A Gorgon's Mask: The Mother in Thomas Mann's Fiction by Lewis A. Lawson

By Lewis A. Lawson

The thesis of A Gorgon’s masks: the mum in Thomas Mann’s Fiction is determined by 3 psychoanalytic ideas: Freud’s early paintings at the dating among the newborn 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 difficulty of sexual anxiousness in past due formative years is gifted because the defining second for his complete creative existence. within the throes of that obstacle he integrated a caricature of a feminine as Gorgon in a publication that might no longer get away his mother’s become aware of. yet to protect himself from being triumph over via the Gorgon-mother’s stare he hired the grotesque-comic sublimation, hiding the mum determine at the back of fictional characters bodily appealing yet psychologically repellent, all of the whereas couching his fiction in an ironic tone that evoked humor, despite the fact that missing in humor the subtext may be. during this demeanour he may well deny to himself that the mum determine continually lurked in his paintings, and by way of that denial deny that he used to be 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 health care professional Faustus Mann portrays Adrian Leverk?hn as, finally, the sufferer of oral regression; however the incontrovertible fact that Mann was once in a position to compete the unconventional, regardless of serious actual ailment and mental misery, demonstrates that he himself used to be nonetheless retaining writer’s block at bay. In Confessions of Felix Krull: self assurance guy, a story that he had deserted 40 years earlier than, Mann used to be ultimately compelled to recognize that he used to be depleted of inventive energy, yet now not of his potential for irony, brilliantly couching the successful go back of the repressed in ambiguity. This research might be of curiosity to common 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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Additional resources for A Gorgon's Mask: The Mother in Thomas Mann's Fiction (Psychoanalysis and Culture, 12)

Sample text

Hamilton 1979: 45). Still attractive at forty-three, she quickly became a popular hostess. In her quiet moments she was trying her hand at writing children’s stories and short stories (N. Hamilton 1979: 46). She must have decided that two writers in the family were quiet enough, for she informed Thomas that she would not support his desire to be a writer. She saw to it that within a month of his arrival, Thomas was working as an unpaid apprentice in the South German Fire Insurance Company. Apparently he was casually supervised, for he spent his time writing a short story, “Gefallen”, which appeared in October 1894 in Die Gesellschaft, the same journal that published a poem of his in October 1893 (Hayman 1995: 103).

From knowledge—is it going to destroy me? What am I suffering from? --How I hate it, this knowledge which forces even art to join it! How I hate it, this sensuality, which claims that everything fine and good is its consequence and effect. --How am I to free myself of knowledge? By religion? How am I to free myself of sexuality? By eating rice? (Winston 1981: 97) Given the context in which Mann uses the word poison, Freud’s comment about that substance should be recalled. At this point Mann breaks off the letter, perhaps hopeful that nourishment of a different sort will restore his spirits.

Apparently he was casually supervised, for he spent his time writing a short story, “Gefallen”, which appeared in October 1894 in Die Gesellschaft, the same journal that published a poem of his in October 1893 (Hayman 1995: 103). Strengthened by success, he renewed his plea to his mother, who relented, provided that he audited courses at the Technical High School that would prepare him for a career in journalism (N. Hamilton 1979: 47). Mann now had the time for his writing, even though much of the time it may have been impossible for him to concentrate.

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