Oedipus Complex

Oedipus complex, Freudian term, drawn from the myth of Oedipus, designating attraction on the part of the child toward the parent of the opposite sex and rivalry and hostility toward the parent of its own. It occurs during the phallic stage of the psycho-sexual development of the personality, approximately years three to five. Resolution of the Oedipus complex is believed to occur by identification with the parent of the same sex and by the renunciation of sexual interest in the parent of the opposite sex. Freud considered this complex the cornerstone of the superego and the nucleus of all human relationships. Many psychiatrists, while acknowledging the significance of the Oedipal relationships to personality development in our culture, ascribe love and attraction toward one parent and hatred and antagonism toward the other not necessarily to sexual rivalry but to resentment of parental authoritarian power.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Oedipus Complex Today: Clinical Implications
Ronald Britton; Michael Feldman; Edna O'Shaughnessy; John Steiner.
Karnac Books, 1989
Narcissus and Oedipus: The Children of Psychoanalysis
Victoria Hamilton.
Karnac Books, 1993
Basic Psychoanalytic Concepts on the Libido Theory
Humberto Nagera.
Karnac Books, 1990
Librarian’s tip: "Oedipus Complex" begins on p. 64, "The Oedipus Complex of the Girl" begins on p. 67, "The Oedipus Complex of the Boy" begins on p. 73, and "Dissolution of the Oedipus Complex" begins on p. 75
The Concepts of Sigmund Freud
Bartlett H. Stoodley.
Free Press, 1959
Librarian’s tip: "The Super-Ego and the Oedipus Complex" begins on p. 216
Introduction to the Reading of Lacan: The Unconscious Structured like a Language
Joël Dor; Judith Feher Gurewich.
Other Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 12 "The Mirror Stage and the Oedipus Complex"
Critical Theory of the Family
Mark Poster.
Seabury Press, 1980
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Freud's Concept of the Family"
Contributions to Psycho-Analysis, 1921-1945
Melanie Klein; John D. Sutherland.
Hogarth Press, 1965
Librarian’s tip: "Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict, 1928" begins on p. 202 and "The Oedipus Complex in the Light of Early Anxieties, 1945" begins on p. 339
Female Sexuality: The Early Psychoanalytic Controversies
Russell Grigg; Dominique Hecq; Craig Smith.
Other Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict," Chap. 11 "The Evolution of the Oedipus Complex in Women," and Chap. 14 "The Pregenital Antecedents of the Oedipus Complex"
The Gender Conundrum: Contemporary Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Femininity and Masculinity
Dana Breen.
Routledge, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "The Female Oedipus Complex and the Relationship to the Body" and Chap. 3 "The Missing Link: Parental Sexuality in the Oedipus Complex"
Unleashing Our Unknown Selves: An Inquiry into the Future of Femininity and Masculinity
France Morrow.
Praeger Publishers, 1991
Sexual Orientation and Psychoanalysis: Sexual Science and Clinical Practice
Richard C. Friedman; Jennifer I. Downey.
Columbia University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Freud, Oedipus, and Homosexuality"
Readers and Mythic Signs: The Oedipus Myth in Twentieth-Century Fiction
Debra A. Moddelmog.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1993
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