Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious. WE follow the beckoning of chance and take up as our first example of wit one which has already come to the technique is a tree interpretation for children notice in the previous chapter.
And as true as I pray that the Lord may grant me all good things I sat next to Solomon Rothschild, who treated me just as if I were his equal, quite famillionaire. However, we shall pass over this question and put to ourselves the following inquiry: What is it that causes the speech of Hirsch-Hyacinth to become witty? In the speech of Hirsch-Hyacinth we have before us a definite form of thought expressed which seems to us especially peculiar and not very readily comprehensible. Let us attempt to express as exactly as is possible the same thought in other words. Whether we shall remain content with this or with another equivalent formulation of the thought, we can see that the question which we have put to ourselves is already answered. The character of the wit in this example does not adhere to the thought.
But if the witty character of our example does not belong to the thought, then it must be sought for in the form of expression in the wording. We have only to study the peculiarity of this mode of expression to realize what one may term word- or form-technique. Also we may discover the things that are intimately related to the very nature of wit, since the character as well as the effect of wit disappears when one set of expressions is changed for others. What has occurred to the thought, in our own conception, that it became changed into wit and caused us to laugh heartily? The comparison of our conception with the text of the poet teaches us that two processes took place. In the first place there occurred an important abbreviation.
Rothschild treated me quite familiarly, i. Now imagine that a compressing force is acting upon these sentences and assume that for some reason or other the second sentence is of lesser resistance. Apart from such a compressing force, which is really unknown to us, we may describe the origin of the wit-formation, that is, the technique of the wit in this case, as a condensation with substitutive formation. In our example the substitutive formation consists in the formation of a mixed word. Not many of these exist, but enough to constitute a small group which may be characterized as the blend-word formations or fusions.
During the war between Turkey and the Balkan States, in 1912, Punch depicted the part played by Rumania by representing the latter as a highwayman holding up the members of the Balkan alliance. A naughty jest of Europe has rebaptized a former potentate, Leopold, into Cleopold because of his relation to a lady surnamed Cleo. This is a clear form of condensation which by the addition of a single letter forever vividly preserves a scandalous allusion. In an excellent chapter on this same theme Brill gives the following example. Here the condensation expresses the idea that holidays are conducive to alcoholic indulgence.