October 24, 2012
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
So-called Sappho, fourth style fresco; Pompeii, Region VI, Insula occidentalis. A young woman is shown with a pen (stylus) that is used to enscribe writing on the wax tablets she is holding. The net in her hair is made of golden threads and typical for the fashion of the Neronian period.
When a tower is not just a tower, my third post on sexual symbolism.
Before psychoanalysis, works such as Life Symbols As Related To Sex Symbolism (1904) claimed that "Pillars, obelisks, columns, monoliths and shafts have an undoubted phallic origin and as symbols of creative energy they were objects of reverential worship among all ancient races" and that the cross represents "two human figures crossed."
The Hineininterpretierung of sexual symbolism reached its apex with Freud's publication of The Interpretation of Dreams, in which, for example, Freud and Rank interpreted the following dream of a man (here cited from the A. A. Brill translation): "Between two stately palaces stands a little house, receding somewhat, whose doors are closed. My wife leads me a little way along the street up to the little house, and pushes in the door, and then I slip quickly and easily into the interior of a courtyard that slants obliquely upwards."
Freud's interpretation reads: "Anyone who has had experience in the translating of dreams will of course, immediately perceive that penetrating into narrow spaces, and opening locked doors, belong to the commonest sexual symbolism, and will easily find in this dream a representation of attempted coition from behind (between the two stately buttocks of the female body). The narrow slanting passage is of course the vagina."