo Brothers (e sim, é só uma pessoa)

“I am caught. There is no way my vanity will let me avoid rising to the challenge, no way I would decline contributing to this book…but knowing this as my personal dilemma: the risk of exposure of a place inside myself—a place I have found virtually unbearable… a place I have virtually given my life to protect.”

“When I met Jerry, I was in the first month of my first clinical job, armed with my degree and with all of the accompanying mixtures of zeal and anxiety. There was Jerry. Transferred to the local state hospital’s adolescent unit because his family’s funds had run out (after 9 months of psychoanalysis and private hospitalization), Jerry was as crazy at that point as he had been 9 months before. I had known his analyst, so I knew a bit of his history.”

“In my youthful mind, if one of the best analysts in town was giving up, I was already expiated from whatever penalties of failure might ensue and from the awesome demands of Knowing-What-I-Am-Doing.

Jerry and I did well. Then one day the hospital decided to discharge him, prematurely in my judgment. I sent him to what I considered to be the best mental health center in town and tried to tell myself something to make the  uneasiness a little easier in my hither-to-relied-on gut.”

“My own therapist comes in, tries to look like a doctor, takes my pulse. <Are you depressed?> he says. I reply, <I’m too sick to be depressed. Come back in a few days and I might have a depression for you.>

“We had lost our connection after my discharge. I had referred him to the best therapist I knew in community out patient mental health clinics. He was re-hospitalized. I vehemently protested when hospital policy dictated that he not be admitted to my unit simply because of having had one more birthday since his discharge [ultrapassou o limite de idade de sua clínica]. I might have conquered death, but I was not going to have an effect on the monolithic mental ill-health system. He went to the adult unit and killed himself while out on pass.”

“Exposure, expression, mistake, all are cyclical. My exposure is beginning to sound like my salvation. That which I fear most seems to serve my best interests most powerfully.”

I dodge and twist and evade.”

Carl Whitaker


“Before antibiotics, treatment of gonorrhea in the female usually consisted of months of hospital bed-rest. The Green Girls were locked in a big ward on top of the hospital in the middle of the East River. It was my job to try to keep them from becoming overly excited in order to prevent flaring up of the infection that had gotten them arrested and imprisoned.

It was a strange flip for a religious country boy to end up dealing with Broadway chorus girls. They wanted to have their operation by our own gyn department because we used a special incision below the hairline. That way they could go back on the stage and not be laughed at for exposing their surgical scar.”

I saw this big white polar bear sitting on the bed, and I knew he wasn’t real, but I had to call the nurse because he looked so real.”


“As I learned more about the vivid experiences of psychosis, I rapidly lost my interest in the mechanical carpentry work we call surgery.”

“A patient who was mumbling to himself explained that voices were calling him horrible things and saying that he had intercourse with his mother. I said, ‘That must be very upsetting,’ and he waved me off with, ‘Oh, no, they’ve been doing that for years, and I don’t pay attention anymore’.”

“Later I talked with an 85 year-old man who came in for molesting an 8 year-old girl. When I met the girl, who looked like a professional actress fresh out of Hollywood, it made huge gashes in my fantasy of what life and people were all about.”

“This call of the wild, the agony and ecstasy of schizophrenia, of the whole psychotic world, ballooned inside of me.” “The magic of schizophrenia, that Alice-in-Wonderland quality of spending hour after hour, sometimes all night long, with a patient whose preoccupation with delusions and hallucinations made him as fascinating as yourself, was matched by the mystery world of play therapy.”

“My discovery of Melanie Klein and her beliefs about infant sexuality was like a repetition in depth of my earlier discovery of the psychotic world.” Oh no, not this bitch again, defenestrate her, from the fifth flour, please!

“my first introduction to psychotherapy was by way of the Philadelphia social work school’s form of Rank’s process thinking. I became more and more intrigued by what brings about change. There was an 8 year-old boy who hadn’t said anything since he had whooping cough [coqueluche] at age 2. I spent 6 months seeing that boy once a week while the social worker talked to his mother upstairs. He never said anything to me either, but we threw the football out in the yard. He did listen to me talk about him. I finally gave up and admitted I couldn’t help. He and his mother went away disappointed. I thought I’d had it with psychotherapy until we got a call back 3 weeks later saying he’d started talking.”

“It became more and more clear that medical students were divided into those who didn’t know how to be tender and those who didn’t know how to be tough. How difficult it was to teach either one to have access to the other. I didn’t really know I was merely talking about myself for some years, but I did discover the joys of working with delinquents. That power! I always thought of them as Cadillacs with steering gear problems, whereas the neurotics we saw in the medical school clinic were like old Fords that were only hitting on two cylinders. Looking back, I often wonder how many of the delinquents stole cars just so they could come back and tell me about it.”

“As a matter of fact, for the next 3 or 4 years I bottle fed almost every patient I saw—man, woman, or child; neurotic, psychotic, psychopathic, or alcoholic—and with a high degree of usefulness, if not success. It was only some time later that it dawned on me that it wasn’t the patient who required the technique, but the therapist. I was learning to mother, and once that was developed I couldn’t use the technique anymore.”

“I didn’t even know then that co-therapy was a secret system for learning how to talk about emotional experiences. It allowed you to be able to objectify a subjective experience shared with someone else.”

I eventually left to work in Atlanta, where we discovered in those early days that the baby bottle was a valuable way to induce regression in the service of growth but that fighting was equally valuable. Just as the baby bottles spread from one to another in our staff group of 7, so the fighting moved until we were apt to be involved physically with almost every patient in one way or another. The intimacy of physical contact—of slapping games, of wrestling, and of arm-wrestling—became a part of our discovery of our own toughness.”

“By 1946 we had 3 daughters and 1 son. The problem of trying to be an administrator and a clinician had exteriorized a lot of my immaturity. When the stress in the hospital and medical school got high, I began to precipitate myself into psychosomatic attacks with cold sweats, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, and a half day in bed. Cuddling with my wife resolved this, but I went back into psychotherapy to help develop confidence in preventing it. Living with our own children also convinced Muriel and me that the only <unconditional positive regard> in this world comes from little children.”

“It was clear to us that the reason people work with schizophrenics is that they want to find their own psychotic inner-person, which is known more and more as the right brain—that nonanalytic total-gestalt-organized part of our cortex. We struggled over the schizophrenogenic mother and over whether the father himself can create schizophrenia. All this anteceded systems theory, which made it clear that it takes a family system (and more) to originate such a holocaust.” Quanta inocência, diria Deleuze…

“The craziness that had overlain her arteriosclerosis of the brain had long since faded into the background. She just ate and slept and smiled and went to the bathroom. But the family still loved her and still enjoyed being with her. They had not turned away from her because of her failing health.”

“It seems that the initial therapist is contaminated with all of the usual problems of being a mother: He’s all-forgiving, all-accepting, and minimally demanding. In contrast, when the consultant comes in for the second interview, he turns out to be very much like the father: He is reality-oriented, demanding, intellectual, much less tempted to accept the original complaints or the original presentation, and very much freer to think about what’s being presented in a conceptual, total gestalt manner.”

“The Atlanta clinic was our private world, and the sophisticated world of a psychoanalytic organized group left me with uncertainties, awkwardness, and the temptation to be isolated.”

“The initial phase of working with the family demands a coup d’état, in which the therapist proves his power and his control of the therapeutic process, thus enabling the family to have the courage to change their living pattern. Other concepts, such as the importance of the detumescence of the scapegoat [resolução, desinchação – conotação cancerígena] or surfacing other scapegoats in the family, spreading the anxiety around the family, and the necessity of using paradoxical intention to reverse the axis of responsibility so the family would carry the initiative for their own change, all were picked up from the residents when they were working with families as co-therapists.”

“One of the covert changes that I experienced was my increasing conviction that everybody is schizophrenic. Most of us don’t have the courage to be crazy except in the middle of the night when we’re sound asleep, and we try to forget it before we wake up. I became more and more courageous in my advancing years and tenured role, and I began to use the word with greater nonchalance. During the first 6 months to 1 year, it was quite a shock, but after that it became gradually more and more accepted, at least in my own head.”

“There is being driven crazy, which means that one’s malignant isolationism¹ is brought about by being forced out of one’s family. There is going crazy, which, in the case of falling in love, is a delightful experience, although very frightening. Going crazy also takes place in the therapeutic setting, where it’s sometimes called transference psychosis, much in the same way we talk of transference neurosis [still two words that can’t make sense]. And then there is acting crazy—the crazy responsiveness of the individual who has once been insane and who, when under stress, returns to that state of being even though he’s not out of control in the same way. He’s like the child who has just learned to walk. If he gets in a hurry, he’ll get down and crawl on his hands and knees, even though it’s slower.”

