The American Journal of Psychoanalysis

, Volume 76, Issue 2, pp 183–203 | Cite as

THE DEAD-LIVING-MOTHER: MARIE BONAPARTE’S INTERPRETATION OF EDGAR ALLAN POE’S SHORT STORIES

  • Francisco Pizarro Obaid
Article
  • 81 Downloads

Abstract

Princess Marie Bonaparte is an important figure in the history of psychoanalysis, remembered for her crucial role in arranging Freud’s escape to safety in London from Nazi Vienna, in 1938. This paper connects us to Bonaparte’s work on Poe’s short stories. Founded on concepts of Freudian theory and an exhaustive review of the biographical facts, Marie Bonaparte concluded that the works of Edgar Allan Poe drew their most powerful inspirational force from the psychological consequences of the early death of the poet’s mother. In Bonaparte’s approach, which was powerfully influenced by her recognition of the impact of the death of her own mother when she was born—an understanding she gained in her analysis with Freud—the thesis of the dead-living-mother achieved the status of a paradigmatic key to analyze and understand Poe’s literary legacy. This paper explores the background and support of this hypothesis and reviews Bonaparte’s interpretation of Poe’s most notable short stories, in which extraordinary female figures feature in the narrative.

Keywords

Marie Bonaparte Edgar Allan Poe dead-living-mother sources of creativity 

References

  1. Ackroyd, P. (2008). Poe: A life cut short. London: Chatto and Windus.Google Scholar
  2. Bachelard, G. (2005). El agua y los sueños [Water and dreams] Trad. Ida Vitale. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica.Google Scholar
  3. Barthes, R. (1985). L'aventure sémiologique [Semiological adventure]. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  4. Bertin, C. (2010). Marie Bonaparte. Paris: Perrin.Google Scholar
  5. Bonaparte, M. (1924). Considérations sur les causes anatomiques de la frigidité chez la femme [Considerations on the anatomical causes of female frigidity]. Bruxelles Médical, 42, 27–4.Google Scholar
  6. Bonaparte, M. (1927a). Le cas de Mme Lefebvre [Case of Mme Lefebvre]. Revue Française de Psychanalyse, I, 149–198.Google Scholar
  7. Bonaparte, M. (1927b). Du symbolisme des trophées de tête [Symbolism of animal trophies]. Revue Française de Psychanalyse, I, 677–732.Google Scholar
  8. Bonaparte, M. (1928). L'identification d'une fille à sa mère morte [A girl’s identification with the dead mother]. Revue Française de Psychanalyse, II, 541–565.Google Scholar
  9. Bonaparte, M. (1930a). La prophylaxie infantile des névroses [The infantile defenses against neurosis]. Revue Française de Psychanalyse, IV, 85–135.Google Scholar
  10. Bonaparte, M. (1930b). Deuil, nécrophilie et sadisme [Mourning, necrophilia and sadism]. Revue Française de Psychanalyse, IV, 716–734.Google Scholar
  11. Bonaparte, M. (1933a). Edgar Poe, étude psychanalytique. Paris: Denoel et Steele [The life and works of Edgar Allen Poe: A psychoanalytical interpretation]. London: Imago Publishing, 1949.Google Scholar
  12. Bonaparte, M. (1933b). L’homme et son dentiste [Man and his dentist]. Revue Française de Psychanalyse, VI, 84–88.Google Scholar
  13. Bonaparte, M. (1933c). Le scarabée d’or d’Edgar Poe [The Golden Scarab of Edgar Allen Poe]. Revue Française de Psychanalyse, V, 275–293.Google Scholar
  14. Bonaparte, M. (1933d). De l’élaboration et de la fonction de l’œuvre littéraire [On the creation and function of literary work]. Revue Française de Psychanalyse, V, 649–683.Google Scholar
  15. Bonaparte, M. (1939). Cinq cahiers écrits par une petite fille entre sept ans et demi et dix ans et leurs commentaires. Paris: Imprimé pour l'auteur [Five Copybooks, written by a little girl between the ages of seven-and-half and ten, with commentaries]. 4 Volumes, N. Procter-Gregg (Trans.). London: Imago Publishing. Republished in English in 1950–1952.Google Scholar
  16. Bourgeron, J. P. (Ed.) (1993). Marie Bonaparte et la psychanalyse, à travers ses lettres à René Laforgue, et les images de son temps [Marie Bonaparte and psychoanalysis, seen through letters to René Laforgue and the images of her time]. Paris: Champion.Google Scholar
  17. Bourgeron, J. P. (1997). Marie Bonaparte. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  18. Carlson, E. (Ed.) (1966). The recognition of Edgar Allan Poe: Selected criticism since 1829. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  19. Derrida, J. (1980). La carte postale: De Socrate à Freud et au-delà [The postcard: From Socrates to Freud and beyond]. Paris: Flammarion.Google Scholar
