Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To see translations of Freud SE or GW…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

When you hover your mouse over a paragraph of the Standard Edition (SE) long enough, the corresponding text from Gesammelte Werke slides from the bottom of the PEP-Web window, and vice versa.

If the slide up window bothers you, you can turn it off by checking the box “Turn off Translations” in the slide-up. But if you’ve turned it off, how do you turn it back on? The option to turn off the translations only is effective for the current session (it uses a stored cookie in your browser). So the easiest way to turn it back on again is to close your browser (all open windows), and reopen it.

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

Caruth, E. (1994). Fables as Psychoanalytic Metaphors. Ann. Psychoanal., 22:225-237.

(1994). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 22:225-237

Fables as Psychoanalytic Metaphors

Elaine Caruth

The fable has long been treated as a kind of stepchild within the broader discipline of folklore where from the beginning it was not distinguished as a separate genre. Thus Vico (1752), who was the first to propose a science of human society that included the study of folklore, believed “that the first science to be learned should be mythology or the interpretation of fable; for as we shall see all the histories of the gentiles have their beginnings in fables” (Hawkes, 1977, p. 12).

One is reminded of Freud's dictum 174 years later (1926) concerning the importance of the study of mythology in the training of young psychoanalysts. The myth and the fairy tale have consistently generated a greater interest and study than the fable. Psychoanalysts' neglect of fable as a genre with its own unique characteristics may be attributed to their interest in the myth's stronger affinity with unconscious and primary process levels of communication. There are some analytic writers, however, who have recognized the relatively idiosyncratic qualities of fables which distinguish them from other kinds of folk narratives. Bettelheim (1976), for example, described the fable as a cautionary tale that “by arousing anxiety, prevents us from acting in ways which are described as damaging to us …” (p. 38). This is in contrast to the oedipal myth, for example, which describes a situation that one can neither escape from nor avoid” (p. 38). Bettelheim (1976) also pointed out that the fable “always explicitly states a moral truth; there is no hidden meaning, nothing is left to our imagination” (pp. 42–43). Bettelheim suggested that the fable has less impact than the fairy tale, presenting only either-or choices that offer little or no potential for growth and development. Fables are brief, almost brutally realistic and to the point; their lessons are stated succinctly without room for equivocation or debate.

[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 © 2019, 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.