¹ O que será que quer dizer? Meu caso? Vivendo com 3 idiotas cada vez mais incapazes de me entender e na verdade cada vez mais decorativos (1988-2017), de repente meu corpo se rebela e diz: CHEGA, VOCÊ JÁ SUPORTOU DEMAIS! ACABOU SUA AUTOIMPOSTA EXPIAÇÃO! Mas quer dizer que quem fritava a batata, no fim, eram eles… Consolador!

“the quasicraziness that happens in social groups”

Alex Redmountain (“Despite his name, he is not an American Indian, but, rather improbably, a Jewish-Slavic refugee of World War II.” – Kopp)


The affliction is self-love, narcissism, a narrowness of vision that places everything outside oneself at the periphery. Though it appears open and seeking, it makes learning very difficult. Stop reinventing the wheel, I was told; I finally did, but since no one told me to stop reinventing the compass, and sextant, and steam engine, I kept on doing that for quite a while.”

“Out on the street, the therapist is like a hooker who’s been thrown out by her pimp. There’s no security, no status. You’re surrounded by a dozen other hustlers, each selling some exotic solution to life’s problems: astrology, card reading, Scientology, revolution, a quickie in the back of the Dodge van parked across the street. Psychotherapy looks like just another fast fix, a way to set the pain aside momentarily or to pretend to an inflated self-importance. And often it is.”

“I am a clinical psychologist, traditionally trained, and I was still doing the usual clinical psychologist things: testing, individual and group therapy, supervision, formal consultation. But I was getting restless, found it hard to stay within the confines of the clinic where I saw my patients. Little by little, mostly by self-invitation, I cultivated a street beat through familiar geography: free schools and open universities, gay people and street people, adolescents of infinite variety and the many species of chicken-hawk who prey on them, alternate enterprises of every ideology imaginable, and a total spectrum of lifestyles. It seemed like a great opportunity for checking out the barriers. It was also a great opportunity for, as we used to say in The Bronx, getting my ass handed to me—as in the sentence, When I hand you your ass, boy, your head is gonna fall so low you’ll be looking up at roach shit [cocô de barata].

“Basically, I’m a middle-class grown-up with slightly rebellious inclinations; the one time I was impulsive enough to drop out of school, I joined the U.S. Army and was promptly dispatched to die of boredom in Korea. The setting for my street-shrink activities was a deteriorating, exciting, but not especially dangerous or sinful neighborhood in a large Eastern city. It was exciting because of its variety: its residents encompassed all ages and classes, at least 3 races, and 12 ethnic groups; Maoist food <collectives> operated on the same block with 30 year-old Mom and Pop groceries; soul music blared from one record shop speaker while salsa and bomba rhythms leaped out from another around the corner; store-front churches rose from the ashes of revolutionary Trotskyite print shops—and vice versa.”

“Another source was the illusion of being a savior, a reconciliator loved by all. When I walked around the neighborhood, greeting militants and leftover flower children, precinct captains and self-actualization addicts, I imagined myself a combination of country doctor and masterful statesman, healing rifts both psychic and physical as I passed on through. And in the best Lone Ranger silver bullet tradition, I dreamed of encountering evil, overcoming it, and riding off toward the foothills and the setting sun—all within the 30 minutes normally reserved for the radio serials of my youth.

This kind of delusion wreaks havoc with the long-distance running qualities usually required of the psychotherapist. It also helped me suppress some doubts about my own endurance. With every new patient I took on in my public practice, I wondered: Can I really last the journey? As the complexity of every individual unfolded, I worried: It may be just too hard, too long, too draining. What if I want to run off and fast alongside Cesar Chavez [uma espécie de João Pedro Stédile] in the lettuce fields? What if I decide to go to Harvard Business School so I can destroy capitalism from within?

“I’m there in 20 minutes. Who said that house calls were a thing of the past? Upstairs I can hear crunching and smashing noises. Down in the <parlor> 8 resident runaways and 2 counselors mill about, looking worried, indifferent, scared, sullen—depending on whom you are looking at.” “a monstrous teenage version of an NFL defensive end, 6 foot 6, at least 240 pounds. He is methodically ripping apart the wooden bunks—the bunks that my friend Joe put together over a couple of weeks of unpaid labor, after his unemployment ran out! I am outraged.”

Sally greets me with a strange, playful look in her sensual eyes. (Whoops, it’s hard to keep lust and hubris clearly separate.) For many reasons, Sally is one of my favorite counselors.”

Shrink é uma gíria suburbana para psicólogo ou psiquiatra.

God works in mysterious ways, said Sally, having been raised a brimstone Baptist and never quite given it up. I had to agree. I often had the feeling, when I was doing therapy, that anything I said would work: insight, catharsis, epiphanies would follow some inaudible inanity from my mouth. At other times, when I thought I was being wondrous wise, my words fell as flat as a swatted bug. It all has to do with chemistry, or radiation, or smell. Or something. Before I knew that, I sometimes took the calling of therapy very seriously indeed.”

Because I think it’s just an ego trip. I don’t even call myself a therapist, you


What do you mean, even you! Who are you, Sigmund Freud?”

No, but at least I’m not trying to be something I’m not!”

Aw, fuck you!” she shouts.

Fuck you!” I yell back.


All that doctor done was yell at me, tell me I was a whore and would end up a junkie or dead or in prison, and I’d never have kids, or a man, or anything decent at all.”


“As far as I am concerned, the making of a therapist and the making of a centered person are parallel, though not congruent, journeys.”

First Tale of Lust. I had agreed to see Janet for short-term therapy at her home; she had a 1 year-old daughter, a night job as a waitress, and no one to babysit. I knew there were many caveats against this kind of thing, but I was sure I could handle it.”

“I kept trying to remember why therapists shouldn’t become sexually involved with patients. I found myself perusing, at length, articles that argued an opposing view. Even the reputable Association of Humanistic Psychology, I noted, was sponsoring a panel at its annual meeting: Sexual Relations Between Therapists and Clients.”

“She observed that the tension between us was palpable. I agreed. In fact, it was becoming intolerable. Yes, I said. Well, she wanted to know, what were we going to do about it?”

“I read Albert Ellis [logo acima!] and Martin Shepard, wrote an essay entitled Challenging Some Traditional Preconceptions in Psychotherapy—in which I never mentioned sex.”

“On the 13th day, I received a short note from Janet on the back of an old Valentine card: I’ve discovered that there are more fine lovers around than psychotherapists. Will you be my (one and only) therapist?


Human, all-too-human: After I daydreamed about choking her with a spiked bulldog collar, boiling her in oil, and throwing her out of a dirigible over the most polluted part of the Hudson River, I met with her—in my office. We dealt with it, as the New Yorker cartoon says, by talking about it. We actually went on to do some excellent work together, 50 minutes at a time, 2 days a week, face to face, and no hugging.”

Second Tale of Lust. Tamara was 16, dark as an Arab princess, radiating ripeness. She was a resident at one of the group foster homes at which I dispensed weekly advice. Whenever she greeted me, she would wrap herself around me like the original seductive serpent, and I would try desperately to keep my cool—without success.

I am seldom drawn to adolescents sexually, or so I like to believe. I like the way they look, I enjoy their narcissism from afar, but I’m not crazy enough to trade a tumble for a prison sentence, not even in fantasy.”

“Tamara, whose house parents I met regularly for case consultation and whose Oedipal problems I knew almost as well as my own”

“I couldn’t take my eyes off her, and I didn’t want to take the rest of me off, either.

Although I danced with many people that night, I found myself dancing with Tamara more than with anyone else: more sensually, more energetically, more proximately. After a few beers, I forgot the age gap between us. After a few more, stalwart drinker [robusto bebedor] that I am, I was carried upstairs by some friends and carefully placed upon an unoccupied mattress [colchonete]. I woke a couple of hours later to find Tamara bending over me, swaying, her hair against my face. I wasn’t very alert, but she seemed completely out of it—drunk and stoned and incoherent.

Without thinking, I pulled her down beside me, touched her, kissed her, felt her responding to me. As I caressed her, she spoke softly at first, and then more insistently. Her mumbling only gradually became comprehensible: Daddy, Daddy, Daddy…

Laying her head against the pillow, I drew away gently. The one short pang inside me yielded to tenderness. I massaged her eyes and brow until she fell asleep.”

Third Tale of Lust. It was spring, and 5 of my street clients, including one gay male, declared their love-lust for me. I knew all about transference, of course, but I was also feeling very sexual in my new, slimmed-down version.

