Psychoanalyzing Karinthy

Many Hungarian intellectuals of the early 20th century were influenced by psychoanalysis, Frigyes Karinthy included. He incorporated psychological themes in his serious and parodic works. Karinthy was a humorist, but the reviewer of this book seems to be lacking in that department. In the reviewer's "professional" estimation Karinthy is judged to have been even prior to the brain tumor "of an extremely psychopathic disposition with morbid hyperexcitability." This diagnosis is itself hilarious.

Review: A Journey Round my Skull by E. J. (1940), International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 21: 246-247.

This much advertised book is written in a sensational way about a sensational theme. It describes how the author, an Hungarian man of letters, gradually became aware of having a cerebral tumour, and his mental experiences during a long and dangerous operation without an anæsthetic. The experience is certainly remarkable and poignant enough to make a description of it by a really observant man one of great interest. In the present case, however, the patient appears already to have been of an extremely psychopathic disposition with morbid hyperexcitability. The mental experiences he describes, therefore, are only in part direct responses to the remarkable current situation, being in large part made up of fears, resentments, and blindnesses arising from characteristics of his own personality. These extraneous features impair the interest inherent in the description of the experiences, but on the other hand, they furnish material of interest for any psychologist whose attention is specially aroused by the story.

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