The erotic motive in literature (1919) PDF by Albert Mordell ( Psychoanalysis )

The erotic motive in literature


This work is an endeavor to apply some of the methods of psychoanalysis to literature. It attempts to read closely between the lines of an author's works. It applies some principles in interpreting literature with a scrutiny hitherto scarcely deemed permissible. 

Only such suggestions have been set down whose application has been rendered fairly unimpeachable by science and experience. In studying literature thus, I aim to trace a writer's books back to the outward and inner events of his life and to reveal his unconscious, or that part of his psychic life of which he is unaware. I try to show that un- suspected emotions of the writer have entered into his literary productions, that events he had apparently for- gotten have guided his pen. In every book, there is much of the author's unconscious which can be dis- covered by the critic and psychologist who apply a few and well tested and infallible principles.

This unconscious is largely identical to the mental love fantasies in our present and past life. Since the terms "unconscious" and "erotic" are almost synonymous, any serious study of literature that is concerned with the unconscious must deal impartially with eroticism.


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