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Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 591–606 | Cite as

Mother, Melancholia, and Play in Erik H. Erikson’s Childhood and Society

  • Donald CappsEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

In an earlier article on Erik H. Erikson’s earliest writings (Capps, 2007), I focused on the relationship between the child’s melancholia and conflict with maternal authority, and drew attention to the restorative role of humor. In this article, I discuss two of the three chapters in part three, “The Growth of the Ego,” of Erikson’s first major book, Childhood and Society [Erikson, Childhood and society. New York: W. W. Norton, 1950, Childhood and society (rev. edition). New York: W. W. Norton, 1963]. I explore the same theme of the relationship of melancholia and the mother, but focus on the restorative role of play. I interpret the differences between the two cases in light of Sigmund Freud’s essay, “Mourning and Melancholia” [Freud, Mourning and melancholia. In S. Freud, General psychological theory (pp. 164–179). P. Rieff (ed.). New York: Collier Books. 1963].

Keywords

Erik H. Erikson Sigmund Freud Children Schizophrenia Ego-mastery Mourning Melancholia Mother Play Games 

References

  1. Capps, D. (2007). Mother, melancholia, and humor in Erik H. Erikson’s earliest writings. Journal of Religion and Health.Google Scholar
  2. Coles, R. (1970). Erik H. Erikson: The growth of his work. Boston: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  3. Erikson, E. H. (1950). Childhood and society. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  4. Erikson, E. H. (1963). Childhood and society (rev. edition). New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  5. Freud, S. (1958). A childhood recollection from “Dichtung und wahrheit.” In B. Nelson (Ed.), On creativity and the unconscious (pp. 111–121). New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
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  8. Freud, S. (1965). The interpretation of dreams. New York: Avon Books.Google Scholar
  9. Gay, P. (1988). Freud: A life for our time. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Blanton-Peale Institute 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Practical TheologyPrinceton Theological SeminaryPrincetonUSA

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