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Acklin, T. (1994). The Psychohistory Review: Studies of Motivation in History and Culture. XXI, 1992/93: Viennese Modernity and Crises of Identity. Jacques Le Rider. Pp. 73-106.. Psychoanal Q., 63:178-179.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Psychohistory Review: Studies of Motivation in History and Culture. XXI, 1992/93: Viennese Modernity and Crises of Identity. Jacques Le Rider. Pp. 73-106.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 63:178-179

The Psychohistory Review: Studies of Motivation in History and Culture. XXI, 1992/93: Viennese Modernity and Crises of Identity. Jacques Le Rider. Pp. 73-106.

Thomas Acklin

Le Rider considers aspects of Viennese modernity which prefigure postmodernism. Viennese modernism was not triumphant or self-assured, but distinguished more by the crisis of individualism which characterized the postmodern era. Among other examples, Le Rider considers Hofmannsthal's mysticism, Weininger's ideal of genius, and the narcissistic delusions of Schreber's paranoid psychosis. He observes how this mysticism, genius, and narcissism all seek to surpass the limits of life through the abolition of the difference between masculine and feminine, often favoring an androgynous ideal. There is an aspiration toward the destruction of the ego and a seeking to escape the contingencies of life in the re-creation of a more perfect self. The ambivalence was reflected in Schreber's desire for the feminine and

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in Weininger's anguished refusal of it. In both cases there was an indictment of the decadence of the times in view of an expected regeneration of the modern world. Le Rider sees Schreber's aim as resembling an adaptation of Winnicott's idea that when the feminine element in the patient discovers the breast, it is the self which has been found. The author also reviews Freud's observations in such works as Civilization and Its Discontents, which describe the desire to return to the reign of the id by banishing the frontiers of the ego and trying to restore limitless narcissism. Freud himself insisted upon the importance of consolidating the ego through logos and reason in order to sustain culture against the desire to give id free reign. In the creative works of Antonin Artaud, Franz Kafka, Gustav Mahler, D. H. Lawrence, and others, Le Rider sees the struggle within the desire to return to the primary identification of early childhood associated with the feminine element.

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Article Citation

Acklin, T. (1994). The Psychohistory Review: Studies of Motivation in History and Culture. XXI, 1992/93. Psychoanal. Q., 63:178-179

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