At my therapy seminar that week, another fledgling therapist like myself spoke of how he enjoyed his patients’ sexual fantasies about him. Our teacher-supervisor looked at him wryly. <Just remember,> he said, <that there are a dozen paunchy, balding, 70 year-old therapists in this town whose patients are madly in love with them. Don’t take too much credit.>

I decided not to, either.”

Therapist hubris is based on the mutual illusion of patient and therapist that theirs is not a relationship among equals. Thus, it fires the therapist’s infantile yearnings for magical solutions, omnipotence, oceanic love.”

* * *



Everything is folly in this world, except to play the fool.”


“The response of embarrassment is not a personal flaw. On the contrary, it is a socially oriented readjustment pattern that acts to reestablish more orderly, adequate behavior. In showing embarrassment, the flustered person (sometimes unwittingly) reveals his responsiveness to the discrepancy between expected and actual performance. This offers the blunderer a chance to get himself together while remaining in consensual accord with the rest of the group. At the same time, perceiving his reaction, his audience is in a position to help him to reestablish his earlier state of unselfconscious ease.”

“I feel less pained and alone in my embarrassment, standing among these other naked therapists.”

“But for those of us who have not been subjected to excessive shaming, failing at something may be experienced as no more than not yet attaining what we might. For others who have too often been made to feel worthless, each failed attempt may create the feeling of being a total failure.”

“It was Erasmus who gave the West the paradox of the Wise Fool. In the literature of the Middle Ages, the Fool had played a minor role. But beginning with Erasmus’ book, In Praise of Folly, the Renaissance Fool stepped forward as a major figure in the humanist vision of man. Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam, the bastard son of an obscure father, emerged as a great humanist who would be courted by princes, popes, and scholars of his age, a man whose Wise Fool would foster men’s self-acceptance for centuries to come.”

“Like Socrates, her only claim to wisdom is that she knows that she knows not.”

“Like all those later Fools, Don Quixote, Huck Finn, Chaplin’s little tramp, and the Marx Brothers, she does not comprehend what is expected of her by society. Like all clowns she is free to walk irreverently through the walls of convention, simply because she does not see that they exist. Often enough, these hollow boundaries collapse before the force of her ignorance.”

“The good judgment of the Wise is sometimes no more than the closed mindedness of those who know better.” I’d say Final Judgement.

“By accepting the Fool in myself, I open my imagination to all the possibilities that I was once too wise to consider.”

“So it is that when I was a young man I hoped to make fewer and fewer mistakes, while in my later life my ambition is to make more. I would sin boldly. Not that I have come to like feeling embarrassed. Not at all! Rather most of the time now it all just seems worth it to me to experience feeling foolish if that is the price of trying new ways of being.”

O palhaço que habita em mim saúda o palhaço que um dia habitará em você.

O homem ocidental se tornou zen para não apertar o botão da bomba; isso pausará sua existência cadavérica nesse mundo além de qualquer previsão legal… Eis o problema. O Último Homem aprendeu com seus erros logo após o penúltimo erro – que infortúnio e que pepino para nós! Se apenas houvesse uma máquina de auto-sepultamento, um suicídio assistido por si mesmo, uma auto-eutanásia no mais redundantemente literal dos zentidos… Ainda estamos impessoais demais diante do nosso instinto vital, não operamos a nossa própria máquina para comandar ações grandiloqüentes deste nível e desse porte! Asia Rise!

“A single individual’s solitary failing is painful, but the shared frailties of all men are ultimately comic. So it is that one stutterer is tragic, but like it or not, three stutterers having an argument is a funny scene.”

Seriousness is an accident of time. It consists in putting too high a value on time. In eternity there is no time. Eternity is a mere moment, just long enough for a joke” Herman Hesse, Steppenwolf


“Out of the Middle East comes the tradition of the Sufi, that mystical/intuitive aspect of Islam that ranges from the whirling trance states of the Dervishes to the teaching stories of that Wise Fool, Nasrudin. The Sufi tales offer the sort of folk wisdom that discloses that out of each situation comes its own remedy. Each mishap is an opportunity to learn if only our imagination is open to reappraising the source of our discomfort.”

Enjoy yourself, or try to learn—you will annoy someone. If you do not—you will annoy someone.”


Who is it who’s rejecting whom?… if somebody rejects me…who they think they’re rejecting isn’t me anyway.… By them pushing me away I see them caught in their own paranoia…” Baba Ram

Ser um incompreendido do meu tempo implica que eu mesmo não posso me compreender!

You don’t decide to give something up. They fall away, that’s the secret of it.”


It’s ok to fail on an impossible mission, right, Tom Cruise?

“Even when I am doing well, or being special, being judged is oppressive, carrying with it as it does the impossible ideal of perfection. How much easier is the freedom to be what I am, ordinary and imperfect as that may be, no more than a natural Fool.”

To witness my Self without blaming myself is like being a child again, only this time in a safe, warm place under the watchful eyes of loving parents. It is during such moments that I can accept whatever I do as no more than what I must do at that time. It is then that I would no more question the adequacy of what I am doing than I would wonder whether or not my cat knows just how to go about being a cat.”

Guru, If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!, by the same author.


considerações preliminares (Roud. & Plon)

a terminologia analítica dá uma impressão insólita que a língua de Freud não dá, se os recursos da língua do tradutor não (sic) forem sempre explorados; em outros casos é a simplicidade da expressão freudiana que torna imperceptível o seu tecnicismo.” “O método conveniente é antes de mais nada histórico-crítico, como o do Vocabulaire technique et critique de la philosophie, de André Lalande. Eram estas as intenções iniciais quando, por volta de 1937-39, se começou a executar o projeto de um vocabulário da psicanálise. Os dados recolhidos perderam-se”

a oposição entre <pulsão> e <instinto>, necessária para a compreensão da teoria psicanalítica, em nenhum lugar é formulada por Freud: a oposição entre <escolha por apoio> de objeto (ou anaclítica) e <escolha narcísica de objeto>, embora retomada pela maior parte dos autores, nem sempre é relacionada com aquilo que em Freud a esclarece: o <apoio> ou <anáclise> das <pulsões sexuais> sobre as funções de <auto-conservação>; a articulação entre <narcisismo> e <auto-erotismo>, sem a qual não se pode situar estas duas noções, perdeu rapidamente a sua primitiva nitidez, e isto até no próprio Freud.”

Psicanalistas não batem cabeça.

O primeiro dicionário de psicanálise, intitulado Handwörterbuch der Psychoanalyse, foi elaborado por Richard Sterba, entre 1931 e 1938. Foram publicados cinco fascículos, até o momento em que a ocupação da Áustria pelos nazistas pôs fim ao empreendimento. A intenção era compor um léxico geral dos termos freudianos, um vocabulário mais do que um recenseamento dos conceitos: <Não desconheço, escreveu Freud em uma carta a seu discípulo, que o caminho que parte da letra A e passa por todo o alfabeto é muito longo, e que percorrê-lo significaria para você uma enorme carga de trabalho. Assim, não o faça, a menos que se sinta internamente levado a isso. Apenas sob o efeito desse impulso, mas certamente não a partir de uma incitação externa!>” “Em sua famosa análise do caso Dora (Ida Bauer), ele frisava que um dicionário é sempre objeto de um prazer solitário e proibido, no qual a criança descobre, à revelia dos adultos, a verdade das palavras, a história do mundo ou a geografia do sexo.” “Sterba interrompeu a redação do seu Handwörterbuch na letra L, e a impressão do último volume na palavra Grössenwahn: <Não sei, declarou vinte anos depois em uma carta a Daniel Lagache, se esse termo se refere à minha megalomania ou à de Hitler.> De qualquer forma, o Handwörterbuch inacabado serviu de modelo para as obras do gênero, todas publicadas na mesma data (1967-1968), em uma época em que o movimento psicanalítico internacional, envolvido em rupturas e dúvidas, experimentava a necessidade de fazer um balanço e recompor, através de um saber comum, a sua unidade perdida. Diversas denominações foram utilizadas: GLOSSÁRIO, dicionário, enciclopédia, vocabulário.” “o Critical Dictionary of Psychoanalysis (600 verbetes) do psicanalista inglês Charles Rycroft, claro, conciso e racional, tinha a vantagem de não ser uma obra coletiva. (…) Rycroft foi também o primeiro a pensar o freudismo sem com isso deixar de considerar a terminologia pós-freudiana (especialmente a de Melanie Klein e de Donald Woods Winnicott).”

