Anna F.

Michael Ignatieff

She burst into the history of psychoanalysis crying out in her sleep: ‘Anna Fweud, stwawbewwies, wild stwawbewwies, omblet, pudden!’ The calipers of theory were immediately applied: ‘At that time she was in the habit of using her own name to express the idea of taking possession of something. The menu included pretty well everything that must have seemed to her to make up a desirable meal.’ A strange father he must have been, ruminating into the night in his study on the meaning of his children’s half-heard cries in their sleep. Even here he paid attention to details other fathers would have thought beneath their notice. Why, he wondered, did she cry out for two kinds of strawberry: ‘The fact that strawberries appeared in it in two varieties was a demonstration against the domestic health regulations. It was based on the circumstances, which she had no doubt observed, that her nurse had attributed her indisposition to a surfeit of strawberries. She was thus retaliating in her dream against this unwelcome verdict.’

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