Classical Myth and Psychoanalysis

Classical Myth and Psychoanalysis : Ancient and Modern Stories of the Self

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Since Freud published the Interpretation of Dreams in 1900 and utilized Sophocles' Oedipus Rex to work through his developing ideas about the psycho-sexual development of children, it has been virtually impossible to think about psychoanalysis without reference to classical myth. Myth has the capacity to transcend the context of any particular retelling, continuing to transform our understanding of the present. Throughout the twentieth century, experts on the ancient world have turned to the insights of psychoanalytic criticism to supplement and inform their readings of classical myth and literature. This volume examines the inter-relationship of classical myth and psychoanalysis from the generation before Freud to the present day, engaging with debates about the role of classical myth in modernity, the importance of psychoanalytic ideas for cultural critique, and its ongoing relevance to ways of conceiving the self. The chapters trace the historical roots of terms in everyday usage, such as narcissism and the phallic symbol, in the reception of Classical Greece, and cover a variety of both classical and psychoanalytic texts.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 146 x 216 x 30mm | 599.99g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0199656673
  • 9780199656677

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Author Information

Ellen O'Gorman is Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Bristol. She works on ancient historiography and its reception, and on historical and psychoanalytic theory. She has published on Livy, Sallust, Tacitus, Ovid, Homer, Lucan, Statius, Flaubert, Freud, and Lacan. She is the author of Irony and Misreading in the Annals of Tacitus (2000).

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Review quote

It is a collection that will make an impact on psychoanalytic studies, as well as classics, with re-evaluations of psychoanalytic narcissism and masculinity, and of Freud's engagements with ancient myth, drama and epic. Helen Morales, The Times Literary Supplement engaging ... these writings preserve lively traces of the oral performance by an international roster of scholars committed to - and critical of - the interpretation of Greek and Roman mythology through the various theoretical frameworks of psychoanalysis. Steven Z. Levine, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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