This work, first published in 1919, is an endeavour to apply some of the methods of psychoanalysis to literature. It traces a writer’s books back to the outward and inner events of their life and to reveal of their unconscious. This unconscious is largely identical with the mental love fantasies in our present and past life. Since the terms ‘unconscious’ and ‘erotic’ are almost synonymous, any serious study of literature which is concerned with the unconscious must deal impartially with eroticism.
1. Introduction 2. Eroticism in Life 3. Dreams and Literature 4. The Oedipus Complex and the Brother and Sister Complex 5. The Author Always Unconsciously in His Work 6. Unconscious Consolatory Mechanisms in Authorship 7. Projection, Villain Portrayals and Cynicism as Work of the Unconscious 8. Genius as a Product of the Unconscious 9. Literary Emotions and the Neuroses 10. The Infantile Love Life of the Author and its Sublimations 11. Sexual Symbolism in Literature 12. Cannibalism: The Atreus Legend 13. Psychoanalysis and Literary Criticism 14. Keats’ Personal Love Poems 15. Shelley’s Personal Love Poems 16. Psychoanalytic Study of Edgar Allan Poe 17. The Ideas of Lafcadio Hearn 18. Conclusion