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Meyer, B.C. (1983). Notes on Flying and Dying. Psychoanal Q., 52:327-352.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 52:327-352

Notes on Flying and Dying

Bernard C. Meyer, M.D.


Focused on selected details in the lives and creative works of Samuel Johnson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Houdini, this paper explores a seeming antinomy between claustrophobic annihilation and aviation. At first glance the latter appears as an antidote to the threat of entrapment and death. On a deeper level the distinction fades as the impression arises that in the examples cited, flying may represent an unconscious expression of a wish for death and ultimate reunion.

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