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Classical Culture and Modern Masculinity$
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Daniel Orrells

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199236442

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199236442.001.0001

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Freud and the History of Masculinity: Between Oedipus and Narcissus

Freud and the History of Masculinity: Between Oedipus and Narcissus

Chapter:
(p.235) 5 Freud and the History of Masculinity: Between Oedipus and Narcissus
Source:
Classical Culture and Modern Masculinity
Author(s):

Daniel Orrells

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199236442.003.0006

The final chapter turns back to the German‐speaking context. After a century and a half of debate about the relationship between history and male desire, Sigmund Freud provided a startling revision of the history of sexuality, by turning to myth. For the Viennese psychoanalyst, the history of a man's sexuality was a story of Greek myth, following the paths of Narcissus and Oedipus. Every male individual lived through these stories, played out in his head. Freud used Leonardo da Vinci as an example for every little boy, the Renaissance man who negotiated the relationship between classical antiquity and European modernity in his art and science. For Freud, Leonardo's negotiation with the ancient past of childhood revealed a pattern for all male subjects.

Keywords:   Freud, Narcissus, Oedipus, Oedipal complex, psychoanalysis, homosexuality, inversion, Leonardo

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