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Simon, B. (1975). The Hero as an Only Child: An Unconscious Fantasy Structuring Homer's Odyssey. a Reply to the Discussion by Leonard Shengold. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 56:377-377.

(1975). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 56:377-377

The Hero as an Only Child: An Unconscious Fantasy Structuring Homer's Odyssey. a Reply to the Discussion by Leonard Shengold Related Papers

Bennett Simon

Dr Shengold's thoughtful discussion (1974) raises a number of important points about my paper (Simon, 1974). I welcome both the points that indicate some disagreement as well as those that offer interesting ways of elaborating on my material.

His main point of disagreement seems to be over the issue of how central to the poem is this particular fantasy construction. He is correct in arguing (p. 563) that the Odyssey is a poem of large scope, dealing with numerous life situations, stages of life, and registering a number of fantasies and intrapsychic states. How can we decide whether the construction I propose is merely one of many, or is an important one, or is the central one. I have no definitive answer, and can only reiterate that this construction ties together more themes, episodes and imagery than other constructions in the literature, or that I have tried to devise. I have tried to demonstrate that anal imagery is relatively less prominent in this poem, that is by comparison with the Aeneid and with the Hellenistic epic, the Argonautica. Preliminary 'image counts' tend to confirm my impression, but I have not found a simple way to document this at this time.

This touches on one of the thorniest problems in applied psychoanalysis, one that also besets clinical psychoanalysis. In the clinical situation we know that particular interpretations are very much tied to the particular analyst–patient dyad. Yet we know that despite a great variability in kind and style of interpretation that the whole matter is not completely arbitrary.

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