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Rising, C. (1994). Conrad and Kohut: The Fortunate Oedipal Fall. Psychoanal. Contemp. Thought, 17(1):107-120.

(1994). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 17(1):107-120

Conrad and Kohut: The Fortunate Oedipal Fall

Catharine Rising, Ph.D.

An analysis of Joseph Conrad's “The Lagoon” will demonstrate that although the story does not support Freud's claim of universality for the Oedipus complex, it treats oedipal conflict as essential to the development of conscience and morality. In the first position Conrad anticipates the work of Heinz Kohut; in the second he parallels his contemporary Freud, whose work he had not read. Conrad, however, could only be described as a reluctant depth psychologist. The Malay of the tale, who emerges as morally inferior to its white man, appears little more than a figment of his creator's desire for freedom from superego restraint.

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