By Lewis A. Lawson
The thesis of A Gorgon’s masks: the mummy in Thomas Mann’s Fiction is determined by 3 psychoanalytic ideas: Freud’s early paintings at the dating 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 hindrance of sexual nervousness in past due youth is gifted because the defining second for his complete inventive existence. within the throes of that drawback he integrated a caricature of a feminine as Gorgon in a publication that might no longer break out his mother’s detect. yet to protect himself from being conquer by means of 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, even though missing in humor the subtext should be. during this demeanour he might deny to himself that the mummy determine consistently lurked in his paintings, and through that denial deny that he used to be a sufferer of oral regression. For, as Edmund Bergler argues, the artistic author who recognizes his oral dependency will unavoidably succumb to writer’s block. Mann’s past due paintings unearths that his protection opposed to the Gorgon is crumbling. In surgeon Faustus Mann portrays Adrian Leverk?hn as, finally, the sufferer of oral regression; however the undeniable fact that Mann was once capable of compete the radical, regardless of serious actual ailment and mental misery, demonstrates that he himself was once nonetheless keeping writer’s block at bay. In Confessions of Felix Krull: self assurance guy, a story that he had deserted 40 years earlier than, Mann was once ultimately compelled to recognize that he was once depleted of artistic power, yet now not of his skill for irony, brilliantly couching the triumphant go back of the repressed in ambiguity. This examine can be of curiosity to common readers who take pleasure in Mann’s narrative paintings, to scholars of Mann’s paintings, specifically its mental and mythological elements, and to scholars of the psychology of inventive creativity.
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Additional resources for A Gorgon's Mask: The Mother in Thomas Mann's Fiction (Psychoanalysis and Culture, 12)
Now diminished to the Graiai, probably with one eye and one tooth between them (Rose 1959: 29), they are cooped up within the house, while he sits in the vulviform tent. There he enjoys that renowned substitute for the “good breast”, the “good cigar”. As Hans Castorp might say, his life is “hermetic”. But the day comes when Friedemann sees Gerda von Rinnlingen, the wife of the new district commander. Friedemann is indulging his“delophilia”: He was strolling, tiny and self-important, alongside Wholesaler Stephens, an unusually big and burly man with rounded sideburns and dreadfully bushy eyebrows.
A very recent critic, Parkes-Perret, argues that Mann included the nurse in the story for literary reasons: Mann appears to have borrowed a secondary, ironic motif, that of the unreliable nurse, from Euripides’ drama, giving his story a uniquely ironic twist as well. In Hippolytos, the nurse causes, first, Phaidra’s suicide and, then, the ensuing unfolding of the entire tragedy by running to tell chaste Hippolytos of his stepmother’s passionate love for him. It is a fatal miscalculation on the nurse’s part for she had hoped to bring about an assignation between the two.
Naples is more plebeian, but with a naive, lovable, gracious, and amusing vulgarity. ] I have been closely studying this physiognomy for four days; its sensual, sweet southern beauty grips me more and more. About the preceding paragraph, Winston wisely notes: “These are suspiciously equivocal terms for the description of a city, especially when we learn that the young letter writer is ‘a little weary from loneliness’” (1981: 96). Perhaps fearing to engage in any more introspection, Mann tries in the next paragraph of the letter to be an ordinary tourist: Die Via Santa Lucia, an der ich wohne, hat vielleicht das urwüchsigste und ungenierteste Volksleben.