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Lewis, N.D. (1931). Additional Observations on The Castration Reaction In Males. Psychoanal. Rev., 18(2):146-165.

(1931). Psychoanalytic Review, 18(2):146-165

Additional Observations on The Castration Reaction In Males

Nolan D. C. Lewis

During 1927-28, I attempted to collect the greater part of the information extant on the castration complex. This material together with several original observations and theoretical elaborations was published in serial form under the title of “The Psychobiology of the Castration Reaction” in the Psychoanalytic Review for the year 1928. Among the topics discussed there, at some length, were the biophysiology of castration or the actual physicochemical effects of castration on the animal organism, the historical considerations of castration in folk psychology, the castration complex as it functions through symbols, and the castration connotations in death and suicide. Also two particularly important manifestations of the castration conflict were studied and characterized by special terms, viz. the overt or self-castration and substitutive mutilations which was called the “Eshmun Complex” after the beautiful Phoenician god of spring who castrated himself to escape the erotic advances of the mother-goddess, Astronæ, and the “thought theft obsessions” phenomenon which was termed nooklopia.

Any comprehensive summary of these topics and of the conclusions drawn would require too much space and repetition of previous researches, and so must be dispensed with in favor of the additional material to be presented. The following observations and comments have to do with overt self-castration, castration gestures and symbols and with some nookloptic or thought theft influences in the mentally disordered. The first psychological study presented has to do with many interesting features among which are suicidal and self-castration attempts:

Observation I: A man, twenty-eight years old, single, was admitted to the hospital in 1928 with a history of having been depressed for three years. Seven months before admission he had been found in an unconscious condition from the loss of blood, after having attempted self-castration. At this time he informed physicians that he was greatly worried about sexual problems and realized that he had periodic homosexual desires.

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