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The Wolfman: Symptoms as a Representation of Identificatory Conflicts

The Letter, Issue 58, Spring 2015, Pages 59 - 70


THE WOLFMAN: SYMPTOMS AS A REPRESENTATION

OF IDENTIFICATORY CONFLICTS[1]

Ros McCarthy[2]


This text explores the connectivity between sexual differentiation and the Wolfman’s complicated symptomatology, tracing its progress through the dream and the primal scene to his latter-day complaint about the world being hidden by a veil.


Key words: sexual differentiation; seduction; castration; the veil.


Introduction

Sergei Pankejeff (1887-1979) moved to Germany from Russia, his country of birth, in the wake of the Russian Revolution in 1905. The following year, his sister Anna committed suicide. This was followed in 1907 by his father’s suicide, reducing the family unit to mother and son three years before he commenced his analysis with Freud in 1910, at which time he was twenty three years old.


In the course of his childhood, Pankejeff had a series of psychical disturbances. These included a change in his character when he was three and a half, an animal phobia from the age of four, the appearance of an obsessional neurosis at the age of four and a half, an hallucination at the age of five that he has lost his finger and a further outbreak of an obsessional neurosis between the ages of eight and ten.


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