Art of the 20th Century

A Revolution in the Arts



Art Styles in 20th century Art Map




The Great Avant-garde Movements



Surrealist Art









Conquest of the marvellous


Surrealism and painting


Towards a revolutionary art


Across the world


The object


Festivals of the imagination


In the United States


Surrealist architecture


The post-war period







see also:

Surrealism - 1924

Max Ernst
"A Week of Kindness" (A surrealistic novel in collage)

Rene Magritte "Thought rendered visible"

Salvador Dali

Surrealism  "The Dream of Revolution"





Festivals of the imagination



Intellectual heroes of the surrealists :

Hegel, Sade, Baudelaire, Freud, Novalis, Lautreamont, Helene Smith,
Pancho Villa, Paracelsus

* * *

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel


Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Victor Brauner

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

born August 27, 1770, Stuttgart,Württemberg [Germany]
died November 14, 1831, Berlin

German philosopher who developed a dialectical scheme that emphasized the progress of history and of ideas from thesis to antithesis and thence to a synthesis.

Hegel was the last of the great philosophical system builders of modern times. His work, following upon that of Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, and Friedrich Schelling, thus marks the pinnacle of classical German philosophy. As an absolute Idealist inspired by Christian insights and grounded in his mastery of a fantastic fund of concrete knowledge, Hegel found a place for everything—logical, natural, human, and divine—in a dialectical scheme that repeatedly swung from thesis to antithesis and back again to a higher and richer synthesis. His influence has been as fertile in the reactions that he precipitated—in Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish Existentialist; in the Marxists, who turned to social action; in the Vienna Positivists; and in G.E. Moore, a pioneering figure in British Analytic philosophy—as in his positive impact.

Early life

Hegel was the son of a revenue officer. He had already learned the elements of Latin from his mother by the time heentered the Stuttgart grammar school, where he remained for his education until he was 18. As a schoolboy he made a collection of extracts, alphabetically arranged, comprising annotations on classical authors, passages from newspapers, and treatises on morals and mathematics from the standard works of the period.

In 1788 Hegel went as a student to Tübingen with a view to taking orders, as his parents wished. Here he studied philosophy and classics for two years and graduated in 1790.Though he then took the theological course, he was impatient with the orthodoxy of his teachers; and the certificate given to him when he left in 1793 states that, whereas he had devoted himself vigorously to philosophy, his industry in theology was intermittent. He was also said tobe poor in oral exposition, a deficiency that was to dog him throughout his life. Though his fellow students called him “the old man,” he liked cheerful company and a “sacrifice to Bacchus” and enjoyed the ladies as well. His chief friends during that period were a pantheistic poet, J.C.F. Hölderlin, hiscontemporary, and the nature philosopher Schelling, five years his junior. Together they read the Greek tragedians and celebrated the glories of the French Revolution.

On leaving college, Hegel did not enter the ministry; instead, wishing to have leisure for the study of philosophy and Greek literature, he became a private tutor. For the next three years he lived in Berne, with time on his hands and the run of a good library, where he read Edward Gibbon on the fall of the Roman empire and De l'esprit des loix, by Charles Louis, baron de Montesquieu, as well as the Greek and Roman classics. He also studied the critical philosopher Immanuel Kant and was stimulated by his essay on religion to write certain papers that became noteworthy only when, more than a century later, they were published as a part of Hegels theologische Jugendschriften (1907). Kant had maintained that, whereas orthodoxy requires a faith in historical facts and in doctrines that reason alone cannot justify and imposes on the faithful a moral system of arbitrary commands alleged to be revealed, Jesus, on the contrary, had originally taught a rational morality, which wasreconcilable with the teaching of Kant's ethical works, and a religion that, unlike Judaism, was adapted to the reason of allmen. Hegel accepted this teaching; but, being more of a historian than Kant was, he put it to the test of history by writing two essays. The first of these was a life of Jesus in which Hegel attempted to reinterpret the gospel on Kantian lines. The second essay was an answer to the question of how Christianity had ever become the authoritarian religion that it was, if in fact the teaching of Jesus was not authoritarian but rationalistic.

Hegel was lonely in Berne and was glad to move, at the end of 1796, to Frankfurt am Main, where Hölderlin had gotten him a tutorship. His hopes of more companionship, however, were unfulfilled: Hölderlin was engrossed in an illicit love affair and shortly lost his reason. Hegel began to suffer frommelancholia and, to cure himself, worked harder than ever, especially at Greek philosophy and modern history and politics. He read and made clippings from English newspapers, wrote about the internal affairs of his native Wurtemberg, and studied economics. Hegel was now able to free himself from the domination of Kant's influence and to look with a fresh eye on the problem of Christian origins.

Emancipation from Kantianism

It is impossible to exaggerate the importance that this problem had for Hegel. It is true that his early theological writings contain hard sayings about Christianity and the churches; but the object of his attack was orthodoxy, not theology itself. All that he wrote at this period throbs with a religious conviction of a kind that is totally absent from Kant and Hegel's other 18th-century teachers. Above all, he was inspired by a doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The spirit of man, hisreason, is the candle of the Lord, he held, and therefore cannot be subject to the limitations that Kant had imposed upon it. This faith in reason, with its religious basis, henceforth animated the whole of Hegel's work.

His outlook had also become that of a historian—which againdistinguishes him from Kant, who was much more influenced by the concepts of physical science. Every one of Hegel's major works was a history; and, indeed, it was among historians and classical scholars rather than among philosophers that his work mainly fructified in the 19th century.

When in 1798 Hegel turned back to look over the essays that he had written in Berne two or three years earlier, he saw with a historian's eye that, under Kant's influence, he had misrepresented the life and teachings of Jesus and the history of the Christian Church. His newly won insight then found expression in his essay “Der Geist des Christentums und sein Schicksal” (“The Spirit of Christianity and Its Fate”),likewise unpublished until 1907. This is one of Hegel's most remarkable works. Its style is often difficult and the connection of thought not always plain, but it is written with passion, insight, and conviction.

He begins by sketching the essence of Judaism, which he paints in the darkest colours. The Jews were slaves to the Mosaic Law, leading a life unlovely in comparison with that of the ancient Greeks and content with the material satisfaction of a land flowing with milk and honey. Jesus taught something entirely different. Men are not to be the slaves of objective commands: the law is made for man. They are even to rise above the tension in moral experience between inclination and reason's law of duty, for the law is tobe “fulfilled” in the love of God, wherein all tension ceases and the believer does God's will wholeheartedly and single-mindedly. A community of such believers is the Kingdom of God.

This is the kingdom that Jesus came to teach. It is founded ona belief in the unity of the divine and the human. The life thatflows in them both is one; and it is only because man is spirit that he can grasp and comprehend the Spirit of God. Hegel works out this conception in an exegesis of passages in the Gospel According to John. The kingdom, however, can never be realized in this world: man is not spirit alone but flesh also. “Church and state, worship and life, piety and virtue, spiritual and worldly action can never dissolve into one.”

