By Lewis A. Lawson
The thesis of A Gorgon’s masks: the mum in Thomas Mann’s Fiction depends on 3 psychoanalytic ideas: Freud’s early paintings at the dating among the child and its mom and at the psychology of inventive construction, Annie Reich’s research of the grotesque-comic sublimation, and Edmund Bergler’s research of writer’s block. Mann’s quandary of sexual nervousness in overdue early life is gifted because the defining second for his complete creative lifestyles. within the throes of that drawback he integrated a comic strip of a feminine as Gorgon in a publication that may 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 mummy determine in the back of fictional characters bodily appealing yet psychologically repellent, all of the whereas couching his fiction in an ironic tone that evoked humor, notwithstanding missing in humor the subtext should be. during this demeanour he may deny to himself that the mummy determine consistently lurked in his paintings, and by means of 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 overdue paintings finds that his safety opposed to the Gorgon is crumbling. In health care provider Faustus Mann portrays Adrian Leverk?hn as, eventually, the sufferer of oral regression; however the indisputable fact that Mann was once capable of compete the radical, regardless of critical actual ailment and mental misery, demonstrates that he himself was once nonetheless maintaining writer’s block at bay. In Confessions of Felix Krull: self assurance guy, a story that he had deserted 40 years sooner than, Mann used to be ultimately compelled to recognize that he was once depleted of artistic power, yet no longer of his skill for irony, brilliantly couching the triumphant go back of the repressed in ambiguity. This learn can be of curiosity to basic readers who get pleasure from Mann’s narrative paintings, to scholars of Mann’s paintings, in particular its mental and mythological features, and to scholars of the psychology of creative creativity.
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Additional resources for A Gorgon's Mask: The Mother in Thomas Mann's Fiction (Psychoanalysis and Culture, 12)
But first and always foremost, Hermes represented for Mann a contradictory figure, the temptation of dreams of sexual bliss at the breast versus the temptation of homosexual sensuousness whose actualization would be fatal. Hofmann’s painting has another meaning. The homoerotic element is made prominent by one youth, erect but bent forward with his weight resting upon his left knee, gazing fixedly at the drinking youth’s buttocks. But an object-relations element is announced by the Early Works 37 second observant youth, reclining on an elbow so that his plumbingless pubes are revealed, who directs his gaze toward the youth’s mouth as he drinks the quenching water.
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. Perseus’ patron was Hermes, who was thus an enemy of Medusa: knowledge of that patronage may have increased Mann’s attraction to the wingéd-sandaled one. As Mann learned the myths of Pallas Athena and Medusa that he found in Nösselt’s Lehrbuch he might have intuited a distinction between the two females that Edelman emphasizes: Pallas Athena 38 Early Works possesses the qualities of the Great Mother (1998: 51), while Medusa is related to the Terrible Mother (1998: 63).
You think it is a pity? You would be well advised to make a similar purge. It has done me a lot of good. One is literally liberated from the past to live light-heartedly and harmlessly in the present and the future. (qtd. ) That he burned some of his stories, as well as his diary, argues that he was already drawn to his past for material, an act that he would never abandon. Only a month after he claimed to be “liberated from the past to live light-heartedly and harmlessly in the present and the future”, he was railing to Grautoff about Munich: “Is it not the unliterary city par excellence?