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Eder, M.D. (1931). Love in the Machine Age: By Floyd Dell. (London: George Routledge & Sons, Ltd., 1930. Pp. 436. Price 12 s. 6 d. net.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 12:243-244.
(1931). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 12:243-244
Love in the Machine Age: By Floyd Dell. (London: George Routledge & Sons, Ltd., 1930. Pp. 436. Price 12 s. 6 d. net.)
Review by: M. D. Eder
The sub-title describes this book as a psychological study of the transition stage from Patriarchal Society. Mr. Floyd Dell, a well-known novelist and essayist, gives us in this book not only a penetrating and fearless analysis of the institutions of present-day society, but of the attitude both of the conservative and revolting elements of that Society. Both attitudes Mr. Dell points out as having their origin in an immature sexual outlook, but his critique of these institutions is established upon a very vivid realization of the Freudian unconscious.
The thesis is that civilized man has industrially reached a stage of greater development than that of his institutions. Mr. Dell calls the former the machine age and the latter the patriarchal age. His patriarchal stage corresponds roughly with the psycho-analytic phallicstage of individual development; Mr. Dell regards civilized man as in transition from the patriarchal (phallic) to the adult (or genital) stage. The characteristics of the patriarchal (or phallic) stage are described with illumination, wit and understanding. Among these characteristics are 'purity' in its Victorian extravagance, 'impurity' in its Georgian significance, or what Mr. Dell terms 'polite adultery' involving a 'tacit or express agreement' that extra-marital sexual relationships are 'not to be taken seriously'.
The author as novelist recognizes the disaster impending upon his craft when the transit has been made, since imaginative literature has a vested interest in adulterous love and a traditional duty of defending it against current morality and law.
Other characteristics of the phallic or patriarchal stage are: arranged marriage, homosexuality, prostitution and sacred celibacy. These are all dealt with from the point of view of obstacles to heterosexual development to genital sex; they are failures in adjustment to reality.
It is contended that the unconventional sexual freedom often regarded as modern and enlightened, and for which the blessings of science are petitioned, are merely patriarchal (phallic) conventions, conventions in the main designed to preserve patriarchal institutions.
This critique of 'us moderns' is, Mr.
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