In this essay the leading ideas of Hegel's system of philosophy are rooted. Kant had argued that man can have knowledge only of a finite world of appearances and that, whenever his reason attempts to go beyond this sphere and grapple with the infinite or with ultimate reality, it becomes entangled in insoluble contradictions. Hegel, however, found in love, conceived as a union of opposites, a prefigurement of spirit as the unity in which contradictions, such as infinite and finite, are embraced and synthesized. His choice of the word Geist to express this his leading conception was deliberate: the word means “spirit” as well as “mind” and thus has religious overtones. Contradictions in thinking at the scientific level of Kant's “understanding” are indeed inevitable, but thinking as an activity of spirit or “reason” can rise above them to a synthesis in which the contradictions are resolved. All of this, expressed in religious phraseology, is contained in the manuscripts written toward the end of Hegel's stay in Frankfurt. “In religion,” he wrote, “finite life rises to infinite life.” Kant's philosophy had to stop short of religion. But there is room for another philosophy, based on the concept of spirit, that will distill into conceptual form the insights of religion. This was the philosophy that Hegel now felt himself ready to expound.

Career as lecturer at Jena

Fortunately, his circumstances changed at this moment, and he was at last able to embark on the academic career that had long been his ambition. His father's death in 1799 had left him an inheritance, slender, indeed, but sufficient to enable him to surrender a regular income and take the risk of becoming a Privatdozent. In January of 1801 he arrived in Jena, where Schelling had been a professor since 1798. Jena, which had harboured the fantastic mysticism of the Schlegel brothers and their colleagues and the Kantianism and ethicalIdealism of Fichte, had already seen its golden age, for these great scholars had all left. The precocious Schelling, who wasbut 26 on Hegel's arrival, already had several books to his credit. Apt to “philosophize in public,” Schelling had been fighting a lone battle in the university against the rather dull followers of Kant. It was suggested that Hegel had been summoned as a new champion to aid his friend. This impression received some confirmation from the dissertation by which Hegel qualified as a university teacher, which betrays the influence of Schelling's philosophy of nature, as well as from Hegel's first publication, an essay entitled “Differenz des Fichte'schen und Schelling'schen Systems der Philosophie” (1801), in which he gave preference to the latter. Nevertheless, even inthis essay and still more in its successors, Hegel's difference from Schelling was clearly marked; they had a common interest in the Greeks, they both wished to carry forward Kant's work, they were both iconoclasts; but Schelling had too many romantic enthusiasms for Hegel's liking; and all that Hegel took from him—and then only for a very short period—was a terminology.

Hegel's lectures, delivered in the winter of 1801–02, on logicand metaphysics, were attended by about 11 students. Later,in 1804, with a class of about 30, he lectured on his whole system, gradually working it out as he taught. Notice after notice of his lectures promised a textbook of philosophy—which, however, failed to appear. After the departure of Schelling from Jena (1803), Hegel was left to work out his own views untrammelled. Besides philosophicaland political studies, he made extracts from books, attended lectures on physiology, and dabbled in other sciences. As a result of representations made by himself at Weimar, he wasin February 1805 appointed extraordinary professor at Jena; and in July 1806, on Goethe's intervention, he drew his first stipend—100 thalers. Though some of his hearers became attached to him, Hegel was not yet a popular lecturer.

Hegel, like Goethe, felt no patriotic shudder when Napoleon won his victory at Jena (1806): in Prussia he saw only a corrupt and conceited bureaucracy. Writing to a friend on theday before the battle, he spoke with admiration of the “worldsoul” and the Emperor and with satisfaction at the probable overthrow of the Prussians.

At this time Hegel published his first great work, the Phänomenologie des Geistes (1807; Eng. trans., The Phenomenology of Mind , 2nd ed., 1931). This, perhaps the most brilliant and difficult of Hegel's books, describes how the human mind has risen from mere consciousness, throughself-consciousness, reason, spirit, and religion, to absolute knowledge. Though man's native attitude toward existence is reliance on the senses, a little reflection is sufficient to show that the reality attributed to the external world is due as much to intellectual conceptions as to the senses and that these conceptions elude a man when he tries to fix them. If consciousness cannot detect a permanent object outside itself, so self-consciousness cannot find a permanent subject in itself. Through aloofness, skepticism, or imperfection, self-consciousness has isolated itself from the world; it has closed its gates against the stream of life. The perception of this is reason. Reason thus abandons its efforts to mold the world and is content to let the aims of individuals work out their results independently.

The stage of Geist, however, reveals the consciousness no longer as isolated, critical, and antagonistic but as the indwelling spirit of a community. This is the lowest stage of concrete consciousness, the age of unconscious morality. But, through increasing culture, the mind gradually emancipates itself from conventions, which prepares the way for the rule of conscience. From the moral world the nextstep is religion. But the idea of Godhead, too, has to pass through nature worship and art before it reaches a full utterance in Christianity. Religion thus approaches the stageof absolute knowledge, of “the spirit knowing itself as spirit.”Here, according to Hegel, is the field of philosophy.

Gymnasium rector

In spite of the Phänomenologie, however, Hegel's fortunes were now at their lowest ebb. He was, therefore, glad to become editor of the Bamberger Zeitung (1807–08). This, however, was not a suitable vocation, and he gladly accepted the rectorship of the Aegidiengymnasium in Nürnberg, a post he held from December 1808 to August 1816 and one that offered him a small but assured income. There Hegel inspired confidence in his pupils and maintained discipline without pedantic interference in their associations and sports.

In 1811 Hegel married Marie von Tucher (22 years his junior), of Nürnberg. The marriage was entirely happy. His wife bore him two sons: Karl, who became eminent as a historian; and Immanuel, whose interests were theological. The family circle was joined by Ludwig, a natural son of Hegel's from Jena. At Nürnberg in 1812 appeared Die objektive Logik, being the first part of his Wissenschaft der Logik (“Science of Logic”), which in 1816 was completed by the second part, Die subjecktive Logik.

University professor

This work, in which his system was first presented in what was essentially its ultimate shape, earned him the offer of professorships at Erlangen, at Berlin, and at Heidelberg.

At Heidelberg

He accepted the chair at Heidelberg. For use at his lectures there, he published his Encyklopädie der philosophischen Wissenschaften im Grundrisse (1817; “Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences in Outline”), an exposition of his system as a whole. Hegel's philosophy is an attempt to comprehend the entire universe as a systematic whole. The system is grounded in faith. In the Christian religion God has been revealed as truth and as spirit. As spirit, man can receive this revelation. In religion the truth is veiled in imagery; but in philosophy the veil is torn aside, so that mancan know the infinite and see all things in God. Hegel's system is thus a spiritual monism but a monism in which differentiation is essential. Only through an experience of difference can the identity of thought and the object of thought be achieved—an identity in which thinking attains the through-and-through intelligibility that is its goal. Thus, truth is known only because error has been experienced and truth has triumphed; and God is infinite only because he has assumed the limitations of finitude and triumphed over them. Similarly, man's Fall was necessary if he was to attain moral goodness. Spirit, including the Infinite Spirit, knows itself as spirit only by contrast with nature. Hegel's system is monistic in having a single theme: what makes the universe intelligible is to see it as the eternal cyclical process whereby Absolute Spirit comes to knowledge of itself as spirit (1) through its own thinking; (2) through nature; and (3) through finite spirits and their self-expression in history and their self-discovery, in art, in religion, and in philosophy, as one with Absolute Spirit itself.

