Psychoanalytic Approaches to Myth (Theorists of Myth) by Daniel Merkur

By Daniel Merkur

This ebook surveys the background of psychoanalytic remedies of myths variously as indicators of psychopathology, as cultural security mechanisms, and as metaphoric expressions of rules which could comprise healing insights.

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He worked as a clinician, initially at Worcester State Hospital and from the early 1940s onward in private practice in New York. In 1947, with the assistance of the anthropologist Clyde Kluckhohn, Róheim conducted fieldwork among the Navajo. fm Page 32 Thursday, October 14, 2004 10:24 AM 32 ∑ Psychoanalytic Approaches to Myth his wife Ilona (Devereux 1953a; La Barre 1966; Robinson 1969; Muensterberger and Nichols 1974). THE CULTURAL CONTEXT OF SYMBOLISM Róheim was a classical psychoanalyst who took for granted the psychic unity of humankind (Róheim 1950, 435).

118) was responsive to the fear of sexual predation by women. Róheim consolidated and extended his previous contributions in The Riddle of the Sphinx (1934). It was methodologically necessary to acknowledge the adequacy of ontogenetic interpretations of cultures in terms of individual developments. There was no need to indulge speculations regarding prehistory: If we attempt to derive the specific traits of individual cultures from the infantile experience of the individuals who live in these cultures, we must admit the possibility of describing the origin of culture in general in ontogenetic terms, that is, of deriving it from a specifically human form of childhood, from a permanent, universal, and at the same time historic, cause.

Dreams are limited in what and how they are able to portray. The dream ideas are rendered as pictorial imager; it is not possible for dreams to portray negation; and so forth. So too, Abraham contended, the construction of myths as narratives limits the devices that they may use to express their ideas. For example, the relations “as/if ” and “either/or” are expressed by similar devices in both dreams and myths (p. 195). “There is, however, one difference: the dream takes the form of a play, whilst the myth takes epic form” (p.

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