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Jekels, L. (1933). The Problem of the Duplicated Expression of Psychic Themes. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 14:300-309.

(1933). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 14:300-309

The Problem of the Duplicated Expression of Psychic Themes

Ludwig Jekels

First of all I must draw your attention to one blemish in this paper; its other shortcomings you will no doubt discover for yourselves. For reasons which you will presently gather, I have been obliged to incorporate in this essay an earlier study, supplementing it, to be sure, with such fresh conclusions as I have been able to reach. However, if you do happen to have read the former paper, you will certainly have forgotten it long ago and I must therefore repeat its outcome here. You will at least account it to me for righteousness that I have tried to spare you as far as possible, i.e. to present my results as concisely and clearly as I can.

Now to our subject. What I mean by a duplicated expression of a psychic theme is this: that both in the familiar field of dreams, neurosis and repeated parapraxes, and also in that of dramatic creation (so much further removed from our usual interests) there prevails a tendency to give a twofold expression to any important, or, as we may say, central psychic constellation, so that it appears in consciousness in two guises, which are generally quite different from one another.

In the first three compromise-formations named above the regularity and the stress of this twofold elaboration vary considerably, so that it can be observed only occasionally or fragmentarily. In drama, on the other hand, it is, I believe, a universal rule, to which there is no exception and which shows itself in an unmistakable way.

This characteristic of the drama first attracted my attention a good many years ago, when I was engaged on a psycho-analytical study of Macbeth. Here the twofold expression of the same theme struck me so forcibly that, even at that stage, I ventured to suggest that 'this juxtaposition of both a disguised and a more direct presentation of the leading theme may be a fundamental phenomenon in dramatic production'.

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