THE LITERARY IMAGINATION by Hendrick M.- Ed. Ruitenbeek


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Although it Parallels in many ways a volume almost a decade old, Art and Psychoanalysis, (both being collections of essays on literature and neuroses) The Literary' Imagination is still a brilliant, individual, and deeply satisfying undertaking. This is said even though there are particular overlappings between the two volumes - indeed the best essay in Art and Psychoanalysis. that of Fritz Wittels' on the repressed homoeroticism in the character and work of the German poet-dramatist Heinrich von Kleist, is included here. Nevertheless, the new volume presents a far sounder and particularized introductory essay than the one William Phillips offered in Art and Psychoanalysis, as well as delving into clinical phases of genius and the imagination in a way as to do Justice both to aesthetic and psychological ramifications. The moderns are represented by studies in Kafka, Strindberg, Proust, Romain Rolland (""the psychological basis of political belief""), Wolfe and Gide. Then there are two independent essays on the Bronte sisters, a study of specialized ""schizophrenia"" re Holderlin, Swift and manic-depressive insanity, and varying character-structures in Rousseau, Whitman, Poe and Balzac. Goethe is viewed by both Kurt Eissler and Edward Hitschmann,. respectively elaborating upon his social and inner development, and both presenting provocative interpretations. Finally, Freud is represented through his classic study, ""Dostoevsky and Parricide."" The approach throughout is eminently thorough and sensitive.

Publisher: Quadrangle