While the excesses of perversion were probably confined to a comparatively small class within the community, the taste for violence and the ruthless readiness to ignore the interests of others seem to have been widespread. Some very grave disturbance of the child’s emotional links with the parent must have been occurring to produce such violence of aggression, such denial of feeling. Evidently there were powerful resentments directed towards the mother, uneasily combined with a powerful need to identify with her. Only thorough research into the circumstances of child upbringing will throw light on why this occurred.
Certainly it was an age of failure to sublimate sexual libido. Failure to sublimate normally directed libido would help to account for the absence of romantic love— and hence for the Romantic Protest which was to flare up later in the century.
All in all, it may be regarded, I think, as a demonstration of what happens when there is failure to form a superego, and it is this which distinguishes it from periods of matrism. The frank sexuality of the pagan Celt or of the characters in Brantome, though not always devoid of violence, nevertheless has little in common with the obsessive need for sexual stimulus with its taints of sadism and perversion, which we find in the Age of Reason. Thus the period demonstrates something which the patrists find so hard to understand, the difference between licence and freedom.