primal scene

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Translating German Urszene. Coined by Sigmund Freud in 1914.

Noun[edit]

primal scene (uncountable)

  1. (psychoanalysis) In Freudian theory, the first time a child witnesses (and understands) its parents copulating.
    • 1983, William J. Kerrigan, The Sacred Complex: On the Psychogenesis of Paradise Lost, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0674785002, page 164,
      The primal scene is the site at which the issues of ego differentiation become translated into the issues of the oedipus complex.
    • 1989, Andrew Samuels, The Plural Psyche:: Personality, Morality, and the Father, Routledge, ISBN 0415017602, page 123,
      The father's presence and image, together with those of the mother, form the raw material of the primal scene.
    • 1995, Joel Whitebook, Perversion and Utopia: a study in psychoanalysis and critical theory, MIT Press, ISBN 0262731177, page 51,
      She argues that perverse sexual activity constitutes an attempt to restage the primal scene in such a way as to eliminate its traumatic aspects.

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