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Bernstein, J.W. (2002). Drawing Memories: Edouard Manet's Remembrances of the past. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 4(2):185-211.

(2002). Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 4(2):185-211

Drawing Memories: Edouard Manet's Remembrances of the past

Jeanne Wolff Bernstein, Ph.D.

The author examines Edouard Manet's quotations of traditional masters in his work. Instead of debating whether Manet simply imitated, competed with, or paid tribute to the great painters of the past, the author suggests that Manet used the depictions of his painterly past not as a remedial but as a deliberate device. By relying primarily on Freud's Interpretation of Dreams and Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, the author interprets the traditional works embedded in Manet's paintings as dream thoughts lying behind a façade. The author examines these depictions as if they were associations and memories of Manet's painterly past and in so doing uncovers Manet's subtle use of the past as a means of articulating social commentaries and of creating dialogues with both his contemporaries as well as his predecessors. Drawing on Freud's idea of “deferred action” (Nachtraegklichkeit), the author illustrates how Manet reflects upon the present through images of the past while at the same time rearticulating the scenes of the past through the lens of the present.

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