Quanto ao célebre Vocabulário da psicanálise(417 verbetes) de Jean Laplanche e Jean-Bertrand Pontalis, foi o primeiro e único a estabelecer os conceitos da psicanálise encontrando as <palavras> para traduzi-los, segundo uma perspectiva estrutural aplicada à obra de Freud. Composto de verdadeiros artigos (de 20 linhas a 15 páginas), e não de curtas notas técnicas, como os precedentes, inaugurou um novo estilo, optando por analisar <o aparelho nocional da psicanálise>, isto é, os conceitos elaborados por esta para <explicar suas descobertas específicas>. Marcados pelo ensino de Lacan e pela tradição francesa da história das ciências, os autores conseguiram a proeza de realizar uma escrita a duas vozes, impulsionada por um vigor teórico ausente nas outras obras. É a essas qualidades que ela deve seu sucesso.

Os insucessos terapêuticos, a invasão dos jargões e das lendas hagiográficas levaram a uma fragmentação generalizada do movimento freudiano, deixando livre curso à ofensiva fin-de-siècle das técnicas corporais. Relegada entre a magia e o cientificismo, entre o irracionalismo e a farmacologia, a psicanálise logo tomou o aspecto de uma respeitável velha senhora perdida em seus devaneios acadêmicos. O universalismo freudiano teve então o seu crepúsculo, mergulhando seus adeptos na nostalgia das origens heróicas.” Ó! “apareceram monstros polimorfos [Cilas], com entradas anárquicas e profusas, nas quais a lista dos verbetes, artigos e autores estendia-se infinitamente, pretendendo esgotar o saber do mundo, sob o risco de mergulhar as boas contribuições em um terrível caos.” Ver Bouvard e Pécuchet, de Flaubert!

Foram incluídos, enfim, os membros da família de Sigmund Freud, seus mestres diretos, os escritores e artistas com os quais ele manteve correspondência importante ou contato pessoal determinante, [PARTE DA FOFOCA E BASTIDORES] e os 23 livros por ele publicados entre 1891 e 1938, inclusive o segundo, escrito com Josef Breuer (Estudos sobre a histeria), e o último, inacabado e publicado a título póstumo (Esboço de psicanálise). Foi acrescentada uma outra obra póstuma, O presidente Thomas Woodrow Wilson, da qual Freud redigiu apenas o prefácio, mas à qual deu contribuição essencial como co-autor ao lado de William Bullitt.”


ESB Sigmund Freud, Edição Standard Brasileira das obras psicológicas completas de Sigmund Freud, 24 vols., Rio de Janeiro, Imago, 1977

GW Sigmund Freud, Gesammelte Werke, 17 vols., Frankfurt, Fischer, 1960-1988

IZPInternationale ärztlische Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse

IJP International Journal of Psycho-Analysis

OC Sigmund Freud, Oeuvres complètes, 21 vols., Paris, PUF, em preparação desde 1989

SE The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, org. James Strachey, 24 vols., Londres, Hogarth Press, 1953-1974


a posteriori ou ação diferida ou só-depois

O termo nachträglich é de uso repetido e constante em F., que muitas vezes o emprega sublinhado. Encontramos também a forma substantivada Nachträglichkeit

Segundo Jung, o adulto reinterpreta o seu passado nas suas fantasias, que constituem outras tantas expressões simbólicas dos seus problemas atuais. (…) meio de fugir das <exigências da realidade> presente” Vinculação com os estratos de Reich.

F. pergunta: por que o recalque incide preferencialmente sobre a sexualidade? (…) O primeiro acontecimento no tempo é constituído por uma cena sexual (sedução por um adulto), mas que não tem então para a criança significação sexual. O segundo apresenta certas analogias, que podem ser superficiais; mas, pelo fato de que nesse meio tempo surgiu a puberdade, a emoção sexual é possível, emoção que o sujeito ligará conscientemente a este segundo acontecimento, quando na realidade é provocada pela recordação do primeiro. (…) O ego utiliza então o recalque, modo de <defesa patológica>”

A tradução como “ação diferida”, em português e inglês, é hoje considerada anacrônica e indutora de confusão. Hoje: complemento ao verbete ab-reação.


#Autorreferente #facebookCasosdeFamília

Tudo menos os anos de zumbi (2009-2011)! Tudo menos o passado e o futuro remotos (o Ceará e a Soneca dos mortos)! Tudo menos o gelo do zero absoluto a que cheguei nestas incríveis zonas temporais que hoje me são estranhas, como se pertencessem a séculos enterrados pela humanidade, cujas vicissitudes ficaram sem registros. Postura que eu classificaria hoje como Anti-Ed***d****. A cura do Vanigracismo. Son of Netherrealm, aiming the Ascension. Thorns and Aborted Trees. You shouldn’t needa drink to kill or exorcize some painful devils… Foda-se a SOMAtória de suas vãs probabilidades…

A persistência do afeto que se liga a uma recordação depende de diversos fatores, e o mais importante deles está ligado ao modo como o sujeito reagiu a um determinado acontecimento. Esta reação pode ser constituída por reflexos voluntários e involuntários, pode ir das lágrimas à vingança. Se tal reação for suficientemente importante, grande parte do afeto ligado ao acontecimento desaparecerá. Se essa reação for reprimida(unterdrückt), o afeto se conservará ligado à recordação.”

A ab-reação é o caminho normal” “a ab-reação pode ser secundária, provocada pela psicoterapia catártica, que permite ao doente rememorar e objetivar pela palavra o acontecimento traumático, e libertar-se assim do quantum de afeto que o tornava patogênico.” TABU É O TEU CU: Verbalizar a morte do próximo. A maior burrice é ser inteligente o tempo todo. Em briga de condomínio de homens das cavernas não se usa terno e gravata nem se apara barba. Às vezes cagar nas calças é, sim, o melhor remédio. Uma ventilada brutal ou cem azias, tu escolhes – que fria! Vaso entupido, contanto que não seja o meu, é merda na cu da pimenta, ehr, quer dizer… Eu não levo desaforo pra casa: deixo debaixo da ponte mesmo…






Jardimdim fancyn’



do Papado



ad odd world Helenistic Hell flows like an

Hell-aclitean pseudorriver

on that party that’s over







S’Il y a fascists…

we’re gonna smash them

with all your heavy solos

and boots


le but qui est

faire le but

ter in the br…

lay down and d,…






on the



















but not

nut bot


into the dust

in to d dãs

in 2 they do


estou tenso, logo fezes muito tudo ISSO

to be or not to be oh honey


barking at the moon

As 3 histerias antigas (retenções de reação):

a) limitação psicofisiológica (pavor, estado hipnótico) HISTERIA HIPNÓIDE

b) limitação social atual HISTERIA DE RETENÇÃO (sovina de MERDA)

c) repressão consciente voluntária (conscientemente esquecer!) HISTERIA DE DEFESA (é o pior ataque?! – eu diria, antes, MÁ-FÉ)

OBS: “a” e “b” foram “extintas”.

Abraham, Karl

nome indissociável da história da grande saga freudiana. (…) pioneiro no desenvolvimento da psicanálise em Berlim. (…) Elaborou uma teoria dos estágios inspirado em Klein, que foi sua aluna. Formou muitos analistas, entre os quais Helene Deutsch, Edward Glover, Karen Horney, Sandor Rado, Ernst Simmel.”

Em 1906, casou-se com Hedwig Bürgner. Tiveram dois filhos. Abraham analisou sua filha Hilda (1906-1971), descrevendo o caso em um artigo de 1913, intitulado A pequena Hilda, devaneios e sintomas em uma menina de 7 anos.

Mais clínico do que teórico, Abraham escreveu artigos claros e breves, nos quais domina a observação concreta. Devem-se distinguir três épocas. Entre 1907 e 1910, dedicou-se a uma comparação entre a histeria e a demência precoce (que ainda não era chamada esquizofrenia) e à significação do trauma sexual na infância. Durante os dez anos seguintes, estudou a psicose maníaco-depressiva, o complexo de castração na mulher e as relações do sonho com os mitos. Em 1911, publicou um importante estudo sobre o pintor Giovanni Segantini (1859-1899), atingido por distúrbios melancólicos. Em 1912, redigiu um artigo sobre o culto monoteísta de Aton, do qual Freud se serviria em Moisés e o monoteísmo, esquecendo de citá-lo. Enfim, durante o terceiro período, descreveu os três estágios da libido: anal, oral, genital.”


Karl Abraham, Oeuvres complètes, 2 vols. (1965), Paris, Payot, 1989;

Hilda Abraham, Karl Abraham, biographie inachevée, Paris, PUF, 1976.