The compendium of Hegel's system, the “Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences,” is in three parts: “Logic,” “Nature,” and “Mind.” Hegel's method of exposition is dialectical. It often happens that in a discussion two people who at first present diametrically opposed points of view ultimately agree to reject their own partial views and to accept a new and broader view that does justice to the substance of each. Hegel believed that thinking always proceeds according to this pattern: it begins by laying down a positive thesis that is at once negated by its antithesis; then further thought produces the synthesis. But this in turn generates an antithesis, and the same process continues once more. The process, however, is circular: ultimately, thinking reaches a synthesis that is identical with its startingpoint, except that all that was implicit there has now been made explicit. Thus, thinking itself, as a process, has negativity as one of its constituent moments, and the finite is, as God's self-manifestation, part and parcel of the infiniteitself. This is the sort of dialectical process of which Hegel's system provides an account in three phases.

At Heidelberg


The system begins with an account of God's thinking “before the creation of nature and finite spirit”; i.e., with the categories or pure forms of thought, which are the structure of all physical and intellectual life. Throughout, Hegel is dealing with pure essentialities, with spirit thinking its own essence; and these are linked together in a dialectical process that advances from abstract to concrete. If a man tries to think the notion of pure Being (the most abstract category of all), he finds that it is simply emptiness; i.e., Nothing. Yet Nothing is. The notion of pure Being and the notion of Nothing are opposites; and yet each, as one tries tothink it, passes over into the other. But the way out of the contradiction is at once to reject both notions separately andto affirm them both together; i.e., to assert the notion of becoming, since what becomes both is and is not at once. The dialectical process advances through categories of increasing complexity and culminates with the absolute idea, or with the spirit as objective to itself.


Nature is the opposite of spirit. The categories studied in “Logic” were all internally related to one another; they grew out of one another. Nature, on the other hand, is a sphere of external relations. Parts of space and moments of time exclude one another; and everything in nature is in space and time and is thus finite. But nature is created by spirit and bears the mark of its creator. Categories appear in it as its essential structure, and it is the task of the philosophy of nature to detect that structure and its dialectic; but nature, as the realm of externality, cannot be rational through and through, though the rationality prefigured in it becomes gradually explicit when man appears. In man nature rises to self-consciousness.


Here Hegel follows the development of the human mind through the subconscious, consciousness, and the rational will; then through human institutions and human history as the embodiment or objectification of that will; and finally to art, religion, and philosophy, in which finally man knows himself as spirit, as one with God and possessed of absolute truth. Thus, it is now open to him to think his own essence; i.e., the thoughts expounded in “Logic.” He has finally returned to the starting point of the system, but en route he has made explicit all that was implicit in it and has discovered that “nothing but spirit is, and spirit is pure activity.”

Hegel's system depends throughout on the results of scientific, historical, theological, and philosophical inquiry. No reader can fail to be impressed by the penetration and breadth of his mind nor by the immense range of knowledge that, in his view, had to precede the work of philosophizing. Acivilization must be mature and, indeed, in its death throes before, in the philosophic thinking that has implicitly been its substance, it becomes conscious of itself and of its own significance. Thus, when philosophy comes on the scene, some form of the world has grown old.

At Berlin

In 1818 Hegel accepted the renewed offer of the chair of philosophy at Berlin, which had been vacant since Fichte's death. There his influence over his pupils was immense, and there he published his Naturrecht und Staatswissenschaft imGrundrisse, alternatively entitled Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts (1821; Eng. trans., The Philosophy of Right , 1942). In Hegel's works on politics and history, the human mind objectifies itself in its endeavour to find an object identical with itself. The Philosophy of Right (or of Law) falls into three main divisions. The first is concerned with law and rights as such: persons (i.e., men as men, quite independently of their individual characters) are the subject of rights, and what is required of them is mere obedience, no matter what the motives of obedience may be. Right is thus an abstract universal and therefore does justice only to the universal element in the human will. The individual, however, cannot be satisfied unless the act that he does accords not merely with law but also with his own conscientious convictions. Thus, the problem in the modern world is to construct a social and political order that satisfiesthe claims of both. And thus no political order can satisfy the demands of reason unless it is organized so as to avoid, on the one hand, a centralization that would make men slaves or ignore conscience and, on the other hand, an antinomianism that would allow freedom of conviction to anyindividual and so produce a licentiousness that would make social and political order impossible. The state that achievesthis synthesis rests on the family and on the guild. It is unlikeany state existing in Hegel's day; it is a form of limited monarchy, with parliamentary government, trial by jury, and toleration for Jews and dissenters.

After his publication of The Philosophy of Right, Hegel seems to have devoted himself almost entirely to his lectures. Between 1823 and 1827 his activity reached its maximum. His notes were subjected to perpetual revisions and additions. It is possible to form an idea of them from the shape in which they appear in his published writings. Those on Aesthetics, on the Philosophy of Religion, on the Philosophy of History, and on the History of Philosophy havebeen published by his editors, mainly from the notes of his students, whereas those on logic, psychology, and the philosophy of nature have been appended in the form of illustrative and explanatory notes to the corresponding sections of his Encyklopädie. During these years hundreds ofhearers from all parts of Germany and beyond came under his influence; and his fame was carried abroad by eager or intelligent disciples.

Three courses of lectures are especially the product of his Berlin period: those on aesthetics, on the philosophy of religion, and on the philosophy of history. In the years preceding the revolution of 1830, public interest, excluded from political life, turned to theatres, concert rooms, and picture galleries. At these Hegel became a frequent and appreciative visitor, and he made extracts from the art notesin the newspapers. During his holiday excursions, his interest in the fine arts more than once took him out of his way to see some old painting. This familiarity with the facts of art, though neither deep nor historical, gave a freshness tohis lectures on aesthetics, which, as put together from the notes taken in different years from 1820 to 1829, are among his most successful efforts.

The lectures on the philosophy of religion are another application of his method, and shortly before his death he had prepared for the press a course of lectures on the proofs for the existence of God. On the one hand, he turned his weapons against the Rationalistic school, which reduced religion to the modicum compatible with an ordinary worldly mind. On the other hand, he criticized the school of Schleiermacher, who elevated feeling to a place in religion above systematic theology. In his middle way, Hegel attempted to show that the dogmatic creed is the rational development of what was implicit in religious feeling. To do so, of course, philosophy must be made the interpreter and the superior discipline.

In his philosophy of history, Hegel presupposed that the whole of human history is a process through which mankind has been making spiritual and moral progress and advancingto self-knowledge. History has a plot, and the philosopher's task is to discern it. Some historians have found its key in theoperation of natural laws of various kinds. Hegel's attitude, however, rested on the faith that history is the enactment of God's purpose and that man had now advanced far enough todescry what that purpose is: it is the gradual realization of human freedom.

The first step was to make the transition from a natural life of savagery to a state of order and law. States had to be founded by force and violence; there is no other way to makemen law-abiding before they have advanced far enough mentally to accept the rationality of an ordered life. There will be a stage at which some men have accepted the law and become free, while others remain slaves. In the modern world man has come to appreciate that all men, as minds, arefree in essence, and his task is thus to frame institutions under which they will be free in fact.

Hegel did not believe, despite the charge of some critics, that history had ended in his lifetime. In particular, he maintained against Kant that to eliminate war is impossible. Each nation-state is an individual; and, as Hobbes had said of relations between individuals in the state of nature, pacts without the sword are but words. Clearly, Hegel's reverence for fact prevented him from accepting Kant's Idealism.

