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Richards, A.R. (1947). The Eternal Ones of the Dream: By Géza Róheim. (Published by The International Universities Press, New York, 1945. Pp. xiv + 270. Price $4.50.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 28:51-52.

(1947). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 28:51-52

The Eternal Ones of the Dream: By Géza Róheim. (Published by The International Universities Press, New York, 1945. Pp. xiv + 270. Price $4.50.)

Review by:
Audrey R. Richards

Róheim's first book on Australian totemism published in 1929 was based on an analysis of written material. Since that date he has himself done a period of field work and published some results, and new and more detailed accounts of the cultures of a number of Australian tribes have appeared. The present book is described as 'a new "Australian Totemism"'. It contains accounts of some of the ceremonies Róheim witnessed himself, together with references to the new anthropological material. It also gives a far more definite and conclusive formulation of his original theory. Suggestions that were hardly more than hints in the first book become definite hypotheses in the present one.

This theory is briefly summarized by Róheim like this: 'Totemism as a social institution is a defence organized against the separation anxiety. As a religion it represents the genitalization of the separation period and the restitution that follows destructive trends. As an aid to man in his struggle with internal and external difficulties it is a balancing apparatus consisting of a series of introjections and projections. Finally, in its mythical form, it represents the wanderings of human beings from the cradle to the grave in a web of daydreams. It represents our efforts to deal with the problem of growing up, aided by the illusion of an eternal future.'

The 'Eternal Ones of the Dream' are the two culture heroes who are represented as originating totemic ceremonies, and particularly initiation ceremonies, and as setting up the tjurunga pole 'which symbolizes both the male and the female genital organ, the primal scene and combined parent concept, the father and the mother, separation and reunion, the trauma and the reaction to the trauma, the conservative and the progressive aspects of the libido, represents both the path and the goal'.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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