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Meyer, B.C. (1964). Psychoanalytic Studies on Joseph Conrad—I. the Family Romance. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 12:32-58.

(1964). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 12:32-58

Psychoanalytic Studies on Joseph Conrad—I. the Family Romance

Bernard C. Meyer, M.D.

Fair Portia's counterfeit!

What demi-god hath come so near creation?

Merchant of Venice

IN HIS CLASSIC paper "The Image of the Artist: A Psychological Study of the Role of Tradition in Ancient Biographies, " Ernst Kris (15) called attention to a specific pattern of the family romance, which over many different epochs in the history of art, including the present day, has reappeared as authentic biography of the artist. According to this formula, the future artist is represented as an obscure poor child, often a shepherd boy, whose creative gifts are discovered accidently by an established master, who subsequently becomes the child's sponsor and protector. At a Memorial Meeting for Ernst Kris in 1957 Greenacre (11) presented a paper demonstrating the application of these observations on the family romance to five celebrated men, one of whom, the explorer and nearly perennial rescuer, Henry Morton Stanley, apparently played an important if unwitting role in a family romance fantasy of Joseph Conrad, the subject of this presentation.


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