Totem and Taboo: Some Points of Agreement between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics

By Sigmund Freud | Go to book overview

1

THE HORROR OF INCEST

Prehistoric man, in the various stages of his development, is known to us through the inanimate monuments and implements which he has left behind, through the information about his art, his religion and his attitude towards life which has come to us either directly or by way of tradition handed down in legends, myths and fairy tales, and through the relics of his mode of thought which survive in our own manners and customs. But apart from this, in a certain sense he is still our contemporary. There are men still living who, as we believe, stand very near to primitive man, far nearer than we do, and whom we therefore regard as his direct heirs and representatives. Such is our view of those whom we describe as savages or half-savages; and their mental life must have a peculiar interest for us if we are right in seeing in it a well-preserved picture of an early stage of our own development.

If that supposition is correct, a comparison between the psychology of primitive peoples, as it is taught by social anthropology, and the psychology of neurotics, as it has been revealed

-1-

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Totem and Taboo: Some Points of Agreement between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Translator's Note vii
  • Preface ix
  • Preface to the Hebrew Translation xiii
  • 1 - The Horror of Incest 1
  • 2 - Taboo and Emotional Ambivalence 21
  • 3 - Animism, Magic and the Omnipotence of Thoughts 87
  • 4 - The Return of Totemism in Childhood 116
  • List of Works Referred to in the Text 188
  • Index 195
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