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Notes on the beating fantasy1


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    Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith.


This theoretical paper revisits the beating fantasy, which constitutes a crossroads of the psychic economy in that it condenses three primal phantasies, namely the primal scene, castration and seduction. Two forms of the phantasy have been distinguished: a ‘fixed’ form, apparently associated with the masochistic perversion, and a ‘transitory’ form, probably bound up with libidinal development. In Freud ’s (1919) paper these two aspects are intertwined. The present contribution confines itself to the transitory form of the phantasy and its significance in the libidinal development of the girl, notably in the organization of passivity. With this in mind, particular attention is paid to the phantasy’s third phase in this context, and an attempt made to show how this phase epitomizes the transformation of the instinctual pressure and might therefore be looked upon in this connection as the intermediate phase of the phantasy.