July 1962

Freud and Metaphor

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1962;7(1):25-29. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1962.01720010027004

I.  That Freud made liberal use of metaphor in discussing his ideas is evident from even a casual inspection of his writings. Freud was wont to note resemblances between events in the lives of his patients and already familiar events from other domains of his experience. These comparisons, when not explicit, are revealed by Freud's metaphorical language.*Freud's frequent resort to metaphor indicates, at the very least, that he appreciated the value of figurative constructions in the rapid delivery of ideas. But close examination of Freud's ideas and their manner of presentation strongly suggests the further conclusion that Freud not only illustrated by metaphor, he also conceived in metaphor; moreover, that he suffered like the rest of us from lapses of metaphor; and finally, that his concepts are most often lucid when his images are consistent, whereas his ideas stand in need of correction or further

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