Emblematic Mechanisms and Psychoanalysis

Iconic-Conventional Convergence and Psychoanalytic Diagnostics

  • Oleksandr Markiian Soletskyy Candidate of Sciences


In the paper the parallels between the emblematic “mechanisms” of signification and the psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund Freud as well as Carl Gustav Jung have been studied. The Austrian psychiatrist has discovered template schemes that become a visual delineation, the blueprint for developing his scientific vocabulary, methodology, classification of psycho-emotional behavioral types in mythological plots. The Eros and Thanatos images handling, the exploitation of mythical tales about Oedipus and Electra, Prometheus, Narcissus, and many other ones to specify the behavioral complexes denote the presence of “emblematic methodology” in the formation of psychoanalytic conceptions and categories. His interpretations of famous mythological plots are boiled down to emblematic reduction.

Carl Gustav Jung frequently selected symbolic notations as his research targets, which were a denotative space for expressing internal mental receptions and historic constellations of cultural axiology. In his writings we see the intention to assemble the concepts of image (iconic) and socio-cultural idea (conventional) into a sole compound that syncretically denote unity of meaning. Such an arrangement of iconic-conventional interdetermination is often significative elbowroom in Jung the decoding of which may allow to discern complex mental reflections. Notwithstanding the fact that he considers a symbol to be the standard unit of cognitive-cultural experience “conservation”, its functional semantics definition is fulfilled in emblematic patterns. This emblematic-cognitive form is not only a method of determining the initial images-ideas of the unconscious, “the mythological figures” of inner conflicts, typical experience of generations, but also the principle of justification and expression of his theory conceptual foundation. To a certain extent, it is an element of the Swiss psychologist’s scientific thinking style and language.



Alciati, A. (1621). Еmblemata cum commentariis Clavdii Minois...: & notis Lavrentii Pignorii Patavini : nouissima hac editione in continuam vnius commentarij seriem congestis, in certas quasdam quasi classes dispositis, & plusquam dimidia parte auctis. Patauij: Apud Petrum Paulum Tozzium. Retrieved from http://www.mun.ca/alciato/e069.html
Aldrovandi, U. (1667). Dendrologiae naturalis scilicet arborum historiae libri duo sylua glandaria, acinosumq. Bononiae: ex typographia Ferroniana.
Artis auriferae, quam chemiam vocant, volumen primum. (1593). Basileae : excudebat Conr. Waldkirch, expensis Claudii de Marne et Ioan. Aubry.
Baulot, I. (1677). Mutus liber, in quo tamen tota philosophia hermetica, figuris hieroglyphicis depingitur, ter optimo maximo Deo misericordi consecratus, solisque filiis artis dedicatus / authore cuius nomen est Altus. Rupellae [La Rochelles] : apud Petrum Savovret.
Bonfante, L. (2008). Freud and the psychoanalytical meaning of the Baubo gesture in ancient art. Notes in the History of Art, 27, 2-9.
Campbell, J. (2004). The hero with a thousand faces (commemorative edition). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Chyzhevsky, D. (2003a). The philosophy of H. S. Skovoroda [Filosofiia H. S. Skovorody]. Kharkiv, Ukraine: Akta.
Chyzhevsky, D. (2003b). Ukrainian literary baroque: Essays [Ukrayinsky literaturny barok: narysy]. Kharkiv, Ukraine: Akta.
Daly, P., & Silcox, M. (1990). The English emblem: Bibliography of secondary literature. New York, NY: K. G. Saur.
Daly, P. M. (1998). Literature in the light of the emblem: Structural parallels between the emblem and literature in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.
Danek, D. (1997). Poetics of a dream in operetta [Poetyka snu w Operetce]. In D. Danek, The art of understanding. Literature and psychoanalysis [Sztuka rozumienia. Literatura i psychoanaliza] (pp. 61-103). Warszawa, Poland: Instytut Badań Literackich.
Danek, D. (1997). Psychoanalysis and semiotic analysis [Psychoanaliza i analiza semiotyczna]. In D. Danek, The art of understanding. Literature and psychoanalysis [Sztuka rozumienia. Literatura i psychoanaliza] (pp. 57-60). Warszawa, Poland: Instytut Badań Literackich.
Dovhalevskyi, M. (1973). Poetics (the poetic garden) [Poetyka (sad poetychnyi]. Kyiv, Ukraine: Mystetstvo.
Durkalevych, V. (2008). Anthropology of semiotics / semiotics of anthropology: Key aspects [Antropolohiia semiotyky / semiotyka antropolohii: kliuchovi aspekty]. Studia Methodologica, 24, 32-35.
Fiała, E. (1991). Models of the Freudian method of studying a literary work [Modele freudowskiej metody badania dzieła literackiego]. Lublin, Poland: Towarzystwo naukowe Katolickiego Uniwersytetu Lublinskiego.
Forrester, J. (1980). Language and origins of psychoanalysis. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Freud, S. (1920). A general introduction to psychoanalysis. New York, NY: Horace Liveright, Inc.
Freud, S. (1932). The acquisition of fire. The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 1, 210-15. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21674086.1932.11925143
Freud, S. (1997). A mythological parallel to a visual obsession. In J. Strachey (Ed.), Writings on art and literature (pp. 180-181). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Freud, S. (1999). Leonardo da Vinci and a memory of his childhood. London, UK: Routledge.
Freud, S. (2001). Totem and taboo: Some points of agreement between the mental lives of savages and neurotics. London, UK: Routledge Classics.
Freud, S. (2009). The future of an illusion. In M. K. O’Neil, S. Akhtar (Eds.), On Freud’s “The Future of an illusion” (pp. 11-62). London, UK: Karnac Books.
Freud, S. (2010). The interpretation of dreams. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Freud, S. (2012). On narcissism: an introduction. In J. Sandler, E. S. Person, P. Fonagy (Eds.), Freud’s “On narcissism: An introduction” (pp. 3-32). London, UK: Karnac Books.
Gorobets, T., Ognivov, V., Kovalev, V. (2014). Sense, sign, symbol, fractal – the study of perception by means of oculography [Smysl, znak, simvol, fraktal – issledovaniye vospriyatiya metodom okulografii]. World of Psychology [Mir psikhologii], 1, 165-176.
Grigorjeva, Je. (2005). Emblem: Essays on theory and pragmatics of regular mechanisms in culture [Emblema: Ocherki po teorii i pragmatike regulyarnykh mekhanizmov kultury]. Moscow, Russia: Vodoley Publishers.
Grof, S. (1993). The holotropic mind: The three levels of human consciousness and how they shape our lives. New York, NY: HarperOne.
Hermes, Tr. (1610). Tractatus vere aureus, de lapidis philosophici secreto, in capitula septem divisus nunc verò a quodam anonymo, scholijs tàm exquisitè & acutè illustratus, ... tandem operâ & studio Dominici Gnosij Belgae, ... in lucem editus. sumptibus Thomae Schureri.
Jung, C. G. (1964). Approaching the unconscious. In C. G. Jung, M.-L. von Franz, J. L. Henderson, J. Jacobi, A. Jaffe (Eds.), Man and his symbols (pp. 18-103). New York, NY: Doubleday.
Jung, C. G. (1969). The archetypes and the collective unconscious. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Jung, C. G. (1976). The symbolic life: Miscellaneous writings. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Jung, C. G. (1989). Memories, dreams, reflections. New York, NY: Vintage Books.
Lacan, J. (1989). The agency of the letter in the unconscious or reason since Freud. Ecrits: a selection (pp. 161-197). London, UK: Routledge.
Manning, J. (2002). The emblem. London, UK: Reaktion Books.
Markowski, P. M. (2006). Psychoanalysis [Psychoanaliza]. In A. Burzyńska, P. M. Markowski, Literary theories of the 20th century [Teorie literatury XX wieku] (pp. 45-78). Kraków, Poland: Znak.
Mikhailov, A. (1994). Baroque poetics: The end of a rhetorical era [Poetika barokko: zavershenie ritoricheskoi epokhi]. In A. Mikhailov, Historical poetics. Literary epochs and types of artistic consciousness [Istoricheskaia poetika. Literaturnye epokhi i tipy khudozhestvennogo soznaniia] (pp. 326-391). Moscow, Russia: Nasledie.