The lectures on the history of philosophy are especially remarkable for their treatment of Greek philosophy. Working without modern indexes and annotated editions, Hegel's grasp of Plato and Aristotle is astounding, and it is only just to recognize that it was from Hegel that the scholarship lavished on Greek philosophy in the century after his death received its original impetus.

At this time a Hegelian school began to gather. The flock included intelligent pupils, empty-headed imitators, and romantics who turned philosophy into lyric measures. Opposition and criticism only served to define more precisely the adherents of the new doctrine. Though he had soon resigned all direct official connection with the schools of Brandenburg, Hegel's real influence in Prussia was considerable. In 1830 he was rector of the university. In 1831he received a decoration from Frederick William III. One of his last literary undertakings was the establishment of the Berlin Jahrbücher für wissenschaftliche Kritik (“Yearbook for Philosophical Criticism”).

The revolution of 1830 was a great blow to Hegel, and the prospect of mob rule almost made him ill. His last literary work, the first part of which appeared in the Preussische Staatszeitung while the rest was censored, was an essay on the English Reform Bill of 1832, considering its probable effects on the character of the new members of Parliament and the measures that they might introduce. In the latter connection he enlarged on several points in which England had done less than many continental states for the abolition of monopolies and abuses.

In 1831 cholera entered Germany. Hegel and his family retired for the summer to the suburbs, and there he finished the revision of the first part of his Science of Logic. Home again for the winter session, on November 14, after one day'sillness, he died of cholera and was buried, as he had wished, between Fichte and Karl Solger, author of an ironic dialectic.

Personage and influence

In his classroom Hegel was more impressive than fascinating. His students saw a plain, old-fashioned face, without life or lustre—a figure that had never looked young and was now prematurely aged. Sitting with his snuffbox before him and his head bent down, he looked ill at ease and kept turning the folios of his notes. His utterance was interrupted by frequent coughing; every sentence came out with a struggle. The style was no less irregular: sometimes inplain narrative the lecturer would be specially awkward, while in abstruse passages he seemed especially at home, rose into a natural eloquence, and carried away the hearer by the grandeur of his diction.

The early theological writings and the Phenomenology of Mind are packed with brilliant metaphors. In his later works, produced as textbooks for his lectures, the “Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences” and the Philosophy of Right, he compresses his material into relatively short, numbered paragraphs. It is only necessary to translate them to appreciate their conciseness and precision. The common idea that Hegel's is a philosophy of exceptional difficulty is quite mistaken. Once his terminology is understood and his main principles grasped, he presents far less difficulty than Kant, for example. One reason for this is a certain air of dogmatism: Kant's statements are often hedged around with qualifications; but Hegel had, as it were, seen a vision of absolute truth, and he expounds it with confidence.

Hegel's system is avowedly an attempt to unify opposites—spirit and nature, universal and particular, ideal and real—and to be a synthesis in which all the partial and contradictory philosophies of his predecessors are alike contained and transcended. It is thus both Idealism and Realism at once; hence, it is not surprising that his successors, emphasizing now one and now another strain in his thought, have interpreted him variously. Conservatives and revolutionaries, believers and atheists alike have professed to draw inspiration from him. In one form or another his teaching dominated German universities for some years after his death and spread to France and to Italy. The vicissitudes of Hegelian thought to the present day are detailed below in Hegelianism. In the mid-20th century, interest in the early theological writings and in the Phänomenologie was increased by the spread of Existentialism. At the same time, the growing importance of Communism encouraged political thinkers to study Hegel's political works, as well as his “Logic,” because of their influence on Karl Marx. And, by the time of his bicentennial in 1970, a Hegelian renascence was in the making.

Sir T. Malcolm Knox


Marquis de Sade

Salvador Dali

Marquis de Sade

Allegory: "The Chevalier's Dream of Cecile"

Jacques Herold

An Orgy
Illustration from "Histoire de Juliette"
by the Marquis de Sade, 1797

Homage to Marquis de Sade

Marquis de Sade

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

born June 2, 1740, Paris, France
died Dec. 2, 1814, Charenton, nearParis

Man Ray
Imaginary Portrait of the Marquis de Sade.


Byname of Donatien-alphonse-françois, Comte De Sade French nobleman whose perverse sexual preferences and erotic writings gave rise to the term sadism . His best-known work is the novel Justine (1791).
Heritage and youth

Related to the royal house of Condé, the de Sade family numbered among its ancestors Laure de Noves, whom the 14th-century Italian poet Petrarch immortalized in verse. When the marquis was born at the Condé mansion, his father was away from home on a diplomatic mission. De Sade's mother, Marie Elénore Maillé de Carman, was a lady-in-waiting to the princesse de Condé.

After early schooling with his uncle, Abbé de Sade of Ebreuil, the marquis continued his studies at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris. His aristocratic background entitled him to various ranks in the king's regiments, and in 1754 he began a military career, which he abandoned in 1763 at the end of the Seven Years' War. In that year he married the daughter of a high-ranking bourgeois family de robe (“of the magistracy”), the Montreuils. By her he had two sons, Louis-Marie and Donatien-Claude-Armand, and one daughter, Madeleine-Laure.

In the very first months of his marriage he began an affair with an actress, La Beauvoisin, who had had numerous previous protectors. He invited prostitutes to his “little house” at Arcueil and subjected them to various sexual abuses. For this he was imprisoned, on orders of the king, in the fortress of Vincennes. Freed several weeks later, he resumed his life of debauchery and went deeply into debt. In 1768 the first public scandal erupted: the Rose Keller affair.

Rose Keller was a young prostitute he had met on Easter Sunday in Paris. He took her to his house in Arcueil, where he locked her up and abused her sexually. She escaped and related the unnatural acts and brutality to persons in the neighbourhood and showed them her wounds. De Sade was sentenced to the fortress of Pierre-Encise, near Lyon, for his offenses.

After his release he retired to his château of La Coste. In June1772 he went to Marseille to get some much-needed money. There he engaged his male servant Latour to find him some prostitutes, upon whom the marquis committed his usual sexual excesses. (Meanwhile, at his bidding, Latour engaged in sodomy with him.) The young women helped themselves liberally to the marquis's pillbox filled with candies that contained the aphrodisiac Spanish fly. When soon the reafterthey suffered upset stomachs, they feared they had been poisoned. De Sade and Latour fled to the estates of the king of Sardinia, who had them arrested. The Parlement at Aix sentenced them to death by default and, on Sept. 12, 1772,executed them in effigy. After escaping from the fortress of Miolans, de Sade took refuge in his château at La Coste, rejoining his wife. She became his accomplice and shared hispleasures, until the parents of the neighbourhood boys and girls he had abducted complained to the crown prosecutor. De Sade fled to Italy accompanied by his sister-in-law, the canoness de Launay, who had become his mistress. He returned to La Coste on Nov. 4, 1776. One incident followed another in an atmosphere of continual scandal, and, on his return to Paris, the marquis was arrested and sent to the dungeon of Vincennes on Feb. 13, 1777.

Conditions in this prison were harsh. During his detention de Sade quarreled with his jailer, with the prison director, and with a fellow prisoner, Victor Riqueti, the marquis de Mirabeau, whom he had insulted. He tried to incite the other prisoners to revolt. Visits from his wife, who was eventually allowed to see him, were banned after an episode in which he fell into a fit of jealous rage precipitated by his suspicion that she was about to leave him and was plotting against him. The marquise retired to a convent.


