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This report is taken from PN Review 132, Volume 26 Number 4, March - April 2000.

Oedipus in Danger (translated by Iain Bamforth) Robert Musil

Though malicious and biased, this critique does not claim to be scientifically objective

In ancient times humankind had its Scylla and Charybdis; in modern times humankind has its Wasserman and Oedipus - for if it has succeeded in evading the former and getting an offspring up on his feet, then it can be even surer that he will succumb to the latter. It may even be said that without Oedipus almost nothing is possible these days, family life as little as architecture.

Since I myself grew up without Oedipus, I must speak my mind on the subject only with the greatest circumspection, though I go in wonder at the methods of psychoanalysis. I recall the following from my youth: when one of us boys was fed up with insults from another and wanted to retort with a slur as insulting as the first, but couldn't think one up no matter how he tried, he simply took the little phrase 'yours with knobs on' and plugged into the space where the other paused for breath: this short-circuited all the insults and sent them back to source. And in my study of psychoanalytical literature I was delighted to come across the fact that all those who fail to believe in the infallibility of psychoanalysis are immediately shown to have reasons for their disbelief; these are of course demonstrably psychoanalytical in nature. There can be no more splendid proof of the fact that even scientific methods are ...

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