Adler, Alfred (1870-1937)

Adler, primeiro grande dissidente da história do movimento psicanalítico,¹ nasceu em Rudolfsheim, subúrbio de Viena, em 7 de fevereiro de 1870. Na verdade, nunca aderiu às teses de Sigmund Freud, de quem se afastou em 1911, sem ter sido, como Carl Gustav Jung, seu discípulo privilegiado. (…) Ambos eram judeus e vienenses, ambos provinham de famílias de comerciantes que nunca conheceram realmente o sucesso social. Adler freqüentou o mesmo Gymnasium que Freud e fez estudos de medicina mais ou menos idênticos aos seus. Entretanto, originário de uma comunidade de Burgenland, era húngaro, o que fazia dele cidadão de um país cuja língua não falava. Tornou-se austríaco em 1911 e nunca teve a impressão de pertencer a uma minoria ou de ser vítima do anti-semitismo.

Segundo de 6 filhos, tinha saúde frágil, era raquítico e sujeito a crises de falta de ar. Além disso, tinha ciúme do irmão mais velho, que se chamava Sigmund, e com quem teve uma relação de rivalidade permanente, como a que teria mais tarde com Freud.” Vira-se para o Marxismo.

¹ Uma estátua para o rapaz já!

Em 1897, casou-se com Raissa Epstein, filha de um comerciante judeu originário da Rússia. A jovem pertencia aos círculos da intelligentsia e propalava opiniões de esquerda que a afastavam do modo de vida da burguesia vienense, em que a mulher devia ser antes de tudo mãe e esposa. Através dela, Adler freqüentou Léon Trotski (1879-1940) e depois, em 1908, foi terapeuta de Adolf Abramovitch Ioffe (1883-1927), futuro colaborador deste no jornal Pravda.

Em 1898, publicou sua primeira obra, Manual de higiene para a corporação dos alfaiates. Nela, traçava um quadro sombrio da situação social e econômica desse ofício no fim do século: condições de vida deploráveis, causando escolioses e doenças diversas ligadas ao uso de tinturas, salários miseráveis, etc.”

Em 1902, depois de ficar conhecendo Freud, começou a freqüentar as reuniões da Sociedade Psicológica das Quarta-Feiras, fazendo amizade com Wilhelm Stekel.” “Foi nessa data (1909) que começaram a se manifestar divergências fundamentais entre suas posições e as de Freud e seus partidários. Elas constam das Minutas da Sociedade, transcritas por Otto Rank e editadas por Hermann Nunberg.” “Freud começou então a criticar o conjunto das posições de Adler, acusando-o de se apegar a um ponto de vista biológico, de utilizar a diferença dos sexos em um sentido estritamente social e, enfim, de valorizar excessivamente a noção de inferioridade. Hoje, encontra-se a concepção adleriana da diferença dos sexos entre os teóricos do gênero (gender).” “Adler estava edificando uma psicologia do eu, da relação social, da adaptação, sem inconsciente nem determinação pela sexualidade.” “A noção de órgão inferior já existia na história da medicina, em que muitos clínicos observaram que um órgão de menor resistência sempre podia ser o centro de uma infecção. Adler transpunha essa concepção para a psicologia, fazendo da inferioridade deste ou daquele órgão em um indivíduo a causa de uma neurose transmissível por predisposição hereditária. Segundo ele, era assim que apareciam doenças do ouvido em famílias de músicos ou doenças dos olhos em famílias de pintores, etc.” Doenças do estômago em famílias retirantes?

A ruptura entre Freud e Adler foi de uma violência extrema, como mostram as críticas recíprocas que trocaram 35 anos depois. A um interlocutor americano que o questionava sobre Freud, Adler afirmou, em 1937, que <aquele de quem nunca fôra discípulo era um escroque astuto e intrigante>. Por sua vez, informado da morte de seu compatriota, Freud escreveu estas palavras terríveis em uma célebre carta a Arnold Zweig: <Para um rapaz judeu de um subúrbio vienense, uma morte em Aberdeen é por si só uma carreira pouco comum e uma prova de seu progresso. Realmente, o mundo o recompensou com generosidade pelo serviço que ele lhe prestou ao opor-se à psicanálise.>” “Foi preciso esperar pelos trabalhos da historiografia erudita, principalmente os de Henri F. Ellenberger e os de Paul E. Stepansky, para se formar uma idéia mais exata da realidade dessa dissidência.”

Em 1912, publicou O temperamento nervoso, em que expôs o essencial da sua doutrina, e um ano depois fundou a Associação para uma Psicologia Individual, com ex-membros do círculo freudiano, entre os quais Carl Furtmuller (1880-1951) e David Ernst Oppenheim (1881-1943).”

Em 1930, recebeu o título de cidadão de Viena, mas 4 anos depois, pressentindo que o nazismo dominaria a Europa inteira, pensou em emigrar para os Estados Unidos.”


Alfred Adler, La Compensation psychique de l’état d’infériorité des organes (1898), Paris, Payot, 1956;

Manès Sperber, Alfred Adler et la psychologie individuelle (1970), Paris, Gallimard, 1972.


É em 1915, ao se interrogar sobre qual deve ser a atitude do psicanalista confrontado com as manifestações da transferência amorosa, que Sigmund Freud fala pela primeira vez da regra de abstinência. Esclarece que não pretende evocar apenas a abstinência física do analista em relação à demanda amorosa da paciente, mas o que deve ser a atitude do analista para que subsistam no analisando as necessidades e desejos insatisfeitos que constituem o motor da análise.

Para ilustrar o caráter de tapeação de que se revestiria uma análise em que o analista atendesse às demandas de seus pacientes, Freud evoca a anedota do padre que vai dar os últimos sacramentos a um corretor de seguros descrente: ao final da conversa no quarto do moribundo, o ateu não parece haver se convertido, mas o padre contratou um seguro.”

o tratamento psicanalítico deve, <tanto quanto possível, efetuar-se num estado de frustração e abstinência>. Mas F. deixa claro que não se trata de proibir tudo ao paciente e que a abstinência deve ser articulada com a dinâmica específica de cada análise. Este último esclarecimento foi progressivamente perdido de vista, assim como se esqueceu a ênfase depositada por Freud no caráter incerto da satisfação a longo prazo. O surgimento de uma concepção pedagógica e ortopédica do tratamento psicanalítico contribuiu para a transformação da regra de abstinência em um conjunto de medidas ativas e repressivas, que visam fornecer uma imagem da posição do analista em termos de autoridade e poder.”


Sigmund Freud, “Observações sobre o amor transferencial”, (1915), ESB, XII, pp. 208-21. (artigo)

afaniseou afânise

Termo introduzido por Ernest Jones (Early Development of Female Sexuality, 1927); desaparecimento do desejo sexual. Segundo este autor, a afanise seria, nos 2 sexos, objeto de um temor mais fundamental que o temor da castração.”


O afeto é a expressão qualitativa da quantidade de energia pulsional e das suas variações.” Mais tarde, ainda em Freud (muito confuso): “O afeto é aí definido como a tradução subjetiva da quantidade de energia pulsional. Freud distingue aqui nitidamente o aspecto subjetivo do afeto e os processos energéticos que o condicionam.”

LINK COM #Ab-reação: “Somente quando a evocação da recordação provoca a revivescência do afeto que estava ligado a ela na origem é que a rememoração encontra a sua eficácia terapêutica.”

O mundo como afeto & representação (não existe afeto inconsciente)

Sub-espécies de estados do afeto dinâmico:

a) transformação (ansiedade, depressão)

b) deslocamento (obsessão, paranóia)

c) conversão (histeria)

(Classificação tripartite provavelmente tão obsoleta quanto aquela da histeria enumerada no verbete ab-reação.)


Perda mais ou menos considerável da força e da clareza da voz.”

afonia”, in Dicionário Priberam da Língua Portuguesa, [consultado em 05-10-2018].


a hipótese de uma <pulsão de agressão> autônoma, emitida por Adler logo em 1908, foi durante muito tempo recusada por Freud” Normal.

…o doente no decorrer de outros tratamentos só evoca transferências ternas e amigáveis em favor da sua cura […]. Na psicaná., em contrapartida, todas as moções, incluindo as hostis, devem ser despertadas, utilizadas pela análise ao se tornarem conscientes.” F.

Um-dois abismo(s) entre o dever e o poder e o ser, hehe!

Os 3 tipos de chistes (e lá vamos nós de novo com esse de TRÊS TIPOS DE…):

a) o ingênuo (o chiste pelo chiste)

b) o hostil (agressivo, negro, defensivo)

c) o obsceno (???)


