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Berner, F. (1947). 'On the Psychology of Detective Stories and Related Problems.': Leopold Bellak.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 28:48.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: 'On the Psychology of Detective Stories and Related Problems.': Leopold Bellak.

(1947). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 28:48

'On the Psychology of Detective Stories and Related Problems.': Leopold Bellak.

Frank Berner

Psychoanalytic Review, 1945, Vol. XXXII, No. 4, pp. 403–407.

The general structure of detective stories consists of a crime being committed; the criminal and certain aspects of the crime are mysterious; a celebrated detective is on the trail and brings about an end which has the qualities of surprise and satisfaction. Two factors are important in the psychological nature of the detective story. (1) Content of the subject matter. The criminal and aggressive proceedings permit a phantasy gratification of Id impulses through identification with the criminal. This can be done with safety, because the reader in the end identifies himself with the detective—the Super-Ego is satisfied that detection and punishment will follow. (2) Structure of the detective story. Tension and anxiety are skilfully increased and then suddenly reduced. Reading detective stories is an activity which supplies tension artificially and promises a prompt reduction. Some of the pleasure derives from the anticipation of tension reduction.

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Article Citation

Berner, F. (1947). 'On the Psychology of Detective Stories and Related Problems.'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 28:48

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