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Waldhorn, H.F. (1950). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 19:622-623.
(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:622-623
Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society
Herbert F. Waldhorn
Dr. Gregory Zilboorg read a tribute to the late Dr. Adolf Meyer, an honorary member of the Society.
May 16, 1950. A DREAM, A VISION, AND A POEM: PSYCHOANALYTIC STUDY OF THE ORIGINS OF THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER. David Beres, M.D.
Dr. Beres proposes to search out some features of the unconsciousmotivation of the creation of this poem by treating it as an overdetermined fantasy, to be viewed in relation to the life history of the artist. The theme of the poem is crime, punishment, repentance, and absolution through expiation. Its peculiar origin as the combined idea of Coleridge and Wordsworth is attributed to their common preoccupation with a specific form of guilt caused by the destruction or rejection of a love object, for Coleridge, the mother, for Wordsworth, a mistress.
Study of Coleridge's life, letters, and works reveals him to be an oral character whose feeling of being unloved was expressed in a never satisfied, everdemanding search for warmth, love, and food. His recurrent fantasies of satiation by oral incorporation, his financial dependence and optimistic reliance on being fed, his voracious reading, the basic infantile needs revealed in his troubled relationships with women, his addiction, and sleep disturbances all substantiate the oral fixation. Dr. Beres therefore assumes that Coleridge's unconscious infantile hatred and murderous impulses against his mother were the primal source of his overpowering guilt. This is mirrored in the poem by the central crime of the killing of the albatross.
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