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Biermann, J.S. (1962). Necrophilia in a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy. Psychoanal Q., 31:329-340.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 31:329-340

Necrophilia in a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy

Joseph S. Biermann, M.D.


A thirteen-year-old boy, following the death of his older sister, developed an intense preoccupation with becoming an undertaker, which is discussed as an 'undertaker game', a variant of the common 'doctor game' of childhood. The need to play undertaker is seen as an attempt to turn the traumatic passive experience of his sister's illness, death, and funeral into an experience he can actively control. Necrophilic, preoedipal determinants may be present in the successful adult choice of professions which involve the human body, but most probably are secondary ones, necessarily sublimated.

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