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(1964). Psychoanalytic Review. L, 1963: The Thinking of the Body. Kenneth Burke. Pp. 375-413.. Psychoanal Q., 33:605.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychoanalytic Review. L, 1963: The Thinking of the Body. Kenneth Burke. Pp. 375-413.

(1964). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 33:605

Psychoanalytic Review. L, 1963: The Thinking of the Body. Kenneth Burke. Pp. 375-413.

This lengthy and erudite article documents the interchangeability of the various body areas alluded to in the works of Lewis Carroll, Wagner, Flaubert, Aeschylus, and the author's own poems. Burke describes the anal-oral reversibility in Alice in Wonderland, and suggests that the 'first wrong' in the Ring legend of Wagner is playing with feces (gold) by the mist-people, which led to the eventual downfall of the gods. In both Wagner and Flaubert, power is linked to anality. Freud is quoted in regard to the Promethean myth being understood as the extinguishing of sexual fire. The author adds that the myth also has to do with the injunction against urinating in or on sacred places or on dead bodies. By using the device of reading with a double entendre in mind, he sees the 'pure' poetry of Mallarmé as continually concerned with euphemisms for the modes of bodily catharsis. Burke discovered in hindsight that one of his own sonnets on Atlantis had the fecal imagery that he became aware of in other authors.

Burke compares, as others have done, Freud's stress upon the 'wishes' of the unconscious to the philosophy of Schopenhauer about the Will, and demonstrates that Schopenhauer explicitly equated life with sexual and nutritive appetites and death with bodily excretion. He suggests that the death instinct be renamed the 'excretion instinct'.

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Article Citation

(1964). Psychoanalytic Review. L, 1963. Psychoanal. Q., 33:605

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