The Childhood of Art: An Interpretation of Freud's Aesthetics

The Childhood of Art: An Interpretation of Freud's Aesthetics

The Childhood of Art: An Interpretation of Freud's Aesthetics

The Childhood of Art: An Interpretation of Freud's Aesthetics

Excerpt

Doesn't Freud himself declare that the interests of psychoanalysis from the point of view of art are very limited indeed? Under these circumstances, the resistance with which attempts to "apply" psychoanalysis to art met and continue to meet might appear unjustified. And yet this undertaking encountered vehement opposition that took the same form as the initial resistance to psychoanalysis: vehement rejection and incomprehension, accusations of pansexualism and degradation of the highest cultural values. Therein lies the explanation for Freud's caution, his care in defining precisely the task of psychoanalysis in the aesthetic realm, the polemical character of most of his writings, and the nuances introduced from one work to the other as resistances are overcome. But since the resistances are never abolished once and for all, a more or less deliberate self-censorship persists in Freud's discourse.

These few remarks guide my reading of Freud's texts. They enjoin us to distinguish the works in which he sets out the relations between psychoanalysis and art (noting the differences he introduces from one work to the other) from the works where he engages in an "application," and to distinguish what Freud declares in his . . .

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