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Green, A. (1997). Letter. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 78:578.

(1997). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 78:578


André Green

Dear Sir,

I would like to thank Dr Sherwood Brown for his appreciation of my paper and for informing me of the existence of the ‘body shots’. If course, the symbolic significance of the navel is quite well known in psychoanalysis. The displacement from the vagina is clear enough but suggests a condensation between this organ, the mouth and the anus. Anyhow, it is also the consequence of the equivalent of a castration anxiety as it is the result of the cutting of the chord uniting baby and mother. Marie Delcourt has written extensively on the ‘navel of the world’ (L’oracle de Delphes. Paris: Éditions Payot, 1955), which was supposed to be located in the temple of Apollo in Delphi, whose sulphuric emanations were supposed to inspire the Pythia. This mythological complement to the psychoanalytic view is indispensable for the understanding of its meaning, with its obviously incestuous implications.


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