By Lewis A. Lawson
The thesis of A Gorgon’s masks: the mummy in Thomas Mann’s Fiction will depend on 3 psychoanalytic ideas: Freud’s early paintings at the courting among the child 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 early life is gifted because the defining second for his whole creative existence. within the throes of that trouble he incorporated a cartoon of a feminine as Gorgon in a publication that might now not get away his mother’s realize. yet to guard himself from being conquer through the Gorgon-mother’s stare he hired the grotesque-comic sublimation, hiding the mum determine in the back of fictional characters bodily appealing yet psychologically repellent, all of the whereas couching his fiction in an ironic tone that evoked humor, even though missing in humor the subtext may be. during this demeanour he might deny to himself that the mummy determine continuously lurked in his paintings, and through that denial deny that he was once a sufferer of oral regression. For, as Edmund Bergler argues, the artistic author who recognizes his oral dependency will necessarily succumb to writer’s block. Mann’s overdue paintings unearths that his safety opposed to the Gorgon is crumbling. In physician Faustus Mann portrays Adrian Leverk?hn as, eventually, the sufferer of oral regression; however the incontrovertible fact that Mann was once capable of compete the radical, regardless of serious actual sickness and mental misery, demonstrates that he himself used to be nonetheless protecting writer’s block at bay. In Confessions of Felix Krull: self belief guy, a story that he had deserted 40 years prior to, Mann was once eventually pressured to recognize that he was once depleted of inventive energy, yet now not of his capability for irony, brilliantly couching the positive go back of the repressed in ambiguity. This research may be of curiosity to basic readers who get pleasure from Mann’s narrative artwork, to scholars of Mann’s paintings, particularly its mental and mythological facets, 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)
At seventeen Herr Friedemann leaves school to begin a career in business. The supreme ambition of his life is now to reach the goal of peacefulness—his surname indicates his self-conception (and it recalls the 1896 letters of a Mann seeking peace). Thus Friedemann practices ingratiation and industry. The death of his mother, when he is twenty-one, does not really affect him, either with sadness or with Early Works 48 jubilation, for he had, by repressing the memory of his trauma, always defended himself against the physical presence which had caused it.
Naples was a prosperous provincial and municipal town still largely Greek in its culture, institutions, and population” (Hutton 1958: 11). Thus there were still many Gorgoneions in Naples and environs to catch Mann’s attention, in the Archeological Museum (De Caro 1994: 39) and at Pompeii (Brion: 199). At some point Mann must have unconsciously connected the Gorgoneions that he was seeing with the visage of the frowning or impassive maternal face so memorable from his childhood. It is possible, too, that Mann identified his mother with Medusa because of the effect that her stare had upon him.
The key words in the opening paragraph are “nurse” and “nourishing”. The “nurse” is a wet nurse, as the German word Amme indicates; she was hired because she was already nursing an infant of her own, thus capable of relieving Frau Consul Friedemann of the responsibility of breastfeeding Johannes. The translator of the first American publication of Early Works 45 the story, Herman George Scheffauer, bluntly begins, “It was the fault of the wet-nurse” (1928: 203). Although Mrs. Lowe-Porter translates Amme simply as “nurse”, she knew the meaning the word conveyed, for she supplied a reason for the daily beer-ration, “the beer which was needed for the milk” (Stories 3), the German text making no reference to milk.
A Gorgon's Mask: The Mother in Thomas Mann's Fiction (Psychoanalysis and Culture, 12) by Lewis A. Lawson