Oedipus and Aristotle; Freud and The Moonstone

  • Martin Priestman


Sophocles’s Oedipus the King has acquired a special importance to our culture for two reasons only partly dependent on its merits as a play. The first is that it was the main model on which Aristotle based the generalisations of The Poetics, the founding work of Western literary theory. The second is that, as a text and not just as a story, it is the reference point for Freud’s theory of the Oedipus complex, and hence a cornerstone of psychoanalysis. The fact that it also has a strong formal resemblance to a detective story makes it a natural focus of attention in a discussion of the relations between detective fiction and literature.


Sexual Double Standard Oedipus Complex Sexual Guilt Good Kind Detective Story 
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  1. 4.
    See Augusto Boal, Theatre of the Oppressed, trs. C. A. and M. O. Leal McBride (London, 1979) pp. 1–50.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    John R. Reed, ‘English Imperialism and the Unacknowledged Crime of The Moonstone’, CLIO, vol. 2 (1973) pp. 281–90.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martin Priestman 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Priestman
    • 1
  1. 1.Roehampton Institute of Higher EducationUK

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