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Hanly, C.M. (1986). Psychoanalytic Aesthetics: A Defense and an Elaboration. Psychoanal Q., 55:1-22.

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(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:1-22

Psychoanalytic Aesthetics: A Defense and an Elaboration

Charles M.T. Hanly, Ph.D. Author Information


Psychoanalysis provides a middle ground that synthesizes opposing views in aesthetics. The opposition in question is between those who would assign primary importance to form in art and those who would assign it to content. Psychoanalysis can offer a psychological elaboration of the aesthetics of catharsis first set out by Aristotle. And it is in this tradition that psychoanalytic theory should be placed. Although Freud emphasized the thematic, emotional, and pleasure yielding aspects of the aesthetic experience, an elucidation of the aesthetics of form is inherent in and consistent with the basic findings of psychoanalysis

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