Oedipus in the Trobriands

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Oedipus in the Trobriands
Oedipus in the Trobriands.jpg
Cover of the first edition
Author Melford Spiro
Country United States
Language English
Subject Oedipus complex
Published 1982 (The University of Chicago Press)
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages 200
ISBN 978-1560006275

Oedipus in the Trobriands is a 1982 book about the Oedipus complex by anthropologist Melford Spiro.[1]


Spiro discusses the Oedipus complex; he notes that there is already a vast literature on the topic.[1] Influenced by psychoanalysis, he attempts to refute Bronislaw Malinowski's skepticism about the applicability of Sigmund Freud's ideas to the Trobriand Islanders, using Malinowski's own materials.[2]


Ruth Solie gave Oedipus in the Trobriands a mixed review in Library Journal, writing that while the book "will appeal to those interested in incest and psychological universals, interpreting the unconscious meanings of symbolic forms is a delicate, and often controversial, task."[3] Historian Peter Gay, writing in Freud: A Life for Our Time (1988), described Spiro's book as "brilliant".[2]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b Spiro 1982. p. ix.
  2. ^ a b Gay 1995. p. 766.
  3. ^ Solie 1983. p. 218.


  • Gay, Peter (1995). Freud: A Life for Our Time. London: Papermac. ISBN 0-333-48638-2. 
  • Spiro, Melford E. (1982). Oedipus in the Trobriands. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-76989-5. 
  • Solie, Ruth (1983). "Oedipus in the Trobriands (Book)". Library Journal. 108 (3).   – via EBSCO's Academic Search Complete (subscription required)