Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To view citations for the most cited journals…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Statistics of the number of citations for the Most Cited Journal Articles on PEP Web can be reviewed by clicking on the “See full statistics…” link located at the end of the Most Cited Journal Articles list in the PEP tab.


For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Sperber, M.A. (1969). Albert Camus: Camus' the Fall: The Icarus Complex. Am. Imago, 26(3):269-280.

(1969). American Imago, 26(3):269-280

Albert Camus: Camus' the Fall: The Icarus Complex

Michael A. Sperber, M.D.

The Icarus complex consists of a cluster of interrelated variables of personality which were first described by Henry A. Murray. It was named after Icarus, despite the fact that some significant components of the syndrome do not appear in the character of Icarus as the legend is recounted by Ovid. Murray defined the Icarus complex as a compound of: (1) cynosural narcissism, (2) ascensionism combined with (3) the prospection of falling, (4) the cathection of fire and, if enuresis or incontinence persisted in childhood, with (5) an abundance of water imagery. As a consequence of this complex, one often finds (6) a craving for immortality (reascension) as well as (7) a conception of woman as an object to be used for narcissistic gains.

The paper examines Jean-Baptiste Clamence, the hero of Camus' The Fall, in the light of the syndrome proposed by Murray. It is hoped that certain puzzling metaphors and the unusual juxtapositions of Camus' novel may be clarified by applying Murray's designations, and thereby enhance our understanding of the wholeness of imaginative conception of Camus as a writer.

Icarian Imagery: Ascensionism and the Prospection of Falling

Murray's concept of corporeal ascensionism refers to an extravagant human disposition to overcome gravity: a child's desire to stand erect, to walk without support, etc. It can be expressed in fantasies of rising, flying, or floating in the air.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2019, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.