  20. Dillon, J. (1911). Edgar Allan Poe. His genius and character. New York: The Knickerbocker Press.Google Scholar
  21. Dosse, F. (1991). Histoire du structuralisme. I. Le champ du signe, 1945-1966 [History of structuralism]. Paris: Editions la Découverte.Google Scholar
  22. Felman, S. (1988). On reading poetry: Reflections on the limits and possibilities of psychoanalytic approaches. In J. Muller & W. Richardson (Eds.) The purloined Poe. Lacan, Derrida and psychoanalytic reading (pp. 133–156). Baltimore, MA: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Freud, S. (1900). The interpretation of dreams. Standard Edition (Vol. 4–5). London: Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  24. Freud, S. (1907). Delusions and dreams in Jensen’s Gradiva. Standard Edition (Vol. 9, pp. 7–96). London: Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  25. Freud, S. (1908). Creative writers and day-dreaming. Standard Edition (Vol. 9, pp. 141–154). London: Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  26. Freud, S. (1910). Leonardo da Vinci and a memory of his childhood. Standard Edition (Vol. 11, pp. 59–137). London: Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  27. Freud, S. (1913a). The occurrence in dreams of material from fairy tales. Standard Edition (Vol. 12, pp. 279–287). London: Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  28. Freud, S. (1913b). The theme of the three caskets. Standard Edition (Vol. 12, pp. 289–301). London: Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  29. Freud, S. (1916–1917). Introductory lectures on psycho-analysis. Lecture X. Symbolism in dreams. Standard Edition (Vol. 15, pp. 149–169). London: Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  30. Freud, S. (1919). The “uncanny”. Standard Edition (Vol. 17, pp. 217–252). London: Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  31. Freud, S. (1933). Preface to Marie Bonaparte’s The life and works of Edgar Allan Poe: a psycho-analytic interpretation. Standard Edition (Vol. 22, p. 254). London: Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  32. Griswold, R. (1849). The “LUDWIG ARTICLE”. In Harris, J. (1902). The complete works of Edgar Allan Poe. New York: J.D. Morris and company.Google Scholar
  33. Hoffman, D. (1972). Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  34. Justin, H. (2009). Avec Poe Jusqu'au bout de la prose [With Poe, up to the limits of prose]. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  35. Kristeva, J. (1969). Semeiotike. Recherches pour une sémanalyse [Semiotics: Research towards semanalyse]. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  36. Krutch, J. (1926). Edgar Allan Poe: A study in genius. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  37. Lacan, J. (1966). Le séminaire sur «La lettre volé» [Seminar on “Purloined Letter”] Écrits (pp.11–61) Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  38. Lacan, J. (2006). D'un discours qui ne serait pas du semblant: 1971 [About a talk that would not be make-believe]. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  39. Martynkewicz, W. (2005). Edgar Allan Poe, A.V. Martín (Trans.). Madrid: Edaf.Google Scholar
  40. Nunberg, H. & Federn, E. (Ed.) (1976). Les premiers psychanalystes. Minutes de la Société Psychanalytique de Vienne. Vol. I (1906-1908) [Minutes of the Vienna psychoanalytic society. Vol. 1. 1906-1908]. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  41. Peeples, S. (2007). The afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe. Rochester, NY: Camden House.Google Scholar
  42. Pizarro Obaid, F. (2011). Transformaciones y nuevas figuras de lo “nervioso” en la construcción de los relatos de Edgar Allan Poe [Transformations and new expressions of “nervousness” in the construction of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories]. Acta Literaria, 43, 79–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Poe, E. A. (1832). Metzengerstein. In T. Mabbott (Ed.) Collected works of Edgar Allan Poe. Vol. II. Tales and sketches, 1831-1842 (pp. 18–29). Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 1978.Google Scholar
  44. Poe, E. A. (1835a). Berenice. In T. Mabbott (Ed.) Collected works of Edgar Allan Poe. Vol. II. Tales and sketches, 1831-1842 (pp. 209–219). Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Poe, E. A. (1835b). Morella. In T. Mabbott (Ed.) Collected works of Edgar Allan Poe. Vol. II. Tales and sketches, 1831-1842 (pp. 225–228). Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  46. Poe, E. A. (1838a). The narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. New York: Harper & Brothers.Google Scholar
