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Fenichel, O. (1943). ber Kinderbücher Und Ihre Funktion in Latenz Und Vorpubertät. (The Function of Children's Books in Latency and Prepuberty Periods.): Kate Friedländer. Int. Ztschr. f. Psa. u. Imago, XXVI, 1941, pp. 232–252.. Psychoanal Q., 12:588-589.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: ber Kinderbücher Und Ihre Funktion in Latenz Und Vorpubertät. (The Function of Children's Books in Latency and Prepuberty Periods.): Kate Friedländer. Int. Ztschr. f. Psa. u. Imago, XXVI, 1941, pp. 232–252.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 12:588-589

ber Kinderbücher Und Ihre Funktion in Latenz Und Vorpubertät. (The Function of Children's Books in Latency and Prepuberty Periods.): Kate Friedländer. Int. Ztschr. f. Psa. u. Imago, XXVI, 1941, pp. 232–252.

Otto Fenichel

With regard to the reading of children at the age of latency and prepuberty, the same facts hold true which have been demonstrated in the reading of smaller children. Children when reading are not looking for increased knowledge or for 'literary values' but for instinctual satisfactions and for the reduction of anxieties. However, since the instinctual structure in latency and prepuberty (in our society) is very different from the instinctual structure of little children, what is expected of books is accordingly different. The books which are most popular in the latency period show 'a few universal fantasies and defense mechanisms which are characteristic of the development of the child at this age', namely: 'family romance', an obviously unsexual elaboration of Oedipus wishes (very often the child hero of the books has to substitute a dead

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parent), 'denial in fantasy', and high demands of the ego ideal. The books which are more popular among thirteen-year-old children as they enter prepuberty, again show a franker instinctual character: adventure stories (rivalry and the homosexual relationship of the son hero to the father), elaborations of the penis envy in girls' books, etc.

Educators often develop a similar attitude towards the passionate reading of children as towards their masturbation—they unconsciously recognize the factual relationship. Also the children themselves, after having made progress in their mental development, look back with contempt on what they read enthusiastically only a short time ago. The books evoke 'attraction as long as the emotional content is adequate, and contempt as soon as this emotional phase has been overcome'.

Adults who read passionately and continuously (or who develop neurotic inhibitions of reading) often still show the original instinctual function of reading very obviously. If the reading cannot serve as 'masturbation equivalent', disturbances of concentration occur.

The author tries to draw a few general pedagogical conclusions from these observations. If educators forbid reading, the effects are similar to the effects of the prohibition of masturbation. It is not necessary to subdivide all books into those which are pleasurable for the child himself and those which are desirable from an educational point of view. Syntheses are possible: 'It will be possible to give the children a book which is pleasurable enough still to be read and simultaneously satisfies the demands of education'. As an example, Kate Friedländer discusses Kästner's Emil und die Detektive. 'In consideration of the child's impulses for reading, it will be most purposeful to let the child follow his inclinations, and simultaneously to offer him books which contain the fantasies which correspond to the child's phase of development, but include educational and artistic values.'

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Article Citation

Fenichel, O. (1943). ber Kinderbücher Und Ihre Funktion in Latenz Und Vorpubertät. (The Function of Children's Books in Latency and Prepuberty Periods.). Psychoanal. Q., 12:588-589

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