FANTASIES OF LOVE AND DEATH IN LIFE AND ART: A Psychoanalytic Study of the Normal and the Pathological by Helen K. Gediman

FANTASIES OF LOVE AND DEATH IN LIFE AND ART: A Psychoanalytic Study of the Normal and the Pathological

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KIRKUS REVIEW

We have come a long way from regarding passionate love as...simply a romantic agony of fatal perversions and deadly sex,"" writes psychoanalyst Gediman. Her provocative study examines such famous lovers as Tristan and Isolde, Siegmund and Sieglinde, even Sleeping Beauty and her Prince, to consider two common types of love/death fantasies: Liebestod, in which one longs to unite with the beloved eternally in death; and Resurrection, the idea of rebirth after death that often includes a desire for sensual bliss beyond mortality. These fantasies can encompass a wide variety of psychological processes, ranging from perfectly normal to decidedly pathological, argues the author, who buttresses her literary, artistic, and mythological references with analysis of real-life cases in the psychological literature. Those expecting a pleasant stroll through well-trodden lit-crit fields will find the clinical material rather heavy going, but Gediman's thoughtful appraisal reminds us that intense passion is in itself neither healthy nor diseased--it all depends on the uses we put it to.

Pub Date: July 15th, 1995
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: New York Univ.