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Dervin, D.A. (1976). Breast Fantasy in Barthelme, Swift, and Philip Roth: Creativity and Psychoanalytic Structure. Am. Imago, 33(1):102-122.

(1976). American Imago, 33(1):102-122

Breast Fantasy in Barthelme, Swift, and Philip Roth: Creativity and Psychoanalytic Structure

Daniel A. Dervin, Ph.D.

Although the interplay between fantasy and art has a well-established psychoanalytic tradition from Freud's 1908 paper on “The Relation of the Poet to Daydreaming” to later investigations by Rank (24), Kris (18), Greenacre (14), Holland (15), Eissler (10, 11), Ehrenzweig (9) and others (11a, 13a) (29), creativity still remains an ambiguous problem. True, fantasy has shed its earlier onus as part of a reality-denying mechanism and been accorded vital adaptive functions for the ego; nonetheless the creative drive can lead the artist to an identity other than that currently maligned but stubbornly held ideal of genital primacy. Creative adaptations of fantasies, which are considered early (infantile) instinctual representations, may just as easily substitute for an assist in what we call the processes of normal development. But if one still cannot find general agreement that creative adaptation has shaken loose the shackles of pathology, at least the earlier patronizing gestures (Dostoevsky is a great psychologist) along with the efforts to appropriate art as corroborator of the unconscious have diminished. And those factitious debates between Art and Neurosis have also pretty much been laid to rest. From the amount of serious attention in recent years, a measure of advance in understanding has been forthcoming.

* “This idea is still around today,” writes Charles Rycroft, “despite Freud's belated disapproval of it in 1928, when he wrote, ‘Before the problem of the creative analysis must lay down its arms.

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