chapter  7
17 Pages

I violently resisted the interpretation of Siegfried as a real child

ByMichael Gerard Plastow

Sabina Spielrein’s longing for a baby Siegfried is a yearning for a poem—the expression of her feelings—but simultaneously a longing for a “worthy father” or poet. During Sabina Spielrein’s time in Zurich, in her transference-love towards Carl Jung, she dreamed and wrote in her diaries and letters of a hypothetical child named Siegfried. Siegfried appears where an actual baby is impossible: Siegfried’s power is precisely in its loss or absence, thus designating a lack. The “symbolism” existed long before her analysis, even if Siegfried was the name that it assumed in the transference to Jung. Spielrein goes on to endeavour to explicate Jung’s misapprehension of Siegfried, which she says is to be ascribed to conscious analysis. Jung’s interpretation of Siegfried as “symbolism” is one that emerged at the time of the analysis, and he continues to insist upon it in his letters to Spielrein of 1917–1919.