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Pederson-Krag, G. (1950). The Life and Works of Edgar Allan Poe. A Psychoanalytic Interpretation: By Marie Bonaparte. London: Imago Publishing Co., Ltd., 1949. 749 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 19:586-590.
(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:586-590
The Life and Works of Edgar Allan Poe. A Psychoanalytic Interpretation: By Marie Bonaparte. London: Imago Publishing Co., Ltd., 1949. 749 pp.
Review by: Geraldine Pederson-Krag
An analyst, conning his patient's life in hour-long fragments, may be likened to someone who diagnoses microscopic slides with an intermittent spotlight. The patient's preanalytic yesterdays are dark, except for the flickering illumination of his memories. Speculation as to his postanalytic future is blurred by the analyst's feelings about his own therapeutic efforts. How much easier for the analytic student to comprehend is a life in its entirety, the end seen as clearly as the beginning, where the records of actual happenings can be read with the associations these happenings evoked. All that is needed is confidence in the honesty and scholarship of the records on which the study is based. Such confidence can be placed in this book since the author has used an authoritative biography of Edgar Allan Poe, Israfel, by Hervey Allen, for her account of actual events, while Poe's own writings, skilfully edited, offer the associative material.
We find that in Poe's childhood and adolescence there was repetition of the same circumstances: much change of scene, poverty, a rejecting father, and a loving mother overcome by chronic illness. The elflike actress, Elizabeth Poe, lay dying of consumption in meager lodgings where her three children, Henry, Edgar, and the baby, Rosalie, played. Their father, David Poe, had left them in want, and perhaps a lover of Elizabeth's played the same rejecting role afterwards. When the mother died in 1811, the two-year-old Edgar was adopted by a Mr.
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