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Rycroft, C. (1956). Swift and Carroll. A Psychoanalytic Study of Two Lives: By Phyllis Greenacre, M.D. (New York: International Universities Press, 1955. Pp. 306. $5.00.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 37:508-509.

(1956). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 37:508-509

Swift and Carroll. A Psychoanalytic Study of Two Lives: By Phyllis Greenacre, M.D. (New York: International Universities Press, 1955. Pp. 306. $5.00.)

Review by:
Charles Rycroft

In her Introduction Dr. Greenacre tells us that she was originally led to undertake this study of Swift and Carroll by certain observations she made while analysing fetishists. 'I came to the conclusion, ' she writes, 'that fetishism, and perhaps other perversions of emotional development, occurred in people who were constitutionally active and strong, but subject at certain critical periods in early life to external stresses of a nature which upset the integrity of the self-perception and the assimilation of the sensations of their own bodies. In other words, the body image becomes impaired; and the fetishistic perversion is an (unconsciously determined) attempt to stabilize this in such a way as to increase the capacity to utilize inherent aggressive and sexual drives rather than to be prematurely destroyed by them. One way in which this impairment of secure self-awareness of the body appeared was in disturbed subjective sensations of changing size of the total body or of certain body parts. … When it occurred to me that the two great classics, Gulliver's Travels and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, presented through Gulliver and Alice exactly those sensations of which my patients complained, I determined to study the life stories of the two authors to see the relation of their lives and characters to the production of these remarkable fantasies.' However, the significance of Swift and Carroll does not only depend on the fact that they elaborated into works of art phantasies which are based on sensations of changing body size; they were also satirists, parodists and writers of nonsense, while Swift was an active politician and Carroll a pioneer photographer.

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