A Gorgon's Mask: The Mother in Thomas Mann's Fiction

A Gorgon's Mask: The Mother in Thomas Mann's Fiction

A Gorgon's Mask: The Mother in Thomas Mann's Fiction

A Gorgon's Mask: The Mother in Thomas Mann's Fiction

Synopsis

"The thesis of A Gorgon's Mask: the Mother in Thomas Mann's Fiction depends upon three psychoanalytic concepts: Freud's early work on the relationship between the infant and its mother and on the psychology of artistic creation, Annie Reich's analysis of the grotesque-comic sublimation, and Edmund Bergler's analysis of writer's block. Mann's crisis of sexual anxiety in late adolescence is presented as the defining moment for his entire artistic life. In the throes of that crisis he included a sketch of a female as Gorgon in a book that would not escape his mother's notice. But to defend himself from being overcome by the Gorgon-mother's stare he employed the grotesque-comic sublimation, hiding the mother figure behind fictional characters physically attractive but psychologically repellent, all the while couching his fiction in an ironic tone that evoked humor, however lacking in humor the subtext might be. In this manner he could deny to himself that the mother figure always lurked in his work, and by that denial deny that he was a victim of oral regression. For, as Edmund Bergler argues, the creative writer who acknowledges his oral dependency will inevitably succumb to writer's block." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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