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(1936). General: J. C. Flügel. 'The Tannhäuser Motif.' British Journal of Medical Psychology, 1936, Vol. XV, Pt. 4, pp. 279–295.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 17:512.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: General: J. C. Flügel. 'The Tannhäuser Motif.' British Journal of Medical Psychology, 1936, Vol. XV, Pt. 4, pp. 279–295.

(1936). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 17:512

General: J. C. Flügel. 'The Tannhäuser Motif.' British Journal of Medical Psychology, 1936, Vol. XV, Pt. 4, pp. 279–295.

1. The Tannhäuser motif, which represents a triangular situation between two women and one man, is met with less often than the usual Oedipus motif of two men and one woman.

2. When encountered, it does not usually correspond to the feminine Oedipus or Electra complex, but is stated from the masculine point of view.

3. From such a point of view it may represent a conflict between attraction to two sisters or between wife and daughter, though in the latter case the transference from wife to daughter may be, so to speak, only a further step in the process that led to the original transference from mother to wife.

4. The change of object may also involve a change in the nature of the love, e.g. (a) from that of tenderness and esteem to that of sensuality, though the object of sensual love need by no means always be looked upon as 'degraded' in the ordinary sense, (b) from a predominantly anaclitic to a predominantly narcissistic (and phallic) object-choice, in which connection beauty, as Wittels has recently suggested, may serve as a substitute for the phallus.

5. The concept of the mother with the penis and the equation of child and penis may serve as bridges between the anaclitic and narcissistic (phallic) types of object-choice.

6. Both the love-objects, however, are ultimately one, since both derive from the mother, though in some cases the process of displacement may be more complete and permanent (and perhaps also more free from the sense of guilt or infidelity) than others.

7. A common type of Tannhäuser motif appears to represent a conflict between object-choice of a 'feminine' type and of a type that represents a fusion of the infantile over-valuation of a supposedly phallic mother with the narcissistic projection of certain elements of the lover's own personality.

Author's Abstract.

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Article Citation

(1936). General. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 17:512

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