The Wolf Man II
The Wolf Man II
Interpreting the Primal Scene
Chapter Ten continues the discussion of the Wolf Man case by considering how Freud’s retrospective construction of the parental primal scene, inferred from the Wolf dream (and discussed in Chapter 9), is interpreted in terms of castration as the traumatic ‘real event’ behind the dream. A critique of Freud’s argument is made through a consideration of the time structure borrowed from the old trauma theory and the conceptual slippages between ‘activation’, ‘recollection’, ‘understanding’ and ‘revision’ entailed; in particular, the tendency to collapse everything into a supposed ‘undertanding’ of the primal scene as castration that conflicts with the symbolic revisions implemented in the wolf dream via the wolf stories and the traumatizing discourses of the boy’s grandfather, sister and Nanya. It tracks Freud’s oscillations between the primal scene as fantasy and real event and his attempt to stabilize this undecidability by appeal to the notions of phylogenesis and primal fantasy. It concludes with a consideration of Laplanche’s reading of the ‘Beating Fantasies’ essay that in effect counterposes to ‘primal fantasy’ an alternative theorization of ‘original fantasy’ as the individual formation of a fixated, masochistic scene of incestuous wish and its punishment as an unconscious oedipal prototype.
Keywords: archaic heritage, beating fantasies, castration, Haeckel’s Law, original/originary fantasies (ursprüngliche Phantasie), phylogeny, primal scene, primal fantasy (Urphantasie), psycho-Lamarckianism, retrospective fantasizing (Zurückphantasieren)
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