Sem o advento do nazismo, que a esvaziou da quase totalidade de seus intelectuais e eruditos, a Alemanha teria sido o mais poderoso país de implantação da psicanálise. Se fosse necessário comprovar essa afirmação, bastariam os nomes de seus prestigiosos fundadores, que se naturalizaram americanos, quando não morreram antes de poder emigrar: Karl Abraham, Max Eitingon, Otto Fenichel, Ernst Simmel, Otto Gross, Georg Groddeck, Wilhelm Reich, Erich Fromm, Karen Horney.”

Tratada de <psiquiatria de dona de casa> pelos meios da medicina acadêmica, a psicanálise foi mal-aceita pelos grandes nomes do saber psiquiátrico, e principalmente por Emil Kraepelin. Reprovavam o seu estilo literário e a sua metapsicologia, embora Freud tivesse assimilado em seus trabalhos uma parte importante da nosologia kraepeliniana. Entretanto, foi mesmo no campo do saber psiquiátrico que ela acabou por ser reconhecida, graças à ação de alguns pioneiros.”

No nível universitário, a resistência se manifestou de modo mais determinado. Como sublinha Jacques Le Rider, <a psicologia alemã construíra a sua reputação sobre a pesquisa em laboratório, sobre um método científico do qual a física e a química eram o modelo ideal, e cujo espírito positivo pretendia banir qualquer especulação, reconhecendo apenas um saber sintético: a biologia>. A escola alemã de psicologia reagiu contra a Naturphilosophie do século XIX, essa ciência da alma que florescera na esteira do romantismo e de que se nutriam os trabalhos freudianos.Thomas Mann seria um dos poucos a reconhecer o valor científico desse freudismo julgado excessivamente literário pelos psicólogos universitários.

No campo da filosofia, a psicanálise passava por ser aquele <psicologismo> denunciado por Edmund Husserl desde seus primeiros trabalhos. Assim, ela foi criticada em 1913 por Karl Jaspers (1883-1969) em uma obra monumental, Psicopatologia geral, que teve um grande papel na gênese de uma psiquiatria fenomenológica, principalmente na França, em torno de Eugène Minkowski, de Daniel Lagache e do jovem Jacques Lacan. Em 1937, Alexander Mitscherlisch tentou convencer Jaspers a modificar a sua opinião, mas chocou-se com a hostilidade do filósofo, que manteve-se surdo aos seus argumentos.”

Três congressos se realizaram em cidades alemãs: Nuremberg em 1910, onde foi criada a International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA), Weimar em 1911, do qual participaram 116 congressistas, Munique em 1913, quando se consumou a partida de Jung e seus partidários. Um ano depois, Freud pediu a Abraham que sucedesse a Jung na direção da IPA.”

Centro da divulgação clínica, Berlim continuava sendo pioneira de um certo conservadorismo político e doutrinário. E foi Frankfurt que se tornou o lugar da reflexão intelectual, dando origem à corrente da <esquerda freudiana>, sob a influência de Otto Fenichel, e à instituição do Frankfurter Psychoanalytisches Institut.” “Institut für Sozialforschung (…) Núcleo fundador da futura Escola de Frankfurt, esse instituto de pesquisas sociais fundado em 1923 originou a elaboração da teoria crítica, doutrina sociológica e filosófica que se apoiava simultaneamente na psicanálise, na fenomenologia e no marxismo, para refletir sobre as condições de produção da cultura no seio de uma sociedade dominada pela racionalidade tecnológica.”

Muito se disse, como sabemos, que o seu método original correspondia essencialmente à natureza da burguesia muito refinada de Viena, na época em que ele foi concebido. Claro que isso é totalmente falso em geral, mas mesmo que houvesse um grão de verdade isso em nada invalidaria a obra de Freud. Quanto maior for uma obra, mais estará enraizada em uma situação histórica concreta.”Horkheimer

Em 1930, graças à intervenção do escritor Alfons Paquet (1881-1944), a cidade concedeu a Freud o prêmio Goethe. Em seu discurso, lido por sua filha Anna, Freud prestou homenagem à Naturphilosophie, símbolo do laço espiritual que unia a Alemanha à Áustria, e à beleza da obra de Goethe, segundo ele próxima do eros platônico encerrado no âmago da psicanálise.

Depois da ascensão de Hitler ao poder, Matthias Göring, primo do marechal, decidido a depurar a doutrina freudiana de seu <espírito judaico>, pôs em prática o programa de <arianização da psicanálise>, que previa a exclusão dos judeus e a transformação do vocabulário. Rapidamente, conquistou as boas graças de alguns freudianos, dispostos a se lançarem nessa aventura, como Felix Boehm e Carl Müller-Braunschweig, aos quais se reuniram depois Harald Schultz-Hencke e Werner Kemper. Nenhum deles estava engajado na causa do nazismo. Membros da DPG e do BPI, um freudiano ortodoxo, o segundo adleriano e o terceiro neutro, simplesmente tinham ciúme de seus colegas judeus. Assim, o advento do nacional-socialismo foi para eles uma boa oportunidade de fazer carreira.


Ver também OBJETO (“BOM” E “MAU”).

#OFFTOPICFILOSOFAL É Além do Bem e do Mal a superação do princípio da não-contradição ou apenas uma solução guiada por este princípio? Pegadinha do Mallandgenstein.

anáclise ou apoio

[Devido a divergências de traduções ou simplesmente à incompetência da teoria,] o conceito de Anlehnungnão foi nitidamente apreendido pelos leitores de Freud.” “em francês o substantivo anaclise (anáclise), que traduziria Anlehnung, não é admitido. (…) os autores deste Vocabulário propuseram como equivalente étayage (apoio)”

Trata-se do momento de escolha do primeiro objeto de amor (paixão). A famosa necessidade do supérfluo(encobridor).

Parece que, até hoje, a noção de apoio não foi plenamente apreendida na obra de Freud; quando vemos intervir esta noção, é quase sempre na concepção de escolha de objeto, que longe de defini-la por inteiro, supõe que ela esteja no centro de uma teoria das pulsões.

O seu sentido principal é estabelecer uma [diferença entre as pulsões de autoconservação e o nascimento das pulsões sexuais e auxiliar na compreensão entre a separação entre desenvolvimento da heteronomia e autoerotismo ou narcisimo].” Apoio Exterior

anaclítica, depressão (Klein)

É um tipo de depressão passível de desenvolvimento já em bebês. Poder-se-ia chamar de “desmame traumático” que não foi satisfatoriamente reposto. É estruturalmente oposta à depressão adulta. = HOSPITALIZAÇÃO de ROUDINESCO. O verbete vem de René Spitz (The Psycho-Analytic Study of the Child; La première année de la vie de l’enfant).

análise didática

O ensino formal da psicanálise para a formação do profissional clínico, que inclui a análise propriamente dita do inconsciente do paciente-aprendiz.

Sobre o mito da autoanálise (a 1ª análise didática feita dentro da psicanálise, necessariamente, pelo Pai da disciplina): só Freud? Ou o mesmo afirmara, num congresso, que seria pré-requisito para o exercício da profissão? Respostas mais adiante, nos IMPERDÍVEIS CAPÍTULOS VERBORRÁGICOS DESTA SAGA, amigos!

F. presta homenagem à escola de Zurique por ter <…apresentado a exigência segundo a qual quem quiser praticar análises sobre outros deve 1º submeter-se a uma análise realizada por alguém com experiência>.” Experiência é relativa, diria seu mentor na Filosofia…

Foi em 1922, no Congresso da Associação Psicanalítica Internacional, 2 anos após a fundação do Instituto de Psicanálise de Berlim, que se apresentou a exigência da análise didática para todo e qualquer candidato a analista.”

Para resistir firmemente a essa investida geral do paciente, é preciso que o analista também tenha sido plena e completamente analisado. (…) muitas vezes se julga suficiente que um candidato passe um ano familiarizando-se com os principais mecanismos naquilo a que se chama a sua análise didática. Quanto ao seu progresso ulterior, confia-se no que virá a aprender no decorrer da própria experiência. (…) enquanto nem todos os empreendimentos com fins terapêuticos precisam ser levados até a profundidade quando falamos de uma terminação consumada da análise, o próprio analista deve conhecer e controlar mesmo as fraquezas mais secretas do seu caráter, e isto é impossível sem uma análise plenamente acabada.” Ferenczi

Hmmm… Que torre de Babel não temos aqui!


