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Rikxin, F. White, W.A. (1913). Wishfulfillment and Symbolism in Fairy Tales. Psychoanal. Rev., 1(1):94-107.

(1913). Psychoanalytic Review, 1(1):94-107


Wishfulfillment and Symbolism in Fairy Tales

Franz Rikxin and Wm. A. White, M.D.


In psychiatry and the related sciences there has lately broken out a struggle for and against the Freudian theories. I count myself fortunate to be able, by means of such beautiful, inviting material as fairy tales, to bear a weapon in this conflict.

An accident, in which a chain of causes culminated in a careful examination of the Freudian mechanisms (the foundation works of this investigator have naturally become of the greatest importance for the proposed work) led me, through working with fairy tales, to go forth out of the realm of clinical psychiatry and tread ground that was formerly not especially known to me but where I soon felt myself at home. For the psychology of fairy tales, as we have learned to know through Freud, stands in close relationship to the world of dreams, of hysteria, and of mental disease. My excursion into this territory was fraught with certain difficulties all of which I could not overcome and which prevented me at first from getting anything conclusive from my researches. The material is too great for a novice to be able to fathom it in all directions in a short time, so I was provisionally constrained to take my examples from only a portion of the known collections of fairy tales. The greatest difficulty was due to my philological and my historical shortcomings. With a broader philological knowledge more could be gained from the same material. I have, for example, an impression, that in the Germanic mythology many documents lie buried that to me were simply inaccessible.

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