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The Sphinx and the Riddles of Passion, Love and Sexuality

Contributions by Stefano Bolognini, Rainer Gross and Sylvia Zwettler-Otte- Preface by Alain Gibeault

Edited By Sylvia Zwettler-Otte

An international cooperation of psychoanalysts presents the role of symbolization in the development of the human mind. Based on Freud’s theory of the Unconscious and of infantile sexuality we have now a deeper understanding of myths like Oedipus and the Sphinx and the representations of human struggles in art. In this book, this is illustrated from prehistoric paintings until poetry of the 20th century. The Sphinx, half animal, half human, represents the elaborations of sexual fantasies revealing desires and fears. She symbolizes an archaic maternal imago, seductive and threatening, omnipotent and enigmatic. She is a symbol of contradictions like drive and reason or gain and loss of knowledge. Case stories show that patients today feel not «devoured by the Sphinx», but by their work («burn out»), by annihilation anxiety, narcissistic or borderline disturbances, psychosomatic problems etc. But the «archaic mother never dies».


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illustration: Sphinx dissolving in rain © Saskia Lassmann Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data The sphinx and the riddles of passion, love and sexuality / contribu- tions by Stefano Bolognini, Rainer Gross and Sylvia Zwettler-Otte ; Sylvia Zwettler-Otte (ed.) ; preface by Alain Gibeault. pages cm ISBN 978-3-631-63982-5 1. Symbolism (Psychology) 2. Psychoanalysis. I. Zwettler-Otte, Sylvia, 1946- II. Bolognini, Stefano. „Countertransferenceless“ Sphinx. III. Gross, Rainer. Sphinx as Oedipus other mother. IV. Zwettler-Otte, Sylvia, 1946- Three balancing acts of the Sphinx. BF175.5.S95S64 2013 150.19'5—dc23 2013018978 ISBN 978-3-631-63982-5 (Print) E-ISBN 978-3-653-01962-9 (E-Book) DOI 10.3726/978-3-653-01962-9 © Peter Lang GmbH Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften Frankfurt am Main 2013 All rights reserved. PL Academic Research is an Imprint of Peter Lang GmbH. Peter Lang – Frankfurt am Main · Bern · Bruxelles · New York · Oxford · Warszawa · Wien All parts of this publication are protected by copyright. Any utilisation outside the strict limits of the copyright law, without the permission of the publisher, is forbidden and liable to prosecution. This applies in particular to reproductions, translations, microfilming, and storage and processing in electronic retrieval systems.

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