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Millet, J.A. (1938). Freud, Goethe, and Wagner: By Thomas Mann. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1937. 211 pp. Lectures delivered at the New School for Social Research in New York City in 1937.. Psychoanal Q., 7:143-148.
    

(1938). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 7:143-148

Freud, Goethe, and Wagner: By Thomas Mann. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1937. 211 pp. Lectures delivered at the New School for Social Research in New York City in 1937.

Review by:
John A.P. Millet

In choosing these three subjects for his lectures at the New School for Social Research it is apparent that Thomas Mann was as much inspired by his realization of their significance to the modern psychologist as by his rare appreciation of their genius. It is in fact his critique of their psychological significance to the ages in which they lived that gives unity to this collection of essays.

In discussing Freud the author stresses the 'mysterious union of the Ego and actuality' as a truth whose demonstration is the alpha and omega of psychoanalysis. He goes on to say that there is an essential relationship between literature and science which has hitherto been unacknowledged, and he celebrates this lecture as the occasion of the first official meeting between literature and psychoanalysis.

In paying tribute to Freud's originality he calls him a solitary figure, a 'Knight between Death and the Devil', who had no knowledge of the philosophies of Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, despite the fact that they may be considered his immediate philosophical ancestors.

He defines the bond between the science of psychoanalysis and the poetic-creative impulse as 'love of Truth, a sense of Truth, a sensitiveness and receptivity for Truth's sweet and bitter … and an understanding of disease and its productive significance'. In support of this definition he quotes from Nietzsche and Victor Hugo. Speaking from the viewpoint of a man of letters, he makes an ardent defense of the psychoanalytical approach to the problems of normal psychology through its investigations of psychopathological phenomena. He expresses his gratitude for his introduction to psychoanalytical concepts by young workers in the field who had shown interest in his writings. Encouraged by this unexpected tribute he began to read psychoanalytical literature and found much in it that sounded a familiar note.

He

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