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Stade, G. (2000). An Indiscretion on Psychoanalytic Fiction. Changing Ideas In A Changing World: The Revolution in Psychoanalysis. Essays in Honour of Arnold Cooper, 223-226.

Stade, G. (2000). An Indiscretion on Psychoanalytic Fiction. Changing Ideas In A Changing World: The Revolution in Psychoanalysis. Essays in Honour of Arnold Cooper, 223-226

An Indiscretion on Psychoanalytic Fiction Book Information Previous Up Next

George Stade, Ph.D.

I might as well confess from the outset that my interest in literature is a prurient interest and always has been. I began to read compulsively during my twelfth year, when I thought all women were as blank between the legs as the goddesses in the Classical wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I would spend hours mooning over those fine figures of women and then run home to read — as I now see it — in search of solutions to the problems posed by that uncanny blankness. If I had not discovered in Poe's stories a fascination in the verbal equivalent to my own state of mind — “… much of Madness and more of Sin, And Horror the Soul of the Plot” — to quote Poe (1843) himself; if I had not discovered in Huckleberry Finn the absorbing fable of innocent males escaping dreadful women only to become voyeurs; if I had not discovered in the jungle tales of Tarzan a model of manliness triumphant not by overcoming its animal nature but by succumbing to it, and along with that the pipe dream of a captive and goddess-like Jane who has no grounds for invidious comparisons, the only other males around being apes; if I had not discovered these works I might simply have joined the line for Dirty Francine instead of becoming a compulsive reader.

“Compulsive” is the word for it. I read anything with a plot, good, bad, or abominable, that I could steal from the paperback racks on old man Stephanovitch's candy store, and I read at a terrific rate of speed. A test I took my senior year in high school exposed me as someone who read faster then 99 percent of college freshmen, but did not reveal why. By the time I was myself a college freshman my morbid curiosity turned restlessly towards non-fiction, although that is not how I read it.

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