De Sade overcame his boredom and anger in prison by writing sexually graphic novels and plays. In July 1782 he finished his Dialogue entre un prêtre et un moribond (Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man), in which he declared himself an atheist. His letters to his lawyer as wellas to his wife combine incisive wit with an implacable spirit of revolt. On Feb. 27, 1784, he was transferred to the Bastille in Paris. On a roll of paper some 12 m (39 feet) long, he wroteLes 120 Journées de Sodome (One Hundred and Twenty Days of Sodom), in which he graphically describes numerous varieties of sexual perversion. In 1787 he wrote his most famous work, Les Infortunes de la vertu (an early version of Justine), and, in 1788, the novellas, tales, and short stories later published in the volume entitled Les Crimes de l'amour (Crimes of Passion).

A few days before the French Revolutionaries stormed the Bastille on July 14, 1789, de Sade had shouted through a window, “They are massacring the prisoners; you must comeand free them.” He was transferred to the insane asylum at Charenton, where he remained until April 2, 1790.

On his release, de Sade offered several plays to the Comédie-Française as well as to other theatres. Though five of them were accepted, not all of them were performed. Separated from his wife, he lived now with a young actress, the widow Quesnet, and wrote his novels Justine, ou les malheurs de la vertu (Justine; or, The Misfortunes of Virtue) and Juliette. In 1792 he became secretary of the Revolutionary Section of Les Piques in Paris, was one of the delegates appointed to visit hospitals in Paris, and wrote several patriotic addresses. During the Reign of Terror he saved the life of his father-in-law, Montreuil, and that of the latter's wife, even though they had been responsible for his various imprisonments. He gave speeches on behalf of the Revolution but was nevertheless accused of modérantisme (“moderatism”) and mistakenly inscribed on the list of émigrés. He escaped the guillotine by chance the day beforethe Revolutionary leader Robespierre was overthrown. At the time he was living with the widow Quesnet in conditions of abject poverty.

On March 6, 1801, he was arrested at his publisher's, where copies of Justine and Juliette were found with notes in his hand and several handwritten manuscripts. Again he was sent to Charenton, where he caused new scandals. His repeated protests had no effect on Napoleon, who saw to it personally that de Sade was deprived of all freedom of movement. Nevertheless, he succeeded in having his plays put on at Charenton, with the inmates themselves as the actors. He began work on an ambitious 10-volume novel, at least two volumes of which were written: Les Journées de Florbelle ou la nature dévoilée (“The Days of Florbelle or Nature Unveiled”). After his death his elder son burned these writings, together with other manuscripts.

His remains were scattered. In his will, drawn up in 1806, he asked that “the traces of my grave disappear from the face of the earth, as I flatter myself that my memory will be effaced from the mind of men.”

In the course of a life that scandalized his contemporaries, de Sade lived out many examples of the sexual compulsion on which his works centred. His writings are still officially banned by the French courts. As an author, de Sade is to some an incarnation of absolute evil who advocates the unleashing of instincts even to the point of crime. Others have looked upon him as a champion of total liberation through the satisfaction of his desires in all forms. De Sade's works were widely read (mostly “underground”) in the 19th century, especially by writers and artists. At the outset of the 20th century the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire helped to establish de Sade's status in the domain of culture. Today de Sade's writings can be more comfortably categorized; they belong to the history of ideas and mark an important moment in the history of literature—with de Sade figuring as the first of the modern écrivains maudits (“damned writers”).

Maurice Nadeau

Charles Baudelaire

Odilon Redon
Illustration for Les Fleurs du mal by
Charles Baudelaire

Jacqueline Lamba


Charles Baudelaire

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

born April 9, 1821, Paris, France
died Aug. 31, 1867, Paris

In full Charles-Pierre Baudelaire French poet, translator, and literary and art critic whose reputation rests primarily on Les Fleurs du mal (1857; The Flowers of Evil), which was perhaps the most important and influential poetry collection published in Europe in the 19th century. Similarly, his Petits poèmes en prose (1868; “Little Prose Poems”) was the most successful and innovative early experiment in prose poetry of the time.

Early life.

Baudelaire was the only child of François Baudelaire and his much younger second wife, Caroline Defayis, whom he married in 1819. Having begun his career as a priest, François had abandoned holy orders in 1793 and ultimately became a prosperous middle-ranking civil servant. A painter and poet of modest talent, he introduced his son to art, or what the younger Baudelaire would later call his greatest, most consuming and earliest of passions, “the cult of images.” His father died in February 1827, and for some 18 months thereafter Baudelaire and his mother lived together on the outskirts of Paris in conditions that he would always remember, writing to her in 1861 of that “period of passionate love” for her when “I was forever alive in you; you were solely and completely mine.” This “verdant paradise of childhood loves” abruptly ended in November 1828 when Caroline married Jacques Aupick, a career soldier who rose to the rank of general and who later served as French ambassador to the Ottoman Empire and Spain before becoming a senator under the Second Empire.

In 1831 Aupick was posted to Lyons, and Baudelaire began his education at the Collège Royal there in 1832 before transferring, on the family's return to Paris in 1836, to the prestigious Lycée Louis-le-Grand. Baudelaire showed promise as a student and began to write his earliest poems, but to his masters he seemed an example of precocious depravity, adopting what they called “affectations unsuited to his age.” He also developed a tendency to moods of intense melancholy, and he became aware that he was solitary by nature. Regular acts of indiscipline led to his being expelled from the school after a trivial incident in April1839. After passing his baccalauréat examinations while enrolled at the Collège Saint-Louis, Baudelaire became a nominal student of law at the École de Droit while in reality leading a “free life” in the Latin Quarter. There he made his first contacts in the literary world and also contracted the venereal disease that would eventually kill him, probably from a Jewish prostitute nicknamed Sarah la Louchette (“Squint-eyed Sarah”), whom he celebrated in some of his most affecting early poems.

In an attempt to wean his stepson from such disreputable company, Aupick sent him on a protracted voyage to India in June 1841, but Baudelaire effectively jumped ship in Mauritius and, after a few weeks there and in Réunion, returned to France in February 1842. The voyage had deepened and enriched his imagination, however, and his brief encounter with the tropics would endow his writing with an abundance of exotic images and sensations and an everlasting theme of nostalgic reverie.

Baudelaire came into his inheritance in April 1842 and rapidly proceeded to dissipate it on the lifestyle of a dandified man of letters, spending freely on clothes, books, paintings, expensive food and wines, and, not least, hashish and opium, which he first experimented with in his Paris apartment at the Hôtel Pimodan (now the Hôtel Lauzun) on the Île Saint-Louis between 1843 and 1845. It was shortly after returning from the South Seas that Baudelaire met the mulatto woman known as Jeanne Duval, who, first as his mistress and then, after the mid-1850s, as his financial charge, was to dominate his life for the next 20 years. Jeannewould inspire Baudelaire's most anguished and sensual love poetry, her perfume and, above all, her magnificent flowing black hair provoking such masterpieces of the exotic-erotic imagination as “La Chevelure” (“The Head of Hair”).

Baudelaire's continuing extravagance exhausted half his fortune in two years, and he also fell prey to cheats and moneylenders, thus laying the foundation for an accumulation of debt that would cripple him for the rest of his life. In September 1844 his family imposed on him a legalarrangement that restricted his access to his inheritance andeffectively made of him a legal minor. The modest annual allowance henceforth granted him was insufficient to clear his debts, and the resulting state of permanently straitened finances led him to still greater emotional and financial dependence on his mother and also exacerbated his growingdetestation of his stepfather. The agonizing moods of isolation and despair that Baudelaire had known in adolescence, and which he called his moods of “spleen,” returned and became more frequent.