Balint, Sobre o sistema de formação psicanalítica

análise direta

Espécie de “análise intensiva” para casos de psicose. Inimiga, portanto, do princípio freudiano de abstinência.

o paciente sente-se compreendido por um terapeuta ao qual atribui a compreensão todo-poderosa de uma mãe ideal; tranqüiliza-se com palavras que visam o conteúdo infantil das suas angústias mostrando a inanidade delas.” Tem-se por base que na terapia para o neurótico a postura do psicanalista tem de ser muito mais neutra. A teoria de base que sustenta essa metodologia é a de que o psicótico é necessariamente aquela criança que sofreu a influências de uma mãe perversa.


Rosen, Direct Analysis

análise existencial (Daseinanalyse)

Entre os adeptos franceses da análise existencial encontramos Eugène Minkowski, o Jean-Paul Sartre de O ser e o nada [Hm… muito mais na persona literária…] e o jovem Michel Foucault (até 1954). (…) Na Grã-Bretanha, é essencialmente em Ronald Laing que encontramos a temática existencial.” how LAING will this treatment take?


Viktor Frankl, La Psychothérapie et son image de l’homme, Paris, Resma, 1970.

Andersson, Ola

Pioneiro da historiografia erudita, Ola Andersson teve um destino curioso no movimento freudiano. O único livro que escreveu, publicado em 1962 com o título anglófono de Studies in the Pre-history of Psychoanalysis. The Etiology of Psychoneuroses (1886-1896) [ver versão francesa nas indicações de leitura], foi completamente ignorado na Suécia nos meios psicanalíticos, embora seu autor ocupasse funções acadêmicas importantes e fosse responsável pela tradução sueca das obras de Sigmund Freud. [!]”

No seu próprio trabalho, Andersson empreendeu então a primeira grande revisão de um caso princeps dos Estudos sobre a histeria: o caso Emmy von N.. Descobriu seu nome verdadeiro, Fanny Moser, expôs a sua história no congresso da IPA de Amsterdam em 1965, e esperou 14 anos para publicar um artigo sobre esse tema na The Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review.” “Entretanto, ao contrário de Ellenberger, continuou apegado, como membro da IPA, à ortodoxia oriunda de Ernest Jones, cujo trabalho biográfico admirava, o que o impediu de empenhar-se mais na história erudita. Sofreu muito com seu isolamento no seio da Sociedade Psicanalítica Sueca, a ponto de pedir a Ellenberger, em 1976, que o ajudasse a emigrar para os Estados Unidos.”

Seu sobrenome Andersson, psicanalista ao mesmo tempo integrado e marginal, foi realmente apagado da história intelectual de seu país, a ponto de não figurar na Enciclopédia nacional sueca, ele que havia escrito tantos artigos em diversas enciclopédias suecas.”

Andreas-Salomé, Lou, née Lelia (Louise) von Salomé (1861-1937)

Mais por sua vida do que por suas obras, Lou Andreas-Salomé teve um destino excepcional na história do século XX. Figura emblemática da feminilidade narcísica,¹ concebia o amor sexual como uma paixão física que se esgotava logo que o desejo fosse saciado. Só o amor intelectual, fundado na mais absoluta fidelidade, era capaz, dizia ela, de resistir ao tempo.”

¹ O que seria isso?

Ironizava as invectivas, os boatos e os escândalos, decidida a não se dobrar às imposições sociais. Depois de Nietzsche (1844-1900) e de Rilke (1875-1926), Freud ficou deslumbrado por essa mulher, a quem amou ternamente e que revolucionou a sua existência.

Nascida em São Petersburgo, em uma família da aristocracia alemã, Lou Salomé era filha de um general do exército dos Romanov. Com a idade de 17 anos, recusando-se a ser confirmada pelo pastor da Igreja evangélica reformada, à qual pertencia sua família, colocou-se sob a direção de outro pastor, Hendrik Gillot, dândi brilhante e culto, que se apaixonou por ela logo que a iniciou na leitura dos grandes filósofos.”

Graças a Malwida von Meysenburg (1816-1903), grande dama do feminismo alemão, ficou conhecendo o escritor Paul Rée (1849-1901), que lhe apresentou Nietzsche. Persuadido de que encontrara a única mulher capaz de compreendê-lo, este lhe fez um pedido solene de casamento. Lou recusou-se. A esses dois homens, profundamente apaixonados por ela, propôs então constituírem uma espécie de trindade intelectual, e em maio de 1882 [38 x 33 x 21 anos], para selar o pacto, fizeram-se fotografar juntos, diante de um cenário de papelão: Nietzsche e Rée atrelados a uma charrete, Lou segurando as rédeas.” “Foi a adesão ao narcisismo nietzschiano, e de modo mais geral o culto do ego, característico da Lebensphilosophie (filosofia da vida)¹ fin de siècle, que preparou o encontro de Lou com a psicanálise.” Blá, blá, blá…

¹ Por que afinal via de regra é a filosofia-da-morte, certo?


Em junho de 1887, Lou casou-se com o orientalista alemão Friedrich-Carl Andreas, que ensinava na Universidade de Göttingen. O casamento não foi consumado, e Georg Ledebourg, fundador do Partido Social-Democrata alemão tornou-se seu primeiro amante, algum tempo antes de Friedrich Pineles, médico vienense. Essa segunda ligação terminou com um aborto e uma trágica renúncia à maternidade. Lou instalou-se então em Munique, onde ficou conhecendo o jovem poeta Rainer Maria Rilke: <Fui tua mulher durante anos, escreveria ela em Minha vida, porque foste a primeira realidade, em que o homem e o corpo são indiscerníveis um do outro, fato incontestável da própria vida […]. Éramos irmão e irmã, mas como naquele passado longínquo, antes que o casamento entre irmão e irmã se tornasse um sacrilégio.>” “como diria Freud em 1937, <ela foi ao mesmo tempo a musa e a mãe zelosa do grande poeta […] que era tão infeliz diante da vida.>” Mal consigo contar os clichês deste verbete…

Em seu artigo de 1914 sobre o narcisismo, era nela que pensava quando descreveu os traços tão particulares dessas mulheres, que se assemelham a grandes animais solitários mergulhados na contemplação de si mesmos.”“Logo ela abraçou exclusivamente a causa do freudismo. Foi então que se apaixonou porViktor Tausk, o homem mais belo e mais melancólico do círculo freudiano.”“Introduzida no círculo da Berggasse, tornou-se familiar da casa e apegou-se particularmente a Anna Freud. Depois das reuniões das quartas-feiras, Freud a conduzia a seu hotel; depois de cada jantar, a cumulava de flores.”

Fiquei sabendo com temor — e pela melhor fonte — que todos os dias você dedica até dez horas à psicanálise. Naturalmente, considero isso uma tentativa de suicídio mal-dissimulada, o que muito me surpreende, pois, que eu saiba, você tem muito poucos sentimentos de culpa neurótica. Portanto, insisto que pare e de preferência aumente o preço de suas consultas em um quarto ou na metade, segundo as flutuações da queda do marco. Parece que a arte de contar foi esquecida pela multidão de fadas que se reuniram em torno do seu berço quando você nasceu. Por favor, não jogue pela janela este meu aviso.”

Empobrecida pela inflação que assolava a Alemanha e obrigada a manter os membros de sua família arruinados pela Revolução de Outubro, Lou não conseguia suprir suas necessidades. Embora nunca pedisse nada, Freud lhe enviava somas generosas e dividia com ela, como dizia, a sua <fortuna recentemente adquirida>.

OEDIPUS GONNA ANTIOEDIPALIZE YOU: “Lou tornou-se confidente da filha de Freud e até sua segunda analista, quando isso se tornou necessário.”

Para comemorar o seu 75º aniversário, Lou decidiu dedicar a Freud um livro, para expressar sua gratidão e alguns desacordos. Criticava principalmente os erros cometidos pela psicanálise a respeito da criação estética, reduzida abusivamente, dizia ela, a um caso de recalque. Freud aceitou sem reservas a argumentação, mas tentou conseguir que ela mudasse o título da obra (Minha gratidão a Freud).”

A partir de 1933, Lou assistiu com horror à instauração do regime nazista. Conhecia o ódio que lhe consagrava Elisabeth Forster (1846-1935), irmã de Nietzsche, que se tornara adepta fervorosa do hitlerismo. Conhecia os desvios que esta impusera à filosofia do homem de quem fôra tão próxima e que tanto admirava. Não ignorava que os burgueses de Göttingen a chamavam A Feiticeira. Mas decidiu não fugir da Alemanha. Alguns dias depois de sua morte, um funcionário da Gestapo foi à sua casa para confiscar a biblioteca, que seria jogada nos porões da prefeitura:Apresentou-se como razão para esse confisco, escreveu Peters, que Lou fôra psicanalista e praticara aquilo que os nazistas chamavam de ciência judaica, que ela fôra colaboradora e amiga íntima de Sigmund Freud e que a sua biblioteca estava apinhada de autores judeus.


