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Boehm, F. (1931). The History of the Oedipus Complex. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 12:431-451.

(1931). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 12:431-451

The History of the Oedipus Complex

Felix Boehm

The central discovery of psycho-analytical research is this: that all little children have sexual impulses and go through a phase of incestuous attachment to the parent of the sex opposite to their own and, further, that the ideas associated with these incestuous wishes persist in the unconscious throughout life. The main reason for the hostility at first encountered by psycho-analysis in educated circles was undoubtedly its advocacy of this doctrine. We hold that the reactions of the individual to these wishes of early childhood have a great influence upon the formation of his character and we trace many of his interests and his behaviour in life in various respects to the elaboration of these unconscious desires. We are convinced that in the unconscious every man cherishes a life-long wish for union with his mother and that he has an unconscious tendency to injure and remove by death all his rivals in relation to her: his brothers and, above all, his father. We discover by the psycho-analysis of female patients corresponding wishes in women, and use in both cases the expression 'the Oedipus Complex' as a comprehensive designation for these unconscious wishes. The doctrine of these unconscious wishes is one of the corner-stones of psycho-analytical theory.

1 Read before the Conference of the German Psycho-Analytical Society, Dresden, September 28, 1930.

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