Thursday, May 14, 2009

Freud's Leonardo DaVinci (1452-1519)

Sigmund Freud --the father of Psychoanalysis-- published a controversial monograph on Leonardo DaVinci's purported homosexuality. Because Freud admired Leonardo as a true Renaissance man --in the same league as Francis Bacon and Nicolas Copernicus -- he wanted to offer a plausible scientific explanation for Leonardo's sexual proclivities.

His research lead him to the artist's traumatic childhood.

Freud also explains why Leonardo was a great starter but a poor finisher.

Much of Freud's conclusions depend on a fantasy that Leonardo recorded in his notebooks:
... while I was in my cradle a vulture came down to me, and opened my mouth with its tail, and struck me many times with its tail against my lips.

From this Freud constructs a dubious edifice about Leonardo. The fact that Freud used a bad translation (vulture--a large scavenger bird-- instead of the more appropriate 'kite' which is a small bird) ruins his entire analysis. By repeating the myth that vultures reproduce without assistance from a male, Freud concludes that since "he had a mother but no father," Leonardo "was able to identify himself with the child Christ."

Given the close relationship that Leonardo had with his mother, Freud even dares to translate the vulture fantasy as: "It was through this erotic relation with my mother that I became a homosexual."

Today, we should consider this monograph --Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of His Childhood-- as a curiosity that mars Freud's entire theory of psychoanalysis as speculation and weird interpretation.

The writing techniques I use are explained in Mary Duffy's Toolbox for Writers e-book.

Mary Duffy's Toolbox for Writers


Augustine, City of God
Austen J, Pride and Prejudice
Austen J, "Marriage Proposals and Me"
Austen J, Emma
Borges, The Aleph
C. Bronte, Jane Eyre
Burroughs E,Tarzan
Cervantes, Don Quijote
Chaucer, Wife of Bath
Coelho P,The Alchemist
Coyle H, They Are Soldiers
Dante, New Life
Dickens C, David Copperfield
Dostoevsky, Crime&Punishment
ConanDoyle,Hound of Baskervilles
Dubner S, Superfreakonomics

DuMaurier D, Rebecca
Ellis B. E. American Psycho
Fitzgerald S, Great Gatsby
Flaubert G, Madame Bovary
Fleming I,Doctor No
Freud S, Leonardo Da Vinci
Friedan B, Feminine Mystique
GarciaMarquez, Of Love & OtherDemons
GarciaMarquez,OneHundredYrs
Guerrero M,ThePoison Pill

Grass G, The Tin Drum
Harris T, Hannibal Rising
Heidegger M,House of Being
Ishiguro K, Remains of The Day
Johnson S,Rasselas
Kafka,Metamorphosis
Kosinski J, The Painted Bird
Lee H,To Kill a Mockingbird
McBain Ed,Gutter and Grave
Murakami H,Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Nabokov V, Lolita
Meyer, S, Twilight
Ortega,Dehumanization of Art
Poe E A, Gordon Pym
Prose F, Reading Like a Writer
Rushdie S,Midnight Children
Sabatini R, Scaramouche
Spark M, Prime of Miss Brodie

Stendhal, Red and Black
Sterne L,Tristram Shandy
Stevenson R, Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde
Stoker B, Dracula
Thackeray W,History of Pendennis
Tolstoy L, Anna Karenina
Trollope A, Autobiography
Unamuno M, Tragic Sense of Life
Voltaire, Candide
Webb J, Fields of Fire
Wharton E, The House of Mirth
Woolf V, To The Lighhouse


The secrets of 'no-doze' prose:
Mary Duffy's Sentence Openers



Lindsey Vonn after winning the Downhill World ...
Image via Wikipedia

Lindsey Vonn


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