Oedipus and the Oedipus Complex: A Revision

Author(s) : Siegfried Zepf, Author(s) : Florian Daniel Zepf, Author(s) : Burkhard Ullrich, Author(s) : Dietmar Seel

Oedipus and the Oedipus Complex: A Revision

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : October 2016
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 128
  • Category :
    Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 38169
  • ISBN 13 : 9781782204190
  • ISBN 10 : 1782204199
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In contemporary psychoanalytic thought, Freud’s concept of the Oedipus complex is inclined to overshadow the interpretation of the myths surrounding Oedipus. The authors counter this situation by reversing it, utilizing the Oedipus myths to interpret the Oedipus complex. In so doing they expose it as a sheer cover story.

They unmask the Oedipus complex, revealing it to be a drama staged not by Oedipus but by Jocasta, the mother, and Laius, the father. For neither Sophocles’ drama nor the Oedipus myths give any indication that Oedipus is enamoured of Jocasta and born with the intention of killing his father Laius. What the myths do mention are Jocaste’s passion for Oedipus whom she loves more than his father and Laius’ desire to eliminate Oedipus as his rival from birth.

Freud neglected these aspects of the Oedipal myths. In uncovering them the authors come to the conclusion that Oedipus did not have an Oedipus complex. The myths divulge that it is not the son or the daughter who precipitate rivalry with their father or mother but the parents who unconsciously compete with their child for the love of their partner.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘This is a thoroughly researched work that beautifully weaves together numerous psychoanalytic contributions on Freud’s Oedipus complex in relation to differing versions of the Oedipus myth in Greek mythology as well as incestuous myths from other cultures. The authors’ line of argument provides the reader with both a nuanced appreciation of this cornerstone of psychoanalytic theory, and an enlightening emendation.’
—Alan Barnett, PhD, past Editor, The Psychoanalytic Review

‘This book proposes a thoroughly documented discussion of the main mythological, historical and clinical aspects of the Oedipus complex, its role in Freud’s thought, its argumentative, theoretical and practical consistency and its use in today’s psychoanalysis. The discussion ushers in a thought-provoking change of perspective that opens up a new interpretation of the Complex’s repressed underpinnings. A must-read for any future research on the Oedipus topic in psychoanalysis.’
— Thierry Simonelli, PhD, former President of the Société Psychanalytique du Luxembourg, and author of Lacan. La théorie. Essai de critique intérieure

About the Author(s)

Siegfried Zepf, MD, is a Training analyst (DPG, DGPT) and the former director of the Institute of Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic Medicine, University of Saarland (Germany). He is the author of numerous publications on epistemological, psychosomatic, socio-psychological, and psychoanalytical topics.

Florian Daniel Zepf, MD, is the Chair and Winthrop Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Western Australia in Perth, and Clinical Director/Head of Department of the Specialised Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Western Australia. He is the author of numerous publications in the field of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy.

Burkhard Ullrich is a practising psychoanalyst in Neunkirchen (Germany), and former scientific assistant at the Institute of Clinical Psychology of the University of the Saarland (Germany), as well as at the Research Institute for Psychotherapy in Stuttgart (Germany) and at the Institute of Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic Medicine of the University of the Saarland. He is a member of the Saarland Institute of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy and of the DGPT.

Dietmar Seel is a practising psychoanalyst in Saarbrücken (Germany), and former scientific assistant at the Institute of Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic Medicine of the University Clinics of the Saarland. He is also a member of the Saarland Institute for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy and of the DGPT.

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