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Mottram, V.H. (1915). Varia. Psychoanal. Rev., 2(4):478-480.

(1915). Psychoanalytic Review, 2(4):478-480


V. H. Mottram, M.A.

One of Our Conquerors: A Study of Repression. “When facts continue undigested, it is because the sensations are as violent as hysterical females to block them from the understanding.”

Ernest Jones has pointed out that some of Meredith's novels brilliantly illustrate Freud's theory of repression and the attendant phenomena of repression. This is even more manifest in One of Our Conquerors, in which the whole novel deals with the repression of an “Idea” and its subsequent re-emergence when the repressing factors are removed.

The lost “Idea” is never elaborated by Meredith but can be fairly completely reconstructed by the methods of psychoanalysis. Victor Randor loses his “Idea” after a fall on London Bridge, but the accident is only a predisposing factor in the repression.

The “Idea” when reconstructed is that he should put himself at the head of the Nation as a factory of ideas, to found a self-denying intellectual aristocracy willing to put pecuniary gain and personal ambition on one side to serve the country. He is to become a Tribune of the People. For this he requires vocem populi; ability to entertain, on a grand scale, city, political and social magnates; the marriage of his (illegitimate) daughter Nesta to a scion of the nobility, and a seat in parliament.

But this is impossible to him because of his relations to Natalia Deighton, who is not his wife—his true wife, Mrs. Burman Radnor, being still alive. His overwhelming love for Natalia Deighton inhibits the “Idea” and it can only fully re-emerge to consciousness on her death.


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