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Gottlieb, R.M. (1994). The Legend of the European Vampire: Object Loss and Corporeal Preservation. Psychoanal. St. Child, 49:465-480.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 49:465-480

The Legend of the European Vampire: Object Loss and Corporeal Preservation

Richard M. Gottlieb, M.D.

This paper reconsiders the manifold European legends of the vampire in a clinical context. The study of clinical psychoanalytic material that is homologous with these legends reveals that in both myth and clinical work, vampire legends and fantasies may signal experiences of object loss. Vampires are, after all, persons who have died but who are nonetheless immortal or “undead.” This study suggests that an important function of vampire mythology may have been to allow the grief-stricken to believe in the continued existence of their loved ones. Likewise, in the clinical analytic situation, and especially within the transference, the appearance of fantasy material related to vampire legends may signal bereavement, especially transference bereavement.

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