Oedipus Ubiquitous: The Family Complex in World Folk Literature
Whether or not the Oedipus complex is universal has been the subject of controversy ever since Freud made it the centrepiece of psychoanalytic theory. Though the strict version of the Freudian oedipal story is not very common in world folk literature, a looser version is: the struggle between an older, father-like man and a younger man who stands in a son-like relationship to him, and an inappropriate closeness, often erotic, between the younger man and a motherly woman. Along with father-daughter and brother-sister incest tales, it is one of several varieties that the authors of this study call family complex folktales. The authors re-examine the debate over the universality of the Oedipus complex through an analysis of the widespread occurrence of family complex folktales. In addition they provide a collection of 139 such stories taken from every world culture area and every level of social complexity.
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