Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To see the German word that Freud used to refer to a concept…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Want to know the exact German word that Freud used to refer to a psychoanalytic concept? Move your mouse over a paragraph while reading The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud and a window will emerge displaying the text in its original German version.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Koenigsberg, R.A. (1967). F. Scott Fitzgerald: Literature and the Work of Mourning. Am. Imago, 24(3):248-270.

(1967). American Imago, 24(3):248-270

F. Scott Fitzgerald: Literature and the Work of Mourning

Richard A. Koenigsberg

In early psychoanalytic work on the writer (13) the process of literary creation is viewed in terms of the psychology of the dream. The writer is seen to be involved in the effort to find expression for infantile wishes, and to represent these wishes as fulfilled in such a manner that he, as well as his audience, are able to achieve a maximum of gratification with a minimum of guilt. This idea is related as well to Freud's theory of wit: the work of art, like the joke, is seen to be the occasion for the discharge of instinctual energy, accomplishing its purpose through complex maneouvers which are designed to assuage the super-ego. This conception of the function of literary creation, very clearly, derives its emphasis from Freud's initial preoccupation with the psychology of the id.

It is the purpose of this paper to examine the work of one author in which creative activity is guided by other purposes. For F. Scott Fitzgerald, the act of literary creation serves only peripherally to provide the occasion for the gratification of infantile wishes; it is focused more importantly upon the ego's effort to heal itself, to master a previously unresolved infantile trauma. Specifically, Fitzgerald's work involves the attempt to bring into consciousness his fixation upon his mother, and simultaneously, to dissolve this fixation through the work of mourning.

The conception of the function of literary creation which is developed in this paper emphasizes the role of the integrative processes of the ego. This does not mean, however, that the wish-fulfilling aspects of the creative act are absent. Indeed, an activity as complex as writing can fulfill many motives, and function in the service of many components of the personality. A comprehensive theory of the psychological function of literary creation can only emerge through empirical studies of particular writers, of which the present one is offered as an example.


[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.