Sunday, December 05, 2010

If You Don't Get It, You Don't Get It

I may have this wrong, but I think I read that after Freud scholar Jeffrey Masson was fired from his position as projects director at The Sigmund Freud Archives, he spoke by telephone to Anna Freud, who said to Masson: "personally, I was not in favor of the job termination, but that's what the Board decided, so I went along with it."

So you can see why, for various reasons actually, Anna Freud became Ellen. 

In point of fact, references to Ellen abound in my book Significant Moments.  Ellen happens to be the name of the heroine in Edith Wharton's novel, The Age of Innocence.  (Coincidentally, Edith was the name of Bob Strauss's mother).   My book contains numerous quotations from The Age of Innocence.

Ellen was also the name of President Woodrow Wilson's first wife.  In a section of my book I quote a letter from Wilson to his fiancee, Ellen Axson, a quotation with deep meaning for me.  First, I talk about sending a copy of my book to a man's wife (Cosima Wagner, the daughter of Franz Liszt and the wife of Richard Wagner):

Arrival of Prof. Nietzsche's book.
Cosima Wagner's Diaries (Wednesday, January 3, 1872). 
I looked at it . . . 
Jules Verne, A Journey to the Center of the Earth.

. . . turned over idly pages of . . . 
James Joyce, Ulysses. 

. . . it with curiosity . . . 
Jules Verne, A Journey to the Center of the Earth.

It was eloquent, vibrating with eloquence, but too high-strung, I think. 
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness. 

What of it, though? 
Robert Frost, Excerpt from “Lucretius Versus the Lake Poets.” 

* * * *

Pharaoh was, of course, the . . . 
Ken Frieden, Freud's Dream of Interpretation. 
. . . Master who stood for a great deal that the younger man . . . 
Ernest Newman, The Life of Richard Wagner. 

. . . longing to do immortal work . . . 
Sigmund Freud and William Bullitt, Thomas Woodrow Wilson: A Psychological Study quoting Wilson['s letter to his fiancee Ellen Axson].

. . . was beginning to envisage as his own special world 
Ernest Newman, The Life of Richard Wagner. 

Be that as it may.

In any event, on January 15, 2010 as I was listening to a fellow going on about the deep resentment and rage I harbored toward Ellen, I kept thinking of a line from Woody Allen's movie Deconstructing Harry: "You are so f--king nuts!"  I kept hearing that line again and again in my mind.

I don't know if any of this will make sense to anybody.  If you don't get it, you don't get it.

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