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Neumarkt, P. (1974). Gerhart and Carl Hauptmann. Am. Imago, 31(3):316-318.

(1974). American Imago, 31(3):316-318

Review of Current Book

Gerhart and Carl Hauptmann

Review by:
Paul Neumarkt, Ph.D.

Dr. Jofen's book Das Letzte Geheimnis is a detailed scholarly analysis of the works of the two brothers Gerhart and Carl Hauptmann. This is possibly the first study analyzing two brothers, showing how the family background gave rise to different symbols. One is awed by the wealth of material the author has gathered for her literary construct to yield their “last secret”. Dr. Jofen's premiss is that all efforts to explain the works of the Hauptmann brothers from a single aspect have failed and she attempts to absorb every last line of all the works into the schema. This premiss leads us nolens volens to the question of whether this is a viable approach in a”psychological study.”

Freud offered no blueprint for the relationship between literature and psychoanalysis. However, it is clear that applied psychoanalysis needs to deal with more than subliminal projections and their absorption into the conscious ego sphere. It would have to probe the entire nexus of the psyche within which the artist's symbolic substrata react to the proddings of the ego. Put otherwise: the crucial problem in applied psychoanalysis is to analytically restore the process by means of which the artistic creation is externalized. This would, indeed, “lead us to the last secret,” even as its practical application remains elusive to a large extent.

From a literary point of view, Dr. Jofen's book represents an excellent and exhaustive source for Hauptmann scholars. With untiring effort, the author sifts the works of the brothers in support of her findings. One comes away with the feeling that she has not left a single item untouched.

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