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Schmukler, A.G. (1992). American Imago. XLVI, 1989: Thomas Mann's Death in Venice (1969). Harry Slochower. Pp. 255-279.. Psychoanal Q., 61:324.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Imago. XLVI, 1989: Thomas Mann's Death in Venice (1969). Harry Slochower. Pp. 255-279.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:324

American Imago. XLVI, 1989: Thomas Mann's Death in Venice (1969). Harry Slochower. Pp. 255-279.

Anita G. Schmukler

The author examines significant imagery in Mann's work in the light of the creative process and presents a broader, deeper perspective than those who view artistic products as simply defensive or sublimatory, and who approach characters in novels as patients in clinical practice. Slochower criticizes the latter viewpoint for not truly representing the goals of a psychoanalytic examination of literature. He emphasizes Mann's notions of the favorable social soil necessary for creative productivity, and also the artist's conflicting pulls of discipline and dissolution. Significant imaging in Death in Venice includes the color red, which reappears continually in the narrative in many conflictual contexts, and the voyeuristic impulses of looking and watching. Aschenbach's creative drives are alternately desexualized and resexualized. The author also cites an aspect of the ending of Death in Venice that has been ignored by critics: Aschenbach finally sees something that is not a projection. He acknowledges his lack of control over Tadzio; Slochower views this as an "affirmative element" in the novel. Slochower takes Kohut's study of Death in Venice a step further, underscoring that which is not merely sublimatory, but of a "nearly explosive" tension; he also explores the shift in psychic function that occurs upon examination of the "magic" inherent in the creative process.

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Article Citation

Schmukler, A.G. (1992). American Imago. XLVI, 1989. Psychoanal. Q., 61:324

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