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Wilson, E., Jr. (1987). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVI, 1982: The Psychoanalyst: Translator of Myths or Amateur Anthropologist? Gilbert Diatkine. Pp. 811-818.. Psychoanal Q., 56:594-595.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVI, 1982: The Psychoanalyst: Translator of Myths or Amateur Anthropologist? Gilbert Diatkine. Pp. 811-818.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:594-595

Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVI, 1982: The Psychoanalyst: Translator of Myths or Amateur Anthropologist? Gilbert Diatkine. Pp. 811-818.

Emmett Wilson, Jr.

Diatkine remarks that the validity of the psychoanalytic approach to myths is brought into question as much by the Hellenists as by the analysts themselves. The main contrast in the two approaches is between the view of myths as a collective psychological elaboration and the view of the myth as a response to the social and historical necessities of the group or city in which it developed. Myths may belong to many different levels, in contrast to other psychological manifestations. No one today would be satisfied with a superficial formulation that myths and religions borrow their themes from infantile sexual theories and fantasies. For Diatkine, the interaction between the culture and the individual produces its effects from the first

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days of life. The psychoanalytic approach to myths presupposes transhistorical constants, and also the recapitulation of the history of civilization in the history of the individual. The Greeks differed from us in, for example, their categories of color, virtually untranslatable in modern terms, and in their categories of incest, as discussed above. The analyst cannot transpose to the Greek world and mind the concepts that derive from our current society. Yet analysts use myths in explaining their theories and probably in working with their patients. How do we explain this recourse to myths? Diatkine suggests that myth has a special cultural role as a vehicle for the representation of many ideas important for analysts, in the same way that the dream work also depends on conditions of representability. The myth intervenes on the way to an interpretation, as a sort of prefabrication provided by our common culture, capable of condensing the elaboration of ideas heard, the contradictions of various theories, and the personal memories of the analyst. Therefore recourse to myth is an important part of the analytic approach to the human psyche.

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Article Citation

Wilson, E., Jr. (1987). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVI, 1982. Psychoanal. Q., 56:594-595

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