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Silverberg, W.V. (1950). Hamlet and Oedipus: By Ernest Jones. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1949. 166 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 19:590-592.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:590-592

Hamlet and Oedipus: By Ernest Jones. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1949. 166 pp.

Review by:
William V. Silverberg

Ernest Jones's long standing love-affair with the figure of Hamlet now reaches a culmination. Whether this ultimate wooing has been successful is for each reader of Hamlet and Jones to determine. As this reviewer had occasion to record recently (this QUARTERLY, XVIII, 1949, pp. 85–87), he first laid siege to the heart of the Hamlet enigma in 1910, following a lead given by Freud in a footnote to the Traumdeutung. Since that date he has found frequent occasion to reprint and revise his original study in a variety of forms and languages. The present version differs from all the rest in that it is considerably extended and deepened: it has now the character and proportions of a monograph rather than an article.

In some senses it is a new work, and even those thoroughly familiar with any or all of the previous versions will fell well-rewarded by reading the study in its present form. The core of it is the same—an elaboration of Freud's hypothesis that Hamlet's reluctance to perform the task of vengeance springs from a repressed Oedipal conflict and the consequent identification with the man whom it is his duty to kill. But the wider scope afforded by devoting an entire volume to his subject permits the author to make this thesis more thoroughly convincing than ever before: it allows him to extend his argument into much greater detail and it enables him to anticipate and to answer more fully the objections that might be raised against it.

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