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Ritvo, S. (2007). Kafka's “Letter to his Father” and “The Judgment”: Creativity and Conflicts of Aggression. Psychoanal. St. Child, 62:317-328.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 62:317-328

Adult Development

Kafka's “Letter to his Father” and “The Judgment”: Creativity and Conflicts of Aggression

Samuel Ritvo, M.D.

Kafka wrote “Letter to His Father” at the height of his conflict over marrying, which would be taking the parricidal step of equaling or surpassing his father. The conflicts of aggression took the form of selfblame and guilt while inflicting upon his father the behavior his father disliked and turning the aggression on himself in his guilt and victimhood. Writing was his escape, and he could not risk it in the unpredictable vicissitudes of marriage. In “The Judgment” Kafka creates a total reversal of the father-son relationship but he cannot maintain it. The guilt prevails and the overthrow of the father is punished by death.

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