The Biblioteca Nueva de Madrid was the first publishing house to print a Spanish language edition of the "complete works" of Sigmund Freud; it was referred to as such even though it has never been finished. Nearly contemporary with the German publication of the Gesammelte Schriften (1924-1934), the Spanish edition was the first complete translation of Freud's work abroad. Freud himself was surprised that a Madrid editor, José Ruiz-Castillo, would want to publish his work in Spanish. At this time the Spanish population was small and the cultural level relatively undeveloped. In fact the initiative for the project was taken by a well-known Spanish intellectual, José Ortega y Gasset, who had introduced German scientific and philosophic ideas to the Spanish public through the review Revista de Occidente . At his suggestion the publication rights were purchased in 1917, but Europe was then at war; all correspondence for the project and the initial proofs had to be sent by diplomatic courier. The first volume, with a preface by Ortega y Gasset, appeared in 1922, and seventeen additional volumes were published by 1934. If we are to believe the letter sent by Freud to his translator, Luis López-Ballesteros y de Torres, on May 7, 1923, he was very agreeably surprised by this version.
Its characteristics need to be considered in relation to its function within the Spanish historical context, which was then in the throes of a cultural and literary renewal. This explains why López-Ballesteros's translation was written in elegant Castilian and was highly literary, which significantly enlarged its readership. However, the translation, although it allowed Spanish readers to familiarize themselves with Freud's thought, lacks any sense of consistency. The primary reason is the absence of any systematic conceptual approach, made worse by the repeated literary and moralizing interjections of the translator, who exercised a certain degree of liberty in his work. There were also a number of omissions of words and sometimes of entire sentences, which considerably altered the original meaning.
See also: Spain.
Garcia de la Hoz, Antonio. (1985). Freud en castellano. Libros, 36, 3-9.
Lázaro, J. (1991). Las Traducciones al español de Freud: Historia y crítica, actas del IX congreso de historia de la medicina. Saragossa: Prensas Universitarias y Ayuntamiento de Saragossa.
Ruiz-Castillo Basala, José. (1972). El Apasionante mundo del libro. Memorias de un editor. Madrid: Ediciones de la Revista de Occidente.
Vezzetti, Hugo. (1911). Freud en langue espagnole. Revue internationale d'histoire de la psychanalyse, 4, 189-207.
Villarreal, Inga. (1992). Spanish Translations of Freud. Translating Freud. New Haven/London: Yale University Press.
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