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July 7, 1989

The Oedipus Papers

JAMA. 1989;262(1):104-105. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430010116046

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This book is a series of 27 chapters by almost as many authors dealing with the various aspects and interpretations of the Oedipus complex. As is fitting, it begins with a part of Freud's Interpretation of Dreams. Freud himself as well as others felt that the Oedipus complex formed the cornerstone of the foundations of psychoanalysis itself. Evidence of this view actually arose when Freud wrote to Fleiss about a year and a half after the death of Fleiss' father and subsequently wrote about it in the Interpretation of Dreams in 1900. In his readings Freud had come across Sophocles' three works on Oedipus, Antigone, Oedipus Tyrannus, and Oedipus at Colonus. The main thrust of Freud's thinking was on Oedipus Tyrannus.

To most people the story of Oedipus is simple. He was an infant who was abandoned by his parents, was adopted into another family, reached manhood, and subsequently killed