Reinterpreting Freud From a Modern Psychoanalytic Anthropological Perspective

Author: Forsyth, Dan W.


"The achievement of Dan Forsyth is to argue, and to offer a wide array of empirical evidence for, the proposition that oedipality exerts a profound influence in shaping human culture and history... This book reads as a piece of vast intellectual architecture that encompasses many disciplines and bodies of knowledge. Forsyth is not only interdisciplinary but transdisciplinary in his ability not only to talk and walk across disciplinary boundaries, but also to create a new synthesis from them. Thus his aesthetic approach is in keeping with his argument about the oedipal origins, substrate, and architecture of much of culture&. Forsyth advances a generative fantasy as the foundation of much culture and language. His book can be read as an evolutionary history of symbolism. Forsyth brings fantasy to occupy center stage in the human drama. He argues for the primacy and universality of fantasy in general, and oedipal fantasy in particular, in human life. He further shows fantasy to be a species adaptation and no mere epiphenomenona of brain development. The argument is complex, but there is much elegance in the complexity. This book should establish a new standard for thinking about and studying human nature in its many cultural vicissitudes." Dr. Howard F. Stein, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

"This is an important work, impressive in its erudition and full of keen insights. In fact, the timing could not be better: psychoanalytic anthropology, along with many other disciplines, is engaged in a project to bring Freud's analytic insights into the 21st century. This means recasting his basic ideas in light of tremendous advances in our understanding of the brain and cognition, framed by the powerful new paradigm of evolutionary psychology. Forsyth's book is a major step forward in this project, and will confirm him among the leading theorists in the field&. This will become the most important publication in psychoanalytic anthropology in years." Dr. Allen Johnson, University of California, Los Angeles

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface by Melford E. Spiro
1. Introduction
2. The Psychoanalytic Approach
3. Non-Psychoanalytic Support for Fantasy
4. The Sociocultural Mode
5. The Evolutionary Mode
6. Fantasy as Adaptation
Appendices; References; Name Index; Subject Index