Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To search for a specific phrase…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Did you write an article’s title and the article did not appear in the search results? Or do you want to find a specific phrase within the article? Go to the Search section and write the title or phrase surrounded by quotations marks in the “Search for Words or Phrases in Context” area.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Timms, E. (1991). Freud and Oedipus: By Peter L. Rudnytsky. New York: Columbia University Press. 1987. Pp. 416.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 18:570-572.

(1991). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 18:570-572

Freud and Oedipus: By Peter L. Rudnytsky. New York: Columbia University Press. 1987. Pp. 416.

Review by:
Edward Timms

This ambitious work seeks to situate the theory of the Oedipus complex within an intellectual tradition which extends from the revival of classical themes in the work of Lessing and Winckelmann through to the Marxist oriented critique of Deleuze and Guattari. Rudnytsky's impressive range of reference enables him to analyse the fascination exerted by Sophocles'Oedipus the King on a pantheon of celebrated authors and aesthetic theorists, including Schiller, Schelling, Hölderlin, Kleist, Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger. He also analyses the implications of this debate for late twentieth-century critical theory, including structuralism and anti-psychiatry. As a result his book abounds in challenging lines of argument, both for psychoanalysts and for cultural historians.

The value of this approach depends on the assumption that Freudian theory needs to be related to a nineteenth-century intellectual tradition if we are to understand the centrality of the Oedipus complex. When the German Romantics rebelled against Seneca and French neo-classicism and asserted the primacy of Oedipus the King, they inaugurated the 'age of Oedipus' (p. x). Rudnytsky argues that nineteenth-century German literature and thought were pervaded by 'a veritable obsession with the Oedipus myth' (p. 96). Freud was a relative late-comer in a 'hermeneutic tradition of self-reflection' (p. xi), which culminated in the work of Nietzsche. His insight into his own neurosis enabled him to transform what had hitherto been a philosophical debate into a psychologically grounded theory of conflict and attachment.

[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.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.