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Goldberg, S.H. (1990). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXIII, 1987: On Proverbs: Creativity, Communication, and Community. Stanley L. Olinick. Pp. 463-468.. Psychoanal Q., 59:334.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXIII, 1987: On Proverbs: Creativity, Communication, and Community. Stanley L. Olinick. Pp. 463-468.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 59:334

Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXIII, 1987: On Proverbs: Creativity, Communication, and Community. Stanley L. Olinick. Pp. 463-468.

Steven H. Goldberg

Proverbs communicate "accumulated wisdom concerning character and interpersonal relations." There is a general form to which proverbs conform. They are compressed and witty, relying upon such literary tropes as metaphor and metonymy. Like dreams, they rely on condensation, displacement, and elaborative transformation. They convey a sense of community based on shared meanings and defenses, and establish a "common ground of friendly, soothing talk." While proverbs convey substantive information regarding character, interpersonal relations, etc., their primary meanings, according to the author, are contained in their form: "soothing, communal intimacy … an atmosphere of amicable mutual confidence, camaraderie, and a sense of community attained through the lure of benign authority and often witty counsel." They generally confirm existing mores and appeal to that aspect of the superego which is organized around group-sanctioned attitudes, although they may support anti-authoritarian attitudes. The proverb is seen as a type of story, arising out of personal experience, usually traumatic, and representing creative resolution of trauma within a communal setting.

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Article Citation

Goldberg, S.H. (1990). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXIII, 1987. Psychoanal. Q., 59:334

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