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Kohut, H. (1957). The Arrow and the Lyre. A Study of the Role of Love in the Works of Thomas Mann: By Frank Donald Hirschbach. The Hague, Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 1955. 195 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 26:273-275.

(1957). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 26:273-275

The Arrow and the Lyre. A Study of the Role of Love in the Works of Thomas Mann: By Frank Donald Hirschbach. The Hague, Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 1955. 195 pp.

Review by:
Heinz Kohut

Thomas Mann is close to the analyst's heart because of his rational attitude toward psychoanalysis and his respect for Freud. One must, however, agree with Hirschbach who maintains that the influence of psychoanalysis on Mann's writings should not be overestimated. He sees Freud's work as only one of the sources of Mann's intellectual, philosophical, and artistic outlook; and he mentions the German romanticists, and Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Wagner, and Goethe as having been of equal or greater importance.

Mann understood and used artistically the tenet of psychoanalysis that explains 'many of the occurrences in our daily lives as instances of an outgrowth of our own unconscious will' (p. 108). Hirschbach quotes, as an outstanding example of Mann's grasp of this principle, the chapter from Joseph and His Brothers 'in which Isaac blesses Jacob instead of Esau. No one … can be mistaken about the fact that the father wants to bestow the blessing upon the "younger" of the twins, wants to be deceived.' Hirschbach also gives illustrations from Mann's later novels, especially from Joseph, and demonstrates the artistic use which Mann made of his knowledge of the Oedipus complex, of sexual dream symbolism, of flight into illness, and the like.

Hirschbach's main thesis—the omnipresence in Mann's stories of a battle between Eros and Agape, i.e., between passion and Christian love or 'charity'—holds, however, little interest for the psychoanalytic psychologist in the form in which the problem is presented, even if we translate it into its approximate psychoanalytic analogue as a conflict between sexual and sublimated libido.

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