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Sex and Religion : Two Texts of Early Feminist Psychoanalysis (Hardcover) (Lou Andreas-Salome)
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As a psychoanalyst and author, Lou Andreas-Salomé traverses the mystery of sexuality in much of her work. This book, comprised of two texts originally written for adolescents, uniquely explores sexual education and the collision of sexuality and religion across the lifespan.
The first piece, “Three Letters to a Young Boy" (1917), is a psychoanalytic fairy tale. The letters offer an interesting version of the evolution of sexual knowledge from childhood through adolescence. The second piece, “The Devil & His Grandmother" (1922), merges sexuality with religion, encapsulating three ages of woman—child, to a lost soul and the Devil’s bride, to the Devil’s Grandmother. Written in charmingly convoluted dialogue, this work has a cinematic, fanciful feel. Both pieces dispense with academic formality and point to a relaxed new phase in Salomé’s writing life. Interestingly, this tone can also be detected in her blossoming correspondence with Sigmund Freud, which contrasts starkly with her somber letters to Rainer Maria Rilke.
It is with the spirit of free thinking demonstrated in these two selections, perhaps informed by Salomé’s experimentation with free association, that the reader is transported to a new theatre of Salomé’s imagination.