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June 1964

A Psychiatric Study of Fairy Tales.

Arch Intern Med. 1964;113(6):922. doi:10.1001/archinte.1964.00280120122050

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Dr. Julius Heuscher, who is an articulate spokesman for existential psychiatry, presents a colorless, oversimplified account of the meaning of fairy tales. This fascinating subject has been fragmented by libido theory, distorted by Jungian archetypes, and now obfuscated by Heuscher in existential solipsism. It does seem a tragedy that a beautiful tale can be made to prove whatever the orientation of the writer. It is perhaps this quality that makes these stories universal.

The theme that Dr. Heuscher elaborates is that man feels an emptiness in his existence and will move in the direction of meaningfulness and creativity. In the fairy tale one can find the spiritual awakening. Unfortunately, the tales that the author has selected do not confirm such a thesis. In fact, one can develop other themes from his tales.

This volume is of doubtful value.

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