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Fishman, G.G. (1983). American Imago. XXXVI, 1979: Franz Grillparzer's The Poor Fiddler. Ursula Mahlendorf. Pp. 118-146.. Psychoanal Q., 52:144-145.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Imago. XXXVI, 1979: Franz Grillparzer's The Poor Fiddler. Ursula Mahlendorf. Pp. 118-146.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 52:144-145

American Imago. XXXVI, 1979: Franz Grillparzer's The Poor Fiddler. Ursula Mahlendorf. Pp. 118-146.

George G. Fishman

In Grillparzer's short story, a fiddler squeals and scrapes his way through a street fair until he is spotted by the narrator, who is moved to find out what art this pathos might mimic. The narrator learns his subject's story. It consists of

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early castigation as a ne'er-do-well by father, subsequent rejection by his only lover, and then withdrawal into a world of dissonant sounds and personal isolation. Mahlendorf analyzes the fiddler as part of Grillparzer's severely rejected mother-self and the narrator as his stronger father-self. Some parallel undoubtedly exists between Grillparzer, so sensitized to criticism that he gave up his craft several times in his life, and the fiddler, who is so wracked by hurt that he plays only for himself. However, the pastiche of dynamics called up to explain the fiddler's character spans psychotic denial and oedipal retreat. The result is that the psychoanalytic commentary is in many places less compelling than the aesthetic one. In addition, what is liberally surmised about Grillparzer's own inner life is not adequately supported by the biographical data offered.

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Article Citation

Fishman, G.G. (1983). American Imago. XXXVI, 1979. Psychoanal. Q., 52:144-145

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