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Norris, K.A. (1925). Varia. Psychoanal. Rev., 12(4):483-487.

(1925). Psychoanalytic Review, 12(4):483-487


Katharine A. Norris

While reviewing the paper of Freud upon the“Passing of the Oedipus Complex” in the International Journal of Psycho-Analysis (Vol. V, No. 4), and especially at the point, page 423, where he speaks of the Oedipus complex as being simpler in the girl, I am tempted to offer a suggestion concerning this“simpler” phase which I formulated some ten years ago but have never published. It concerns, as roughly worked out, the phyletic aspects of this“simplicity,” and briefly stated is that biologically the disastrous effects for libido cathexis in the union with a father imago as well as actual father can never be as pronounced as those that result in the case of the boy in libido cathexis of the mother or mother imago. Thus a man of from 50-100 may unite with a woman (daughter imago) under 50 and the race would continue (see Lot's daughters myth), whereas a woman of from 50-100 uniting with a man (son imago) under 50 would result in sterility. Hence a fundamental difference phylogenetically in the breaking through the incest taboo of the boy and the girl. Another hard nut for the feminist equality“masculinity complex” to crack. This situation is too obvious not to have been published, but it seems to bear directly upon the problem with which Freud deals in this paper on the differences in the working out of the Oedipus complex. Hence the taboo is distinctly greater for the son-mother than the daughter-father situation.

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