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(1914). Das Inzest-Motiv in Dichtung Und Sage. Grukdzuge Einer Psy-Chologie Des Dichterischen Schaffens. Von Otto Rank, Franz Deuticke,. Psychoanal. Rev., 1(3):354-355.

(1914). Psychoanalytic Review, 1(3):354-355

Book Reviews

Das Inzest-Motiv in Dichtung Und Sage. Grukdzuge Einer Psy-Chologie Des Dichterischen Schaffens. Von Otto Rank, Franz Deuticke,

This is a very complete and exhaustive psychoanalytic production from the pen of one of Freud's most gifted followers.

It is fairly well known that the so-called “nuclear complex” of Freud centers about the unconscious relations of the young child to its parents. This is frequently spoken of as the “Œdipus complex” since in the time of Æschylus and Sophocles the problem was handled with fairly patent symbolisms in the drama of Œdipus Rex. Even at this time, however, the mechanisms of displacement were a part of the poetic construction and the unconscious poetic phantasy of this period of culture was a highly specialized and complex creation.

Rank has set himself the difficult task of tracing through the works of modern and ancient writers, the individual roots of the CEdipus complex and the various ways in which poetic creation has utilized the motive in the gradual evolution of the social psyche away from the concrete towards the symbolic expression of the same.

He first discusses typical dramatizations of the motive, such as CEdipus, Don Carlos and Hamlet. Schiller's work then is taken up and is followed by a complete working over of the stepmother situation, made known to psychoanalytic workers, particularly in Ricklin's study on fairy tales (see psychoanalytic review, Vol. i, No. i, translation by White, and the Myth of the Birth of the Hero; vide Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 1913, translation by Robbins and Jelliffe). Don Carlos and Byrons Parisina and Phaedra are typical dramatic illustrations utilized by Rank for his elucidation of this displacement.

The struggle of father and son is taken up in a chapter of forty pages and is followed by a detailed analysis of this struggle as portrayed by Shakespeare and by Sophocles.

Ancient myths are next worked over; the castration symbolism thoroughly analyzed and its inherent connections to the incest problem pointed out.


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