Show Less
Restricted access

Oedipal Paradigms in Collision

A Centennial Emendation of a Piece of Freudian Canon (1897-1997)


Howard Covitz

«While neither deifying nor vilifying Sigmund Freud or his theory of the Complete Oedipus Complex in which the founder of psychoanalysis described alternating wishes to parricide one parent and to incestuosly attach to the other, Dr. Covitz argues for a novel developmental schema for triadic object relations that functions as a bridging algorithm for individual and social psychologies. Particularly pleasing is the author's ability to interweave this work through a variety of interdisciplinary lenses, ranging from Genesis studies to sociopolitical thinking and clinical object relations theory. Dr. Covitz's utilization of the Oedipus Complex as a key hermeneutical construct for interdisciplinary rapprochement is not only remarkably pioneering; it is visionary.» (Barry Arnold, Series Editor, Peter Lang; Author of The Pursuit of Virtue: The Union of Moral Psychology and Ethics)
«Howard Covitz's Oedipal vision is an uncannily subversive one. He loosens the binding of the family script and encourages a new reading of the Theban narrative, a reading which spells out why the Oedipus story is still intriguing. This new Oedipal dream is an ungendered one for both parent and child. I found myself reading this Elementary Oedipal without regard to sexual difference. Woman is not the other parent; daughter is not the other child. And the Oedipal journey does not necessarily take place on the road to murderous and incestuos inclinations, but rather on the road from total self-absorbtion to empathy with others. Some will say this Oedipal tale, which invites a comparison of the imperfections of Oedipus with those of Joseph the Dreamer, bares little resemblance to its parental complex. That may be why it is possible to read Covitz's Oedipal and the feminine side-by-side.» (Cass Dalglish, Department of English, Augsburg College; Author of Sweetgrass)
«While having established psychoanalysis as a discipline that looks upon phenomena developmentally (e.g. Libido), for many of his concepts Freud failed to apply this developmental principle. The Oedipus Complex, his central explanatory construct for personality and for psychopathology, is just such an instance. For him, this Complex was an inherited given of the human's archaic heritage and was framed in a categorical way; the Oedipus complex was either mastered or not. A number of psychoanalysts have hinted at the possibility of framing the Oedipus Complex in object relational terms (e.g., the Blancks, Greenberg & Mitchell, Loewald), but they did not actually do so. Lebovici suggested that the Oedipus should be conceptualized in terms of developmental levels, but did not follow through on this suggestion. Dr. Covitz is the first to take the bold step of framing the Oedipus within a developmental schema of object relations. In so doing, he not only rescues the Oedipus Complex from Freud's biological and nondevelopmental frame of reference, but places the Oedipus - the way people relate to one another - into its proper contemporary context, object relations.» (George Frank, Training and Supervising Analyst, National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis; Member, International Psychoanalytical Association)