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Freud and the Scene of Trauma$
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John Fletcher

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823254590

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823254590.001.0001

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The Wolf Man I

The Wolf Man I

Constructing the Primal Scene

(p.220) Nine The Wolf Man I
Freud and the Scene of Trauma

John Fletcher

Fordham University Press

Chapter Nine addresses the term ‘primal scene’ in its first emergence as part of the theory of traumatic seduction in Draft L and accompanying letter to Fliess – Urszene, where it is part of the temporal structure of Nachträglichkeit (afterwardsness). It argues, against the latterday reduction of the term’s meaning to content (the parental scene), that Freud continued to use it in the Wolf Man case in the original sense of a prototype scene functioning in the temporal structure of aftrewardsness. The associated term ‘primal fantasies’ is also examined in the 1915 paper on paranoid fantasy where the parental scene is invoked in the sense of a prototype that gives rise to successive forms of the central scene of the delusional fantasy. Freud‘s analysis of the Wolf Man’s infantile neurosis turns on the central dream scene of wolves. This he argues is the derivative of the real event of parental intercourse as witnessed by the Wolf Man at the age of 18 months. This acts as a traumatic prototype or primal scene because it actualizes the threat of castration through its symbolization in the dream via a series of wolf stories whose wolf postures replicate the parental sexual postures.

Keywords:   castration, Christmas dream, primal fantasy, primal scene, paranoid woman, parental postures, wolf dream, wolf stories, wolf postures, scenes of waking

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