Early writings.

Baudelaire had returned from the South Seas in 1842 determined as never before to become a poet. From then until 1846 he probably composed the bulk of the poems that make up the first edition (1857) of Les Fleurs du mal. He refrained from publishing them as separate texts, however, which suggests that from the outset he had in mind a coherent collection governed by a tight thematic architecture rather than a simple sequence of self-contained poems. In October 1845 he announced the imminent appearance of a collection entitled Les Lesbiennes (“The Lesbians”), followed, at intervals after 1848, by Les Limbes (“Limbo”), the stated goal of which was to “represent the agitations and melancholies of modern youth.” Neither collection ever appeared in book form, however, and Baudelaire first established himself in the Parisian culturalmilieu not as a poet but as an art critic with his reviews of theSalons of 1845 and 1846. Inspired by the example of the Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix, he elaborated in his Salons a wide-ranging theory of modern painting, with painters being urged to celebrate and express the “heroism of modern life.” In January 1847 Baudelaire published a novella entitled La Fanfarlo whose hero, or antihero, Samuel Cramer, is widely, if simplistically, seen as a self-portrait of the author as he agonizedly oscillates between desire for the maternal and respectable Madame de Cosmelly and the erotic actress-dancer of the title.

Thereafter little is heard of Baudelaire until February 1848,when he is widely reported to have participated in the riots that overthrew King Louis-Philippe and installed the Second Republic; one uncorroborated account has him brandishing agun and urging the insurgents to shoot General Aupick, who was then director of the École Polytechnique. Such stories have led some to dismiss Baudelaire's involvement in the revolutionary events of 1848–51 as mere rebelliousness on the part of a disaffected (and still unpublished) bourgeois poet. More recent studies suggest he had a serious commitment to a radical political viewpoint that probably resembled that of the socialist-anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Baudelaire is reliably reported to have taken part both in the working-class uprising of June 1848 and in the resistance to the Bonapartist military coup of December 1851; the latter, he claimed shortly afterwards, ended his active interest in politics. Henceforth his focus would be exclusively on his writing.
Maturity and decline.

In 1847 Baudelaire had discovered the work of Edgar Allan Poe. Overwhelmed by what he saw as the almost preternatural similarities between the American writer's thought and temperament and his own, he embarked upon the task of translation that was to provide him with his most regular occupation and income for the rest of his life. His translation of Poe's Mesmeric Revelation appeared as early as July 1848, and thereafter translations appeared regularly in reviews before being collected in book form in Histoires extraordinaires (1856; “Extraordinary Tales”) and NouvellesHistoires extraordinaires (1857; “New Extraordinary Tales”),each preceded by an important critical introduction by Baudelaire. These were followed by Les Aventures d'ArthurGordon Pym (1857), Eurêka (1864), and Histoires grotesques et sérieuses (1865; “Grotesque and Serious Tales”). As translations these works are, at their best, classics of French prose, and Poe's example gave Baudelaire greater confidence in his own aesthetic theories and ideals of poetry. Baudelaire also began studying the work of the conservative theorist Joseph de Maistre, who, together with Poe, impelled his thought in an increasingly antinaturalist and antihumanist direction. From the mid-1850s Baudelaire would regard himself as a Roman Catholic, though his obsession with original sin and the Devil remained unaccompanied by faith in God's forgiveness and love, and his Christology was impoverished to the point of nonexistence.

Between 1852 and 1854 Baudelaire addressed a number ofpoems to Apollonie Sabatier, celebrating her, despite her reputation as a high-class courtesan, as his madonna and muse, and in 1854 he had a brief liaison with the actress Marie Daubrun. In the meantime Baudelaire's growing reputation as Poe's translator and as an art critic at last enabled him to publish some of his poems. In June 1855 the Revue des deux mondes published a sequence of 18 of his poems under the general title of Les Fleurs du mal. The poems, which Baudelaire had chosen for their original styleand startling themes, brought him notoriety. The following year Baudelaire signed a contract with the publisher Poulet-Malassis for a full-length poetry collection to appear with that title. When the first edition of Les Fleurs du mal waspublished in June 1857, 13 of its 100 poems were immediately arraigned for offences to religion or public morality. After a one-day trial on August 20, 1857, six of the poems were ordered to be removed from the book on the grounds of obscenity, with Baudelaire incurring a fine of 300 (later reduced to 50) francs. The six poems were first republished in Belgium in 1866 in the collection Les Épaves (“Wreckage”), and the official ban on them would not be revoked until 1949. Owing largely to these circumstances, Les Fleurs du mal became a byword for depravity, morbidity, and obscenity, and the legend of Baudelaire as the doomeddissident and pornographic poet was born.

The last years.

The failure of Les Fleurs du mal, from which he had expected so much, was a bitter blow to Baudelaire, and the remaining years of his life were darkened by a growing sense of failure, disillusionment, and despair. Shortly after his book's condemnation, he had a brief and apparently botched physical liaison with Apollonie Sabatier, followed, inlate 1859, by an equally brief and unhappy reunion with Marie Daubrun. Although Baudelaire wrote some of his finest works in these years, few were published in book form.After publishing his earliest experiments in prose poetry, he set about preparing a second edition of Les Fleurs du mal. In 1859, while living with his mother at Honfleur on the Seine River estuary, where she had retired after Aupick's death in 1857, Baudelaire produced in rapid succession a series of poetic masterpieces beginning with “Le Voyage” in January and culminating in what is widely regarded as his greatest single poem, “Le Cygne” (“The Swan”), in December. At the same time, he composed two of his most provocative essaysin art criticism, the Salon de 1859 and Le Peintre de la vie moderne (“The Painter of Modern Life”). The latter essay, inspired by the draftsman Constantin Guys, is widely viewedas a prophetic statement of the main elements of the Impressionist vision and style a decade before the actual emergence of that school. The year 1860 saw the publicationof Les Paradis artificiels, Baudelaire's translation of sections of the English essayist Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater accompanied by his own searching analysis and condemnation of drugs. In February 1861 a second, and greatly enlarged and improved,edition of Les Fleurs du mal was published by Poulet-Malassis. Concurrently Baudelaire published important critical essays on Theophile Gautier (1859), Richard Wagner (1861), Victor Hugo and other contemporary poets (1862), and Delacroix (1863), all of which would be collected after his death in L'Art romantique (1869). The tantalizing autobiographical fragments entitled Fusées (“Rockets”) and Mon coeur mis à nu (“My Heart Laid Bare”) also date from the 1850s and early '60s.

In 1861 Baudelaire made an ill-advised and unsuccessful attempt to gain election to the French Academy. In 1862 Poulet-Malassis was declared bankrupt; Baudelaire was involved in his publisher's failure, and his financial difficulties became desperate. By this time he was in a critical state both physically and psychologically, and feeling what he chillingly called “the wind of the wing of imbecility” pass over him. Abandoning verse poetry as his medium, Baudelaire now concentrated on writing prose poems, a sequence of 20 of which was published in La Pressein 1862. In April 1864 he left Paris for Brussels in the hope of persuading a Belgian publisher to publish his complete works. He would remain in Belgium, increasingly embittered and impoverished, until the summer of 1866, when, following a collapse in the Church of Saint-Loup at Namur, he was stricken with paralysis and aphasia from which he would never recover. Baudelaire died at age 46 in the Paris nursing home in which he had been confined for the last yearof his life.

