The Room Historical Context

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Sigmund Freud and Psychoanalysis

In 1934, Aiken was asked whether he had been influenced by Sigmund Freud (1857-1939), the Viennese physician and founder of psychoanalysis, and how he regarded him. He responded (as Catharine F. Seigel quotes in her article for Literature and Medicine), “Profoundly, . . . I decided very early . . . that Freud, and his co-workers and rivals and followers, were making the most important contribution of the century to the understanding of man and his consciousness.” With the formulation of psychoanalytic theory, Freud changed the map of human understanding. Drawing on the story of Oedipus, the Theban king who unwittingly murdered his father and married his mother, Freud constructed a model of the human psyche that proposed that consciousness was only the surface aspect of a person's mental apparatus. Freud identified and charted a realm beneath conscious awareness that he called the unconscious. The unconscious is the realm in which...

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This section contains 791 words
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