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Flügel, J.C. (1929). Clothes Symbolism and Clothes Ambivalence. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 10:205-217.

(1929). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 10:205-217

Clothes Symbolism and Clothes Ambivalence

J. C. Flügel

It would seem only proper that some part of this special number of the JOURNAL should be devoted to symbolism; for Ernest Jones' own contributions to this subject display in a very typical manner the qualities of keen insight, deep erudition, minute study of detail and clarity of thought and exposition—precious qualities which, when present in a high degree, are all too rarely found together, but which are combined to a remarkable extent in the work of our friend and colleague whom we here desire to honour, and which indeed, through their combination, may be said to constitute the distinguishing characteristic of his scientific writings. It would, however, in any case be almost impossible to avoid touching upon the subject in some way or another, for, as Jones has himself said, symbolism in its widest sense 'comprises almost the whole development of civilization'. But it is not of symbolism in general that I here desire to speak; the masterly exposition of this subject which Jones himself gave to the world thirteen years ago still stands as the supreme accomplishment in this direction. I intend rather to confine myself to the symbolic aspect of one particular class of objects—the various articles of human clothing. A number of psycho-analysts, again including Jones himself, have already made valuable isolated contributions to our knowledge of the symbolic significance of particular garments; but the time has perhaps come when it is worth while to attempt a brief survey of what we know of the symbolism of clothing as a whole, especially as this symbolism would appear to be connected with certain interesting tendencies to conflict and ambivalence which have not yet found a fully adequate description in psycho-analytic literature.

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