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My Potential Patients: Origins, Detection, and Transference in - page 4 / 69

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Cohen 1

Introduction

I take gleeful pleasure every morning in refuting the Viennese quack by recalling and explaining the details of my dreams without using one single reference to sexual symbols or mythical complexes. urge my potential patients to do likewise.

Nabokov, Strong Opinions

I

  • -

    Vladimir

Vladimir Nabokov's aversion to Sigmund Freud and all things Freudian has

been called "the grandest and most extravagant contempt for psychoanalysis known

in modern literature" (Green 1). Nabokov's novels, short stories, interviews, lectures,

and autobiography are peppered with derisive jabs, dismissive parodies, and traps for

psychoanalytic readers, amusingly combining condescending vulgarization and

hyperbolic scorn. Provoked by an interviewer who asks if his hatred of Freud results

from actual experience on the analytic couch, Nabolcov pronounces:

Freudism and all it has tainted with its grotesque implications and methods

appears to me to be one of the vilest deceits practiced by people on themselves

and on others. I reject it utterly, along with a few other medieval items still

adored by the ignorant, the conventional, or the very sick. (Strong Opinions

23-24)

When another interviewer tries to press Nabokov into admitting that his "parodies of

Freud in Lolita and Pale Fire suggest a wider familiarity with the good doctor than

you have ever publicly granted," he demurs by referring the questioner back to his

works, wearily adding: "Let the credulous and the vulgar continue to believe that all

mental woes can be cured by a daily application of old Greek myths to their private

parts. I really do not care" (66).

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