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It was still current with the ancient Romans: their word “sacer” was the same as the taboo of the Polynesians.The “[Greek]” of the Greeks and the “Kodaush” of the Hebrews must also have signified the same thing which the Polynesians express through their word taboo and what many races in America, Africa (Madagascar), North and Central Asia express through analogous designations.For us the meaning of taboo branches off into two opposite directions.
Our combination of “holy dread” would often express the meaning of taboo.
The taboo restrictions are different from religious or moral prohibitions.
communicated or indirect, equally the result of ‘mana’ but (a) acquired or (b) imposed by a priest, chief or other person; 3.
intermediate, where both factors are present, as in the appropriation of a wife to her husband.
The former comprise priest and chiefs as well as the dead and everything that has belonged to them.
Temporary taboos attach themselves to certain conditions such as menstruation and child-bed, the status of the warrior before and after the expedition, the activities of fishing and of the chase, and similar activities.In addition to the writings on Jensen's Gradiva and Medusa, the essays are: "Psychopathic Characters on the Stage," "The Antithetical Meaning of Primal Words," "The Occurrence in Dreams of Material from Fairy Tales," "The Theme of the Three Caskets," "The Moses of Michelangelo," "Some Character Types Met with in Psycho-analytic Work," "On Transience," "A Mythological Parallel to a Visual Obsession," "A Childhood Recollection from Dichtung und Wahrheit," "The Uncanny," "Dostoevsky and Parricide," and "The Goethe Prize."“These are classic essays, referred to over and over again in work of all sorts, widely read, and extensively used in courses.But until now they have not been collected in English.Though incomprehensible to us they are taken as a matter of course by those who are under their dominance.As we are in need of an impartial presentation of the subject of taboo before subjecting it to psychoanalytic consideration I shall now cite an excerpt from the article “Taboo” in the Encyclopedia Britannica written by the anthropologist Northcote W.A peculiar power inherent in persons and ghosts, which can be transmitted from them to inanimate objects is regarded as the source of the taboo.This part of the article reads as follows: “Persons or things which are regarded as taboo may be compared to objects charged with electricity; they are the seat of tremendous power which is transmissible by contact, and may be liberated with destructive effect if the organisms which provoke its discharge are too weak to resist it; the result of a violation of a taboo depends partly on the strength of the magical influence inherent in the taboo object or person, partly on the strength of the opposing mana of the violator of the taboo.The opposite for taboo is designated in Polynesian by the word noa and signifies something ordinary and generally accessible.Thus something like the concept of reserve inheres in taboo; taboo expresses itself essentially in prohibitions and restrictions.Despite Freud's enormous influence on twentieth-century interpretations of the humanities, there has never before been in English a complete collection of his writings on art and literature.These fourteen essays cover the entire range of his work on these subjects, in chronological order beginning with his first published analysis of a work of literature, the 1907 "Delusion and Dreams in Jensen's Gradiva" and concluding with the 1940 posthumous publication of "Medusa's Head." Many of the essays included in this collection have been crucial in contemporary literary and art criticism and theory. Hoffman's "The Sand Man," Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, fairy tales, the effect of and the meaning of beauty, mythology, and the games of aestheticization.