Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To access “The Standard Edition” of Freud’s work…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

You can directly access Strachey’s The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud through the Books tab on the left side of the PEP-Web screen.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Kavka, J. (1975). Oscar Wilde's Narcissism. Ann. Psychoanal., 3:397-408.

(1975). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 3:397-408

VII Applied Psychoanalysis

Oscar Wilde's Narcissism

Jerome Kavka, M.D.

To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.

Oscar Wilde, Epigrams

Most of us have been touched by the literary giant, Oscar Wilde: by his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, by his plays, or, more commonly, by his many witty and often profound epigrams, which have crept into our daily speech.

Psychoanalysts, in their applied analytic work, have often been accused of that state of cynicism which, in Wilde's words, “knows the price of everything and the value of nothing” (1890, p. 47). We should remember, however, that Wilde welcomed criticism, engaged in it, and was interested in it as a serious art form (Ellmann, 1968; Weintraub, 1968). With characteristic humor, he said, “To give an accurate description of what has never occurred is not merely the proper occupation of the historian, but the inalienable privilege of any man of parts and culture” (1894, p. 197). With this warning from the subject himself about the limitations of pathography, I venture on this Wild[e] analysis.

Biographies of Wilde tend to be passionate and partisan, often revolving around accusations or disavowals of his homosexuality. He was a colorful personality, and his life is in many ways as interesting as his literary work. Wilde's obvious characterological pathology, his flamboyant behavioral paradoxes, beg psychological investigation.


[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.