Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen

Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen has recently brought out a French edition of Freud’s early papers on hypnosis, L’Hypnose: Textes – 1886/1893.

Try a monastery instead: Suicide

Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, 17 November 2016

Around​ forty years ago, a friend of mine took his own life in the middle of a party he was throwing in his apartment. A neighbour who happened to look outside saw him climb onto the window ledge, hesitate briefly and then jump to his death from the fifth floor. His guests were stunned when the police rang at the door.

Why did he do it? We grasp at reasons, motives, causes, triggers....

Early in the morning on 13 December 2006, police officers from the small town of Hull, Massachusetts, near Boston, arrived at the house of Michael and Carolyn Riley in response to an emergency call. Their four-year-old daughter, Rebecca, had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder two years earlier. When the officers reached the house, they found Rebecca sprawled on the floor next to her teddy...

Gentlemen’s Spleen: Hysterical Men

Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, 27 August 2009

Mark Micale’s book opens with a scene from John Huston’s film Freud: The Secret Passion (1962), which re-creates one of Jean-Martin Charcot’s legendary demonstrations of hypnosis before an audience of doctors at the Salpêtrière. With magical ease, Charcot makes two patients’ hysterical symptoms disappear. As Micale notes, the scene is taken from André...

Psychotropicana: the realities of depression

Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, 11 July 2002

We all know how it happens. One day, without warning, you feel oddly removed from things and people, as if an invisible wall of glass were separating you from them. They go about their business but, for a reason that escapes you, none of it any longer concerns you. You could call out, but what would be the point? You aren’t worth it, and the friendly overtures of others come as a...

Little Brother, Little Sister: Hysteria

Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, 24 May 2001

What is progress in psychoanalysis? One of the arguments most commonly used by advocates of psychoanalysis during the recent ‘Freud wars’ has been to reproach their adversaries for holding fast to an outmoded version of their discipline. Psychoanalysis, they say, no longer bears much resemblance to what its founder had envisaged, so that criticism focusing on the historical Freud...

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