At the time of Baudelaire's death, many of his writings wereunpublished and those that had been published were out of print. This was soon to change, however. The future leaders of the Symbolist movement who attended his funeral were already describing themselves as his followers, and by the 20th century he was widely recognized as one of the greatest French poets of the 19th century.
Les Fleurs du mal.

Baudelaire's poetic masterpiece, the 1861 edition of Les Fleurs du mal, consists of 126 poems arranged in six sectionsof varying length. Baudelaire always insisted that the collection was not a “simple album” but had “a beginning and an end,” each poem revealing its full meaning only whenread in relation to the others within the “singular framework”in which it is placed. A prefatory poem makes it clear that Baudelaire's concern is with the general human predicament of which his own is representative. The collection may best be read in the light of the concluding poem, “Le Voyage,” as a journey through self and society in search of some impossible satisfaction that forever eludes the traveler.

The first section, entitled “Spleen et idéal,” opens with a series of poems that dramatize contrasting views of art, beauty, and the artist, who is depicted alternately as martyr, visionary, performer, pariah, and fool. The focus then shifts to sexual and romantic love, with the first-person narrator of the poems oscillating between extremes of ecstasy (“idéal”)and anguish (“spleen”) as he attempts to find fulfillment through a succession of women whom it is possible, if simplistic, to identify with Jeanne Duval, Apollonie Sabatier, and Marie Daubrun. Each set of love poems describes an erotic cycle that leads from intoxication through conflict andrevulsion to an eventual ambivalent tranquillity born of memory and the transmutation of suffering into art. Yet the attempt to find plenitude through love comes in the end to nothing, and “Spleen et idéal” ends with a sequence of anguished poems, several of them entitled “Spleen,” in which the self is shown imprisoned within itself, with only thecertainty of suffering and death before it.

The second section, “Tableaux parisiens,” was added to the 1861 edition and describes a 24-hour cycle in the life of the city through which the Baudelairean traveler, now metamorphosed into a flaneur (man-about-town), moves in quest of deliverance from the miseries of self, only to find at every turn images of suffering and isolation that remind him all too pertinently of his own. The section includes some of Baudelaire's greatest poems, most notably “Le Cygne,” where the memory of a swan stranded in total dereliction near the Louvre becomes a symbol of an existential condition of loss and exile transcending time and space. Having gone through the city forever meeting himself, the traveler turns, in the much shorter sections that follow, successively to drink (“Le Vin”), sexual depravity (“Fleurs dumal”), and satanism (“Révolte”) in quest of the elusive ideal.His quest is predictably to no avail for, as the final section, entitled “La Mort,” reveals, his journey is an everlasting, open-ended odyssey that, continuing beyond death, will takehim into the depths of the unknown, always in pursuit of the new, which, by definition, must forever elude him.

Prose poems.

Baudelaire's Petite Poèmes en prose was published posthumously in 1869 and was later, as intended by the author, entitled Le Spleen de Paris. He did not live long enough to bring these poems together in a single volume, but it is clear from his correspondence that the work he envisaged was both a continuation of, and a radical departure from, Les Fleurs du mal. Some of the texts may be regarded as authentic poems in prose, while others are closer to miniature prose narratives. Again the setting is primarily urban, with the focus on crowds and the suffering lives they contain: a broken-down street acrobat (“Le Vieux Saltimbanque”), a hapless street trader (“Le Mauvais Vitrier”), the poor staring at the wealthy in their opulent cafés (“Le Yeux des pauvres”), the deranged (“Mademoiselle Bistouri”) and the derelict (“Assommons les pauvres!”), and, in the final text (“Les Bons Chiens”), the pariah dogs that scurry and scavenge through the streets of Brussels. Not only is the subject matter of the prose poems essentially urban, but the form itself, “musical but without rhythm and rhyme, both supple and staccato,” is said to derive from “frequent contact with enormous cities, from thejunction of their innumerable connections.” In its deliberate fragmentation and its merging of the lyrical with the sardonic, Le Spleen de Paris may be regarded as one of the earliest and most successful examples of a specifically urban writing, the textual equivalent of the city scenes of theImpressionists, embodying in its poetics of sudden and disorienting encounter that ambiguous “heroism of modern life” that Baudelaire celebrated in his art criticism.
Influence and assessment.

As both poet and critic, Baudelaire stands in relation to French and European poetry as Gustave Flaubert and Édouard Manet do to fiction and painting, respectively: as a crucial link between Romanticism and modernism and as a supreme example, in both his life and his work, of what it means to be a modern artist. His catalytic influence was recognized in the 19th century by Rimbaud, Verlaine, Mallarmé, and Swinburne and, in the 20th century, by Valéry, Rilke, and T.S. Eliot. In his pursuit of an “evocative magic” of images and sounds, his blending of intellect and feeling, irony and lyricism, and his deliberate eschewal of rhetorical utterance, Baudelaire moved decisively away from the Romantic poetry of statement and emotion to the modern poetry of symbol and suggestion. He was, said his disciple Jules Laforgue, the first poet to write of Paris as one condemned to live day to day in the city, his greatest originality being, as Verlaine wrote as early as 1865, to “represent powerfully and essentially modern man” in all hisphysical, psychological, and moral complexity. He is a pivotal figure in European literature and thought, and his influence on modern poetry has been immense.

Richard D.E. Burton

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud

Oscar Dominguez

Sigmund Freud

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

born May 6, 1856, Freiberg, Moravia, Austrian Empire [now Pribor, Czech Republic]
died Sept. 23, 1939, London, Eng.

Austrian neurologist, founder of psychoanalysis.

Freud may justly be called the most influential intellectual legislator of his age. His creation of psychoanalysis was at once a theory of the human psyche, a therapy for the relief of its ills, and an optic for the interpretation of culture and society. Despite repeated criticisms, attempted refutations, and qualifications of Freud's work, its spell remained powerful well after his death and in fields far removed from psychology as it is narrowly defined. If, as the American sociologist Philip Rieff once contended, “psychological man” replaced such earlier notions as political, religious, or economic man as the 20th century's dominant self-image, it is in no small measure due to the power of Freud's vision and the seeming inexhaustibility of the intellectual legacy he left behind.
Early life and training

Freud's father, Jakob, was a Jewish wool merchant who had been married once before he wed the boy's mother, Amalie Nathansohn. The father, 40 years old at Freud's birth, seemsto have been a relatively remote and authoritarian figure, while his mother appears to have been more nurturant and emotionally available. Although Freud had two older half-brothers, his strongest if also most ambivalent attachment seems to have been to a nephew, John, one year his senior, who provided the model of intimate friend and hated rival that Freud reproduced often at later stages of his life.

In 1859 the Freud family was compelled for economic reasons to move to Leipzig and then a year after to Vienna, where Freud remained until the Nazi annexation of Austria 78 years later. Despite Freud's dislike of the imperial city, inpart because of its citizens' frequent anti-Semitism, psychoanalysis reflected in significant ways the cultural andpolitical context out of which it emerged. For example, Freud's sensitivity to the vulnerability of paternal authority within the psyche may well have been stimulated by the decline in power suffered by his father's generation, often liberal rationalists, in the Habsburg empire. So too his interest in the theme of the seduction of daughters was rooted in complicated ways in the context of Viennese attitudes toward female sexuality.