Petrushkevych, А. (2011). The scientific basis of unconscious [Zmist poniattia nesvidomoho u riznykh naukovykh metodolohichnykh systemakh]. Scientific bulletin of Chernivtsi University: Collection of research papers [Naukoviy Visnyk Chernivetskoho Universitetu: Zbirnyk Nauk. Prats], 563-534, Philosophy [Filosofia], 84-89.
Romek, E. (1997). The issue of first impetus or on “the logical unconscious” of Carl Gustav Jung [Problema pervotolchka, ili o “logicheskom bessoznatelnom” K.-G. Yunga]. Moscow Psychotherapeutic Journal [Moskovskiy psikhoterapevticheskiy zhurnal], 1, 5-20.
Shamdasani, S. (2003). Jung and the making of modern psychology: The dream of a science. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Shelestiuk, E. V. (1997). On linguistic study of symbol (literature review) [O lingvisticheskom issledovanii simvola (obzor literatury)]. Topics in the Study of Language [Voprosy Jazykoznanija], 4, 125-143.
Soletskyy, O. (2018). Discourse emblematic forms: From myth to postmodernism [Emblematychni formy dyskursu: Vid mifu do postmodernizmu]. Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine: Lileia-NV.
Spolsky, E. (2015). The contracts of fiction: Cognition, culture, community. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Svirepo, O. A. (2004). Image, symbol, metaphor in modern psychotherapy [Obraz, simvol, metafora v sovremennoy psikhoterapii]. Moscow, Russia: Izd-vo In-ta psikhotyerapii.
Tesing, Ya., Kopiyevskiy, I. (1705). Symbols and Emblemata (Symbola et Emblemata selecta) [Simvoly i Emblemata (Symbola et Emblemata selecta)]. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: tipografiya Genrikha Vetsteyna.
Turner-Cory, A. (1840). The hieroglyphics of Horapollo Nilous. London, UK: William Pickering, MDCCCXL.
Vashchenko, V. V. (2014). Psychoanalysis as a historical subject: An archeological discourse in Freud’s texts [Psykhoanaliz yak istorychna dystsyplina: arkheolohichnyi dyskurs u tekstakh Z. Froida]. Scientific Herald of the International Humanitarian University [Naukovyi visnyk Mizhnarodnoho humanitarnoho universytetu], 6, History, Philosophy, Political Science [Istoriia, Filosofiia, Politolohiia], 25-31.
Vasmer, M. (1987). Etymological dictionary of the Russian language in 4 vols. Vol. 4 (2nd ed.) [Etimologicheskii slovar russkogo yazyka v 4 toma. Tom 4, 2-e izd.]. Moscow, Russia: Progress.
Warlick, M. (1998). The domestic alchemist: Women as housewives in alchemical emblem. Glasgow Emblem Studies, 3, 25-49.
How to Cite
Soletskyy, O. (2019). Emblematic Mechanisms and Psychoanalysis. Language and Psychoanalysis, 8(2), 4-29. https://doi.org/10.7565/landp.v8i2.1602
Original Articles