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Hubback, C.J. (1923). Applied Psycho-Analysis: F. M. Cornford. The Unconscious Element in Literature and Philosophy. Proceedings of the Classical Association. 1922.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 4:180-181.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Applied Psycho-Analysis: F. M. Cornford. The Unconscious Element in Literature and Philosophy. Proceedings of the Classical Association. 1922.

(1923). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 4:180-181

Applied Psycho-Analysis: F. M. Cornford. The Unconscious Element in Literature and Philosophy. Proceedings of the Classical Association. 1922.

C. J.M. Hubback

An important theme handled in this paper is that of the universal meaning of the myth and its connection with the unconscious psychic layers. Mr. Cornford, whose contributions to the enquiries into the relations between prehistoric institutions and Greek culture are well-known, urges that ideas such as that of marriage with the Earth-mother, or 'participation in the barely personified life of all nature' (the Eniautos Daimon of Miss J. E. Harrison's researches), inevitably become 'enshrined in a continuous tradition of myth, legend, poetry' and remain also latent in human experience as a system of knowledge 'linked together by chords of association that vibrate without the interposition of rational, directed thinking.' Passing on to the results of psychoanalysis as they touch the humanistic studies, the writer argues with a convincing lucidity that the appeal of the myth (and therefore of the tragedy of which it is the kernel) lies in the fact that it, like the dream, symbolises 'the universal inner experience' that 'besets every new life that comes into the world to confront the task of adapting itself to what it finds there.' Hence 'a play like the Oedipus is not a stiff archaic monument of a bygone age but a living thing that shakes every fibre of our moral being'.

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The line of thought, it will be seen, is that worked out in psychoanalytic detail by Dr. O. Rank in his Mythenforschungen but its presentation by one of the most distinguished English exponents of Greek literature and thought cannot fail to be of much significance.

It is impossible here to do more than refer to that part of the paper that deals with the unconscious in philosophy. Mr. Cornford suggests that Anaximander's concept of the 'unlimited' (τò απειρου) worldstuff may have arisen from the unconscious mind of the philosopher himself, dimly aware of what Dr. Jung calls the 'collective unconscious' within him, and that with both may be connected the primitive image of Mana.

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Article Citation

Hubback, C.J. (1923). Applied Psycho-Analysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 4:180-181

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