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Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute & Society

Freud and the Impossibility of Fatherhood

Presented by the Academic Council of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Society and the Association for Psychoanalytic Thought

Freud and the Impossibility of Fatherhood

Dr. Silke-Maria Weineck

In its theory and in much of its clinical practice, psychoanalysis has seen the father primarily through the eyes of the son. In this paper, Professor Weineck asks, "What if Freud had read the Oedipus myth as the fantasy of Laius, that is, from the viewpoint of fathers, rather than sons?" This interpretive move, applied to Freud's foundational, autobiographical texts, allows her to sketch neglected aspects of fatherhood in a clinically and theoretically enriching manner. As fathers seek to contain their own grandiosity by placing their aspirations in their sons -- whether by naming them after their own identification models or through idealizing fantasies -- they tacitly acknowledge their own finitude and replaceability. Paradoxically, the son's power to confer immortality on the father cannot be wholly separated from the power to extinguish him. Consequently, the son becomes the object of filicidal stirrings.

Dr. Weineck teaches German and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan.

Discussant: Marvin Margolis, M.D., Ph.D.
Training and Supervising Analyst, Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute

Sunday, November 2, 2003, 10:30-12:00 4448 East Hall, Ann Arbor Michigan (NW corner Church and South University)

Dr. Weineck’s paper is available from smwei@umich.edu

Coffee and bagels will be available.
A contribution of $10 is suggested, students no charge.