The oedipal wound in two stories by Kafka: The Metamorphosis and A Country Doctor

Williams, Meg Harris (2017) The oedipal wound in two stories by Kafka: The Metamorphosis and A Country Doctor. Psychodynamic Practice: Individuals, Groups and Organisations, 23 (2). pp. 120-132. ISSN 1475-3626 (electronic) 1475-3634 (paper)

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Kafka read Freud and was interested in psychoanalysis but believed there was no ‘cure’ for what was essentially the problem of living. As always with creative artists, the writer is his own psychoanalyst, and the actual process of writing is his means of self-revelation. The aim of this paper is to consider, in relation to two stories (The Metamorphosis and A Country Doctor), Kafka’s use of this background oedipal conflict with his father or received values (the ‘law’) as a springboard for the type of wound that results in creative writing. The wound for him became a kind of personal myth, and was also associated with other painful stimuli, including his tuberculosis and his troubled love affairs, but above all with his identity as a writer. The writing process and the ‘faith-value’ it demands is an underlying metaphor behind these narratives of Kafka’s ‘dream-like inner life’. There are parallels here with Bion’s psychoanalytic philosophy of ‘suffering’ and ‘psyche-lodgement’.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Kafka, Bion, Combined Object, Dream-Story, Psyche-Lodgement, Writing Process
Subjects: Cognitive Processes, Theory of Mind > Creativity
Families > Father Child Relations
Department/People: Honorary Staff

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