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August 1960

The Psychodynamics of Consummated Maternal IncestA Report of Two Cases

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;3(2):188-193. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.01710020072009

Incest is defined by Webster as the crime of cohabitation between persons related within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law. The particular kind of incest which is the concern of this paper, however, is sexual intercourse between parent and child, and more specifically, mother and son.

From a variety of evidence we know that incest is an ancient preoccupation of mankind. He was preoccupied with it long before he developed the art of writing and the mythologies of countless peoples feature incestuous episodes among their gods. Mythologists tell us that myths are analogous to the dreams of individuals—that they express, as do dreams, the wishes which cannot be consciously acknowledged or attained but are instead projected upon the mythical hero or god. With remarkable regularity anthropologists find in numerous cultures these projected objectified wishes to be primarily two in number, namely, perpetual youth

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