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Birger, D.M. (1984). The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, IX. 1981: Ms. Medusa: Transformation of a Bisexual Image. Laurie Schneider. Pp. 105-153.. Psychoanal Q., 53:489-490.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, IX. 1981: Ms. Medusa: Transformation of a Bisexual Image. Laurie Schneider. Pp. 105-153.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 53:489-490

The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, IX. 1981: Ms. Medusa: Transformation of a Bisexual Image. Laurie Schneider. Pp. 105-153.

Daniel M. Birger

Medusa, the woman of Greek mythology whose head of snakes and glaring eyes turned men into stone, appears as a fascinating recurrent motif in three thousand years of Western civilization. The versatility of the metaphorical transformations of her image reflects the depth of the psychological construct she represents. The author provides a rich, informative sampling of the Medusa image through generations of art, literature, and poetry. Medusa has been represented as female, male, a combination of both, or a monstrous fusion of human and animal. In psychoanalytic terms the Medusa represents an unconscious fantasy of a "bad mother" imago, as well as fears of body and phallus being devoured by the "vagina dentata." Freudian interpretation of the universal fantasy focuses on the castration themes attached to her, while Jungians stress the negative aspect of the great maternal archetype embedded in her image. The various facets of the myth, including the motif of the petrifying stare, the phallic symbolism of the snakes, and the

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castrating implications of the beheading, are discussed with appropriate relevance to psychodynamic concepts, but the author expands her horizon to include cultural, historical, and sociological implications of this fascinating image. It is a rich and scholarly article of gratifying value to its reader.

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Article Citation

Birger, D.M. (1984). The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, IX. 1981. Psychoanal. Q., 53:489-490

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