Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To see statistics of the Most Popular Journal Articles on PEP-Web…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Statistics of the Most Popular Journal Articles on PEP-Web can be reviewed at any time. Just click the “See full statistics” link located at the end of the Most Popular Journal Articles list in the PEP Section.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Beres, D. (1965). Goethe. A Psychoanalytic Study 1775-1786. Two Volumes: By K. R. Eissler, M.D. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1963. 1538 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 34:447-450.

(1965). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 34:447-450

Goethe. A Psychoanalytic Study 1775-1786. Two Volumes: By K. R. Eissler, M.D. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1963. 1538 pp.

Review by:
David Beres

An adequate review of this monumental work, which brings us only to the fortieth year of Goethe's life, would require the knowledge of a combined Goethe scholar and psychoanalyst. There can be few besides the author who fulfil these qualifications. I must limit myself to comments about psychoanalytic aspects of the book.

First, some statistical data. The two large volumes include twenty-three appendices (in smaller type) in two hundred eighty-eight pages, a bibliography of five hundred sixty-two titles, and an excellent index. The detail and erudition give evidence of years of thoughtful study and must surely render this work an invaluable source for anyone interested in the life and works of Goethe, whether he agrees or disagrees with the author's conclusions.

Freud, in his address delivered at the Goethe House when he received the Goethe Prize, asked what Goethe's biographers might achieve. He said, 'Even the best and the fullest of them could not answer the two questions which alone seem worth knowing about. It would not throw any light on the riddle of the miraculous gift that makes an artist, and it could not help us to comprehend any better the value and the effect of his works.' He says further: 'Psychoanalysis can supply some information which cannot be arrived at by other means, and can thus demonstrate new connecting threads in the "weaver's masterpiece" spread between the instinctual endowments, the experiences, and the works of an artist. Since it is one of the principal functions of our thinking to master the material of the external world psychically, it seems to me that thanks are due to psychoanalysis if, when it is applied to a great man, it contributes to the understanding of his great achievement.' But Freud warns that 'in the case of Goethe we have not succeeded very far. This is because Goethe was not only, as a poet, a great self-revealer, but also, in spite of the abundance of autobiographical records, a careful concealer.' Does Dr. Eissler bring us further in our understanding of Goethe, the man, his works, and his gift?

In his introduction Dr. Eissler states that he does not aim to

- 447 -

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2017, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.