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Reid, S. (1963). The Beast in the Jungle and A Painful Case: Two Different Sufferings. Am. Imago, 20(3):221-239.

(1963). American Imago, 20(3):221-239

The Beast in the Jungle and A Painful Case: Two Different Sufferings

Stephen Reid

There lives not one single man after all who is not to some extent in despair, in whose inmost parts there does not dwell a disquietude, a perturbation, a discord, an anxious dread of an unknown something, or of something he does not even dare to make acquaintance with, dread of a possibility of life, or dread of himself, so that, after all, as physicians speak of a man going about with a disease in him, this man is going about carrying a sickness of the spirit, which only rarely and in glimpses, by and with a dread which to him is inexplicable, gives evidence of its presence within.

Soren Kierkegaard

We will generally distinguish between the personal suffering which is inflicted from the outside and the personal suffering which has its origin in the psychological conditions of the individual. These two are frequently connected, but in their grosser forms—natural calamities, war, social injustice in the first case, and morbid states of mind in the second—they are different. Literature in the twentieth century is a literature of personal suffering, and in most of the formulations by which we try to grasp this fact, this difference is blurred. It has, of necessity, to be blurred. For, while the ultimate realization of suffering in our major documents is of its internal and incurable nature, the wide instance of the suffering requires us to assume certain conditions of life in the twentieth century to be determining causes.

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