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Sterba, E. (1951). The Schoolboy Suicide in Andre Gide's Novel: The Counterfeiters. Am. Imago, 8(3):307-320.

(1951). American Imago, 8(3):307-320

The Schoolboy Suicide in Andre Gide's Novel: The Counterfeiters1

Editha Sterba

We shall certainly not go astray in attempting to derive a contribution to the problem of suicide from literary artists who have furnished us with valuable hints or confirmations in so many other areas of psychopathology.

Writers indeed have certain qualities which fit them for such a task; more especially, a sensitiveness of perception in regard to the hidden feelings of others, and the courage to give voice to their own unconscious minds.(2)

At the midpoint of Andre Gide's great psychological novel, The Counterfeiters, we find the suicide of an adolescent which is committed under particularly strange circumstances.

However, before we attempt to determine whether the analysis of this fictional suicide can make any contribution to the problem of suicide itself, we must first answer another question. The Counterfeiters is, both as to conteent and as to manner of presentation, clearly influenced by psychoanalysis. The supposition may perhaps even be ventured that the very genesis of the novel has an intimate connection with the attempt of psychoanalysis to furnish an explanation of the artistic creative process.

We must therefore consider the question whether a literary work whose author approaches the representation of mental conflicts armed with the tools of psychoanalysis and elaborates in his writing the conclusions drawn from the psychology of children and adolescents is at all capable of furnishing psychoanalysis further insights.

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