Latency Period (89 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

  • Editors
  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume : WORLD HISTORY AND IDEAS: A CROSS-CULTURAL VOLUME.


Freud uses this term in Part II, 6, of Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905) to describe the period between the genital phase (ages 2 to 5) and puberty, during which the sexual aims of the child are as if dormant. The concept is of particular literary interest since it may be used to explain various periods of dormancy in folk tales, notably the period between Sleeping Beauty's symbolic initiation to sexual awareness when she pricks her finger on the spinning wheel, and her eventual reawakening and marriage to the Prince.

Editors. "Latency Period". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 October 2005
[, accessed 28 October 2016.]