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Kuiper, P.C. (1968). Comment on the Paper by Drs Orgel and Shengold. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 49:383-385.

(1968). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 49:383-385

Comment on the Paper by Drs Orgel and Shengold

P. C. Kuiper

When the Programme Committee asked me to discuss the thought-provoking paper about the fatal gifts of Medea I accepted, after some hesitation, partly because the problem of gift-giving seemed to me interesting, but mainly because I became subject to the same fate as Jason's: I came under the spell of Medea, the daughter of the sun. To say that I fell in love with Medea is an exaggeration, but she is and remains a fascinating woman, and it is not without good reason that the gods took her back to their empire beyond the limits of our own existence.

I want to make four groups of short remarks: about analysis and literature; about the psychoanalytical interpretation of the legend of Medea, her deeds, her fate, and her character; about the clinical material; and, finally, a point of methodology. The relation of psychoanalysis and literature gives us some indication about the position of analysis as a form of systematic knowledge. Psychoanalysis uses the methods of thinking and forming concepts of the so-called exact sciences, as for instance physics and biology; but on the other hand the problem of interpretation is central, one of the essential problems in the so-called "Geisteswissenschaften", science of literature history, history of art, etc., a word that cannot be adequately translated into English. Psychoanalysis connects both groups of human knowledge and understanding and the problems involved remain a topic for methodological discussion.

From the beginning of psychoanalysis great figures of literature have been studied by the new method. For Freud's name will always be linked with Sophocles, and psychoanalysis is unthinkable without the discovery of the universal psychological meaning of the Oedipus complex.

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