Lou Andreas-Salomé, Fenitschka (Stuttgart, 1898), Paris, Des Femmes, 1985;

______. Érotisme (Frankfurt, 1910, Munique, 1979), in: Eros, Paris, Minuit, 1984; (art.)

______. Rainer Maria Rilke (Leipzig, 1928), Paris, Marendell, 1989;

______. Ma gratitude envers Freud (Viena, 1931, Paris, 1983), Seuil, col. “Points”, 1987, traduzido com o título Lettre ouverte à Freud;

______. Ma vie (Zurique, 1951, Frankfurt 1977), Paris, PUF, 1977;

______. L’Amour du narcissisme, Paris, Gallimard, 1980;

______. Carnets intimes des dernières années (Frankfurt, 1982), Paris, Hachette, 1983;

______. En Russie avec Rilke, 1900. Journal inédit, Paris, Seuil, 1992;

Freud & Lou Andréas-Salomé, correspondência completa (Frankfurt, 1966), Rio de Janeiro, Imago, 1975;

Nietzsche, Rée & Salomé, Correspondance (Frankfurt, 1970), Paris, PUF, 1979;

H.F. Peters, My sister, my spouse (N. York, 1962), Rio de Janeiro, Jorge Zahar, 1986;

Rudolph Binion, Frau Lou, Nietzsche’s Wayward Disciple, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1968;

Angela Livingstone, Lou Andreas-Salomé: Her Life and Work (Londres, 1984), Paris, PUF, 1990.


Sob certos aspectos, a antipsiquiatria foi a seqüência lógica e o desfecho da psicoterapia institucional. Se esta havia tentado reformar os manicômios e transformar as relações entre os que prestavam e os que recebiam cuidados, no sentido de uma ampla abertura para o mundo da loucura, a antipsiquiatria visou a extinguir os manicômios e eliminar a própria idéia de doença mental.” “foi justamente por ter sido uma revolta que a antipsiquiatria teve, ao mesmo tempo, uma duração efêmera e um impacto considerável no mundo inteiro. Ela foi uma espécie de utopia: a da possível transformação da loucura num estilo de vida, numa viagem, num modo de ser diferente e de estar do outro lado da razão, como a haviam definido Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) e, depois dele, o movimento surrealista.”

Assim como o movimento psicanalítico havia fabricado sua lenda das origens através da história de Anna O. (Bertha Pappenheim), a antipsiquiatria também reivindicou a aventura de uma mulher: Mary Barnes. Essa ex-enfermeira, reconhecida como esquizofrênica e incurável, tinha cerca de 40 anos ao ingressar no Hospital de Kingsley Hall, onde Joseph Berke a deixou regredir durante 5 anos. Através dessa descida aos infernos e de uma espécie de morte simbólica, ela pôde renascer para a vida, tornar-se pintora e, mais tarde, redigir sua <viagem>.”

GUERRA FRIA LACAN X SEU MESTRE: “Na França, não houve nenhuma verdadeira corrente antipsiquiátrica, de um lado porque a esquerda lacaniana ocupou parcialmente o terreno da revolta contra a ordem psiquiátrica, através da corrente da psicoterapia institucional, e de outro, em função de Foucault e Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995) [Batman & Robin], cujos trabalhos cristalizaram a contestação <antipsiquiátrica> a uma dupla ortodoxia, freudiana e lacaniana.”


David Cooper, Psiquiatria e antipsiquiatria (Londres, 1967);

Mary Barnes & Joseph Berke. Un voyage à travers la folie (Londres, 1971), Paris, Seuil, 1973;

Thomas Szasz, Le Mythe de la maladie mentale (N. York, 1974), Paris, Payot, 1975.


O debate entre os antropólogos e os psicanalistas começou após a publicação, em 1912-1913, do livro Totem e tabu e deu origem a uma nova disciplina, a etnopsicanálise, cujos dois grandes representantes foram Geza Roheim e Georges Devereux. Seu principal contexto geográfico inicial foi a Melanésia, isto é, a Austrália, onde ainda viviam aborígines que, no final do século, eram considerados o povo mais <primitivo> do planeta, e as ilhas situadas a sudoeste do oceano Pacífico (Trobriand e Normanby), habitadas pelos melanésios propriamente ditos e pelos polinésios. Posteriormente, o campo de eleição foi o dos índios da América do Norte.”

Derivada do grego (ethnos: povo, e logos: pensamento), a palavra etnologia só veio a surgir no século XIX. Todavia, o estudo comparativo dos povos remonta a Heródoto. Se, de acordo com os antigos, o mundo estava estaticamente dividido entre a civilização e a barbárie (externa à cidade), a questão colocou-se de outra maneira na era cristã. Os missionários e conquistadores se indagaram, com efeito, se os indígenas tinham alma ou não.”

Daí nasceu a tese de que o primitivo se assemelha à criança, que se assemelha ao neurótico. Foi nesse darwinismo que Freud se inspirou, através dos trabalhos de James George Frazer (1854-1941) sobre o totemismo e de William Robertson Smith (1846-1894) sobre o tabu.”

Na França, a palavra ethnologie, etnologia, surgiu em 1838, para designar o estudo comparativo dos chamados costumes e instituições <primitivos>. Dezessete anos depois, foi suplantada pelo termo antropologia, ao qual o médico Paul Broca (1824-1881) associou seu nome, ao fazer dela uma disciplina física e anatômica que logo desembocou, no contexto da teoria da hereditariedade-degenerescência, no estudo das <raças> e das <etnias>, concebidas como espécies zoológicas.

No mundo anglófono, ao contrário (na Grã-Bretanha e, depois, nos Estados Unidos), a palavra ethnology cobriu o campo da antropologia física (no sentido francês), enquanto se cunhou, em 1908, o termo social anthropology, para designar a cátedra de antropologia de Frazer na Universidade de Liverpool.”

Observe-se que Charles Seligman (1873-1940) e William Rivers (1864-1922), dois antropólogos de formação médica, foram os primeiros a tornar conhecidos no meio acadêmico da antropologia inglesa os trabalhos freudianos sobre o sonho, a hipnose e a histeria. Mais tarde, esse trabalho teve seguimento através da escola culturalista norte-americana, desde Margaret Mead até Ruth Benedict (1887-1948), passando por Abram Kardiner e pelo neofreudismo.”

Quanto à antiga escola de antropologia, ela evoluiria para o racismo, o anti-semitismo e o colaboracionismo, em especial sob a influência de Georges Montandon, ex-médico e adepto das teses do padre Wilhelm Schmidt (1868-1954). Fundador da Escola Etnológica de Viena e diretor, em 1927, do museu etnográfico pontifical de Roma, Schmidt acusaria Freud de querer destruir a família ocidental. Quanto a Montandon, ele participaria do extermínio dos judeus durante o regime de Vichy e seria amigo do psicanalista e demógrafo Georges Mauco.

Foi preciso esperar pela segunda metade do século XX para que fosse introduzida na França, através de Claude Lévi-Strauss, a terminologia anglófona. Em 1954, ele livrou o termo <antropologia> de todas as antigas imagens da hereditariedade-degenerescência, a fim de definir uma nova disciplina que abarcasse, ao mesmo tempo, a etnografia, como primeira etapa de um trabalho de campo, e a etnologia, designada como segunda etapa e primeira reflexão sintética.

Se Marcel Mauss, sobrinho de Émile Durkheim, havia desvinculado a etnologia da sociologia durkheimiana, embora se inspirasse em seus modelos, Claude Lévi-Strauss passou da etnologia para a antropologia, unificando os dois campos (anglófono e francófono) em torno de três grandes eixos: o parentesco (em vez da família e do patriarcado), o universalismo relativista (em vez do culturalismo) e o incesto. Situou-se prontamente como contemporâneo da obra freudiana, à qual se referiu, como ao Curso de lingüística geral de Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913), sublinhando, em Tristes trópicos, o que ela lhe havia trazido: <…(essa obra) me revelou que […] são as condutas aparentemente mais afetivas, as operações menos racionais e as manifestações declaradas pré-lógicas que são, ao mesmo tempo, as mais significativas.>“Lévi-Strauss foi, sem sombra de dúvida, o primeiro etnólogo a teorizar a viagem etnológica segundo o modelo de uma estrutura melancólica: todo etnólogo redige uma autobiografia ou escreve confissões, diria ele, em essência, porque tem que passar pelo eu para se desligar do eu.”