By Lewis A. Lawson
The thesis of A Gorgon’s masks: the mummy in Thomas Mann’s Fiction depends on 3 psychoanalytic innovations: Freud’s early paintings at the courting among the baby and its mom and at the psychology of creative construction, Annie Reich’s research of the grotesque-comic sublimation, and Edmund Bergler’s research of writer’s block. Mann’s obstacle of sexual nervousness in overdue formative years is gifted because the defining second for his whole inventive existence. within the throes of that problem he incorporated a caricature of a feminine as Gorgon in a booklet that will no longer break out his mother’s detect. yet to protect himself from being triumph over through the Gorgon-mother’s stare he hired the grotesque-comic sublimation, hiding the mum determine in the back of fictional characters bodily beautiful yet psychologically repellent, all of the whereas couching his fiction in an ironic tone that evoked humor, notwithstanding missing in humor the subtext will be. during this demeanour he may perhaps deny to himself that the mum determine regularly lurked in his paintings, and through that denial deny that he was once a sufferer of oral regression. For, as Edmund Bergler argues, the inventive author who recognizes his oral dependency will necessarily succumb to writer’s block. Mann’s past due paintings unearths that his safeguard opposed to the Gorgon is crumbling. In medical professional Faustus Mann portrays Adrian Leverk?hn as, eventually, the sufferer of oral regression; however the incontrovertible fact that Mann used to be capable of compete the radical, regardless of serious actual disease and mental misery, demonstrates that he himself used to be nonetheless keeping writer’s block at bay. In Confessions of Felix Krull: self belief guy, a story that he had deserted 40 years prior to, Mann used to be eventually pressured to recognize that he was once depleted of inventive power, yet now not of his ability for irony, brilliantly couching the successful go back of the repressed in ambiguity. This examine may be of curiosity to normal readers who get pleasure from Mann’s narrative paintings, to scholars of Mann’s paintings, in particular its mental and mythological elements, and to scholars of the psychology of inventive creativity.
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Extra info for A Gorgon's Mask: The Mother in Thomas Mann's Fiction (Psychoanalysis and Culture, 12)
The next typical danger situation for the child is the loss of love of a person of its environment on whom it must depend for gratification. In other words, even though the person is present, the child may fear the loss of its love. ” The next, typical danger situation is different for the two sexes. In the case of the little boy the danger is the loss of his penis, which is referred to as castration in the psychoanalytic literature. In the case of the little girl the danger is some analogous genital injury.
Mann recalled, too, that Nösselt’s book had a “Pallas Athena on the cover” (Kerényi 1975: 191, “On Myself” 138). A rendering of Pallas Athena would undoubtedly include the Gorgoneion, specifically the head of Medusa, on the goddess’s breastplate or on her shield or her aegis, depending upon which version of the myth the illustrator was following. The Gorgoneion recalls the daring feat of Perseus, ‘the Cutter’ (Feldman 1965: 492), who decapitated Medusa and presented the fruit of his act to his patroness Athena.
The fact that Mann did not try to place “Little Herr Friedemann” before he left on his trip allows speculation that he might have revised the story in response to his Italian experience. After spending three weeks in Venice and two days in Rome, Mann arrived in Naples on 4 November 1896. His month-long stay was to bring his crisis to a head. Heilbut notes that “[y]ears later, he characterized this period as haunted by a ‘psychological susceptibility, a power of vision, a melancholy, which even today I hardly understand, but under which I had to suffer indescribably’” (1996: 75).