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Diether, J. (1958-1959). Mahler and Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Rev., 45D(4):3-14.

(1958-1959). Psychoanalytic Review, 45D(4):3-14

Mahler and Psychoanalysis

Jack Diether

The night looks softly down from distances,

Eternal with her thousand golden eyes,

And weary mortals shut their eyes in sleep,

To know once more some happiness forgotten.

See you the silent, gloomy wanderer?

Abandoned is the path he takes, and lonely,

Unmarked for distance or direction.

And oh! no star illuminates his way,

A way so long, so far from guardian spirits.

And voices versed in soft deceit sound, luring:

“When will this long and futile journey end?

Will not the wanderer rest from all his suffering?”

The Sphinx stares grimly, ominous with question,

Her stony, blank gray eyes tell nothing, nothing,

No single, saving sign, no ray of light;

And if I solve it not, my life is forfeit.

In the late summer of 1910 in Leyden, Holland, occurred one of the most moving and dramatic meetings of our time. It was the first and only meeting of two eminent Austrians of Jewish origin, both born in the mountainous terrain dividing Bohemia from Moravia, only four years apart. The two men were Sigmund Freud and Gustav Mahler. Each had scaled the heights of his profession, each had pioneered, fighting tremendous opposition; only in the case of Mahler it might be said that he had triumphed and pioneered in two professions rather than one. As musical and artistic director in opera, he had raised the art of operatic production to unheard-of standards of integration and perfection, and introduced modern principles of staging that are still being developed today.

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