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(1977). Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. XXXIX, 1975: Swinburne's Masochism: Neuropathology and Psychopathology. William B. Ober. Pp. 500-555.. Psychoanal Q., 46:344.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. XXXIX, 1975: Swinburne's Masochism: Neuropathology and Psychopathology. William B. Ober. Pp. 500-555.

(1977). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 46:344

Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. XXXIX, 1975: Swinburne's Masochism: Neuropathology and Psychopathology. William B. Ober. Pp. 500-555.

Ober's thesis is that Swinburne's well known position in the history of English flagellatory and sadomasochistic verse was an outgrowth of psychopathology that was an overlay upon a neuropathological root, anoxic brain damage incurred at birth. Evidence that Swinburne suffered brain damage includes his hyperkinetic behavior, dysgraphia, and choreiform movements and tics, as well as signs of arrested hydrocephalus. His parents, second cousins, had six children, only one of whom ever married. Swinburne passed most of his formative years in a menage of women, four younger sisters and a female cousin, Mary Gordon. He withdrew from preparatory school at Eton in spite of excellent academic progress, possibly because the masters recognized his erotic response to flagellation. His later masochism, in part a defense against unconscious homosexual wishes, oscillated between being beaten by males in fantasy and by females in fact. He identified almost exclusively with the passive masochistic role in both fantasy and fact, seeking out beatings by female prostitutes in a flagellation brothel; yet he was impotent. The etiological factors in the early parent-child interactions which led to the formation of his flagellatory fantasies remain unknown.

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Article Citation

(1977). Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. XXXIX, 1975. Psychoanal. Q., 46:344

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