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Farnell, F.J. (1920). Erotism as Portrayed in Literature. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 1:396-413.

(1920). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 1:396-413

Erotism as Portrayed in Literature

Frederic J. Farnell

"It is in and through symbols that man, consciously or unconsciously, lives, works, and has his being; those ages, moreover, are accounted the noblest which can the best recognize symbolical worth and prize it the highest".

The old saying, "Tell me what you read and I will tell you what you are", is surely a truism. The creative instincts of the growing boy, the adoration and effectiveness of the pubescent girl, are oftentimes their feelings kept buried through their reading matter. And yet, what is it in their reading which keeps these tastes and feelings alive? Is it not the word symbolization which speaks to the unconscious life, or better, in reality the author's unconscious life speaking to our unconscious life?

The fact that authors reveal more than they intend and that that which is revealed is an objective product directly related to the life of the writer is a factor of recognized psychological determination. Instead of literature being flooded with foolish, meaningless and purposeless verse or prose, which is the written expression of the literary man, it can be demonstrated that no expression, however trifling it may appear on the surface is unmotivated.

The general attitude of people is to recognize poetry and the novel as a beautiful piece of material, probably portraying a wonderful character or a well worked out plot, just as they do a piece of statuary or a picture, that is, they are satisfied with the surface when the real genuine value of the poem or the novel is the interpretation of the writer's own feelings.

The feelings of the writer are the sum total of his reading, his early education, his contact with others in this world, his fortunes and misfortunes, his parental relations and influences, his infantile repressions, youthful love affairs and such problems which have entered into his inner life. Hence all this will tend to influence his productions, colored and directed by his ideas and emotions.

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