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Biernoff, J. (1949). Psychiatric Quarterly. XXII, 1948: The Song of the Sirens. Geza Róheim. Pp. 18–44.. Psychoanal Q., 18:263.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychiatric Quarterly. XXII, 1948: The Song of the Sirens. Geza Róheim. Pp. 18–44.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:263

Psychiatric Quarterly. XXII, 1948: The Song of the Sirens. Geza Róheim. Pp. 18–44.

Joseph Biernoff

The universal folk tale of the Siren is traced to the dream experiences of the race. Róheim supplies an abundance of anthropological and psychoanalytical references. The water motif is derived from physiological bladder pressure and a wish to urinate during sleep. This leads to erotic feelings. The dream regression takes the dreamer back to the primal scene. Anxiety transforms coitus into a nightmare with the dreamer in a passive rôle. The song of the Siren is both the mother's lullaby and the noise of the primal scene. Forbidden voyeuristic elements related to the mother's breasts, vagina or imagined penis enter the picture. The phallic mother is visualized usually as a water spirit with a fish's tail (penis) or a bird with claws. Father appears as a water bull or horse. The lure of the Siren is the wish to regress to childhood and mother. The symbolism is overdetermined.

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Article Citation

Biernoff, J. (1949). Psychiatric Quarterly. XXII, 1948. Psychoanal. Q., 18:263

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