  47. Poe, E. A. (1838b). Legia. In T. Mabbott (Ed.) Collected works of Edgar Allan Poe. Vol. II. Tales and sketches, 1831-1842 (pp. 310–330). Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  48. Poe, E. A. (1839). The fall of the house of Usher. In T. Mabbott (Ed.) Collected works of Edgar Allan Poe. Vol. II. Tales and sketches, 1831-1842 (pp. 397–417). Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  49. Poe, E. A. (1840). Tales of the grotesque and arabesque. Vol. I. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard.Google Scholar
  50. Poe, E. A. (1841a). The island of the Fay. In T. Mabbott (Ed.) Collected works of Edgar Allan Poe. Vol. II. Tales and sketches, 1831-1842 (pp. 597–606). Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Poe, E. A. (1841b). The murders in the Rue Morgue. In T. Mabbott (Ed.) Collected works of Edgar Allan Poe. Vol. II. Tales and sketches, 1831-1842 (pp. 527–568). Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  52. Poe, E. A. (1842a). Eleonora. In T. Mabbott (Ed.) Collected works of Edgar Allan Poe. Vol. II. Tales and sketches, 1831-1842 (pp. 638–645). Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  53. Poe, E. A. (1842b). The oval portrait. In T. Mabbott (Ed.) Collected works of Edgar Allan Poe. Vol. II. Tales and sketches, 1831-1842 (pp. 662–666). Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  54. Poe, E. A. (1843a). The assignation. In T. Mabbott (Ed.) Collected works of Edgar Allan Poe. Vol. III. Tales and sketches, 1843-1849 (pp. 150–166). Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  55. Poe, E. A. (1843b). The gold-bug. In T. Mabbott (Ed.) Collected works of Edgar Allan Poe. Vol. III. Tales and sketches, 1843-1849 (pp. 779–844). Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  56. Poe, E. A. (1844). The purloined letter. In T. Mabbott (Ed.) Collected works of Edgar Allan Poe. Vol. III. Tales and sketches, 1843-1849 (pp. 974–993). Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  57. Poe, E. A. (1845). The facts in the case of M. Valdemar. In T. Mabbott (Ed.) Collected works of Edgar Allan Poe. Vol. III. Tales and sketches (pp. 1228–1244). Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  58. Poe, E. A. (1846a). The domain of Arnheim. In T. Mabbott (Ed.) Collected works of Edgar Allan Poe. Vol. III. Tales and sketches (pp. 1266–1285). Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  59. Poe, E. A. (1846b). The philosophy of composition. Graham’s [American Monthly] Magazine, 28, 4. In Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore, http://www.eapoe.org/works/essays/philcomp.htm.
  60. Pruette, L. (1920). A psycho-analytical study of Edgar Allan Poe. The American Journal of Psychology, 31, 370–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Quinn, A. (1941). Edgar Allan Poe, a critical biography. New York: D. Appleton-Century.Google Scholar
  62. Richard, C. (Ed.) (1998). Edgar Allan Poe. Paris: Editions de l’Herne.Google Scholar
  63. Roudinesco, E. (1994). Histoire de la psychanalyse en France: 1. Paris: Fayard.Google Scholar
  64. Roudinesco, E. & Plon, M. (1997). Diccionario de psicoanálisis, J. Piatigorsky (Trans.). Barcelona: Paidós.Google Scholar
  65. Sachs, H. (1935). Edgar Allan Poe. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 4, 294–306.Google Scholar
  66. Saussure, F. (1916). Cours de linguistique générale [General linguistic course]. In C. Bally, A. Sechehaye & A. Riedlinger (Eds.) Paris: Payot.Google Scholar
  67. Sova, D. (2007). Critical companion to Edgar Allan Poe: A literary reference to his life and work. New York: Facts on File.Google Scholar
  68. Stekel, W. (1911). Die Sprache des Traumes: Eine Darstellung der Symbolik und Deutung des Traumes in ihren Bezeihungen [The language of dreams. A representation of the symbolism and interpretation of the dream in their relations]. Munich/Vienna: Bergmann.Google Scholar
  69. Warner, S. L. (1991). Princess Marie Bonaparte, Edgar Allan Poe, and psychobiography. Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 19, 446–461.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Wood, J. (1926). Edgar Allan Poe. A study in Genius. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francisco Pizarro Obaid
    • 1
  1. 1.Facultad de Psicología, Universidad Diego PortalesSantiagoChile

Personalised recommendations