Berlin Psychoanalytic: Psychoanalysis and Culture in Weimar Republic Germany and Beyond

By Veronika Fuechtner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
Berlin Dada and Psychoanalysis
in New York:
Richard Huelsenbeck and Charles Hulbeck
Talk to Karen Horney

This final chapter presents a different story of exile, ending, and continuity for the Berlin Psychoanalytic. Richard Huelsenbeck’s trajectory from agent of the Berlin Dada art movement to its living testimonial, and from Berlin psychiatry and psychoanalysis to New York psychoanalysis and, finally, psychiatry again, occurred at the very moment when Freudian psychoanalysis in the United States ceased to be part of the cultural avant-garde and became a psychiatric discipline. Huelsenbeck met Horney in his Berlin years, after the BPI had become an important institution of Weimar Berlin intellectual life. Horney was to become a crucial psychoanalytic interlocutor for Huelsenbeck during his exile in New York. His interest in maintaining a connection between artistic expression and psychoanalytic practice ultimately led him to engage with both existential psychoanalysis and select aspects of psychoanalytic Marxism.

Whereas the experience of fascism and exile became a crucial motor in Arnold Zweig’s deployment of psychoanalytic theory, Huelsenbeck’s main motivation was to illuminate the relationship between self, art, and the world. Huelsenbeck’s psychoanalytic writings from his New York years rework the history of modernism—he reinterprets Dada, the aesthetic revolt against World War I, as an existential mode. His writings from this period also implicitly rework modernist fantasies, including the racial fantasies that appeared in Groddeck’s work and the images of sexuality that dominated Weimar Republic Berlin. If Zweig’s

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