In 1873 Freud was graduated from the Sperl Gymnasium and, apparently inspired by a public reading of an essay by Goethe on nature, turned to medicine as a career. At the University of Vienna he worked with one of the leading physiologists of his day, Ernst von Brücke, an exponent of the materialist, antivitalist science of Hermann von Helmholtz. In 1882 he entered the General Hospital in Vienna as a clinical assistant to train with the psychiatrist Theodor Meynert and the professor of internal medicine Hermann Nothnagel. In 1885 Freud was appointed lecturer in neuropathology, having concluded important research on the brain's medulla. At this time he also developed an interest in the pharmaceutical benefits of cocaine, which he pursued for several years. Although some beneficial results were found in eye surgery, which have been credited to Freud's friend Carl Koller, the general outcome was disastrous. Not only did Freud's advocacy lead to a mortal addiction in another close friend, Ernst Fleischl von Marxow, but it also tarnished his medical reputation for a time. Whether or not one interprets this episode in terms that call into question Freud's prudence as a scientist, it was of a piece with his lifelong willingness to attempt bold solutions to relieve human suffering.

Freud's scientific training remained of cardinal importance in his work, or at least in his own conception of it. In such writings as his “Entwurf einer Psychologie” (written 1895, published 1950; “Project for a Scientific Psychology”) he affirmed his intention to find a physiological and materialist basis for his theories of the psyche. Here a mechanistic neurophysiological model vied with a more organismic, phylogenetic one in ways that demonstrate Freud's complicated debt to the science of his day.

In late 1885 Freud left Vienna to continue his studies of neuropathology at the Salpêtrière clinic in Paris, where he worked under the guidance of Jean-Martin Charcot. His 19 weeks in the French capital proved a turning point in his career, for Charcot's work with patients classified as “hysterics” introduced Freud to the possibility that psychological disorders might have their source in the mind rather than the brain. Charcot's demonstration of a link between hysterical symptoms, such as paralysis of a limb, and hypnotic suggestion implied the power of mental states rather than nerves in the etiology of disease. Although Freud was soon to abandon his faith in hypnosis, he returned to Vienna in February 1886 with the seed of his revolutionary psychological method implanted.

Several months after his return Freud married Martha Bernays, the daughter of a prominent Jewish family whose ancestors included a chief rabbi of Hamburg and Heinrich Heine. She was to bear six children, one of whom, Anna Freud, was to become a distinguished psychoanalyst in her own right. Although the glowing picture of their marriage painted by Ernest Jones in his biography of Freud has been nuanced by later scholars, it is clear that Martha Bernays Freud was a deeply sustaining presence during her husband's tumultuous career.

Shortly after his marriage Freud began his closest friendship, with the Berlin physician Wilhelm Fliess, whose role in the development of psychoanalysis has occasioned widespread debate. Throughout the 15 years of their intimacy Fliess provided Freud an invaluable interlocutor for his most daring ideas. Freud's belief in human bisexuality, his idea of erotogenic zones on the body, and perhaps even his imputation of sexuality to infants may wellhave been stimulated by their friendship.

A somewhat less controversial influence arose from the partnership Freud began with the physician Josef Breuer after his return from Paris. Freud turned to a clinical practicein neuropsychology, and the office he established at Berggasse 19 was to remain his consulting room for almost half a century. Before their collaboration began, during the early 1880s, Breuer had treated a patient named Bertha Pappenheim—or “Anna O.,” as she became known in the literature—who was suffering from a variety of hysterical symptoms. Rather than using hypnotic suggestion, as had Charcot, Breuer allowed her to lapse into a state resembling autohypnosis, in which she would talk about the initial manifestations of her symptoms. To Breuer's surprise, the very act of verbalization seemed to provide some relief fromtheir hold over her (although later scholarship has cast doubton its permanence). “The talking cure” or “chimney sweeping,” as Breuer and Anna O., respectively, called it, seemed to act cathartically to produce an abreaction, or discharge, of the pent-up emotional blockage at the root of the pathological behaviour.

Psychoanalytic theory

Freud, still beholden to Charcot's hypnotic method, did not grasp the full implications of Breuer's experience until a decade later, when he developed the technique of free association. In part an extrapolation of the automatic writingpromoted by the German Jewish writer Ludwig Börne a century before, in part a result of his own clinical experience with other hysterics, this revolutionary method was announced in the work Freud published jointly with Breuer in 1895, Studien über Hysterie (Studies in Hysteria). By encouraging the patient to express any random thoughts that came associatively to mind, the technique aimed at uncovering hitherto unarticulated material from the realm ofthe psyche that Freud, following a long tradition, called the unconscious. Because of its incompatibility with conscious thoughts or conflicts with other unconscious ones, this material was normally hidden, forgotten, or unavailable to conscious reflection. Difficulty in freely associating—suddensilences, stuttering, or the like—suggested to Freud the importance of the material struggling to be expressed, as well as the power of what he called the patient's defenses against that expression. Such blockages Freud dubbed resistance, which had to be broken down in order to reveal hidden conflicts. Unlike Charcot and Breuer, Freud came to the conclusion, based on his clinical experience with female hysterics, that the most insistent source of resisted material was sexual in nature. And even more momentously, he linked the etiology of neurotic symptoms to the same struggle between a sexual feeling or urge and the psychic defenses against it. Being able to bring that conflict to consciousness through free association and then probing its implications was thus a crucial step, he reasoned, on the road to relieving the symptom, which was best understood as an unwitting compromise formation between the wish andthe defense.
Psychoanalytic theory

Screen memories

At first, however, Freud was uncertain about the precise status of the sexual component in this dynamic conception of the psyche. His patients seemed to recall actual experiences of early seductions, often incestuous in nature. Freud's initial impulse was to accept these as having happened. But then, as he disclosed in a now famous letter to Fliess of Sept. 2, 1897, he concluded that, rather than being memories of actual events, these shocking recollections were the residues of infantile impulses and desires to be seduced by an adult. What was recalled was nota genuine memory but what he would later call a screen memory, or fantasy, hiding a primitive wish. That is, rather than stressing the corrupting initiative of adults in the etiology of neuroses, Freud concluded that the fantasies and yearnings of the child were at the root of later conflict.

The absolute centrality of his change of heart in the subsequent development of psychoanalysis cannot be doubted. For in attributing sexuality to children, emphasizingthe causal power of fantasies, and establishing the importance of repressed desires, Freud laid the groundwork for what many have called the epic journey into his own psyche, which followed soon after the dissolution of his partnership with Breuer.

Freud's work on hysteria had focused on female sexuality and its potential for neurotic expression. To be fully universal, psychoanalysis—a term Freud coined in 1896—would also have to examine the male psyche in a condition of what might be called normality. It would have to become more than a psychotherapy and develop into a complete theory of the mind. To this end Freud accepted theenormous risk of generalizing from the experience he knew best: his own. Significantly, his self-analysis was both the first and the last in the history of the movement he spawned;all future analysts would have to undergo a training analysis with someone whose own analysis was ultimately traceable to Freud's of his disciples.

Freud's self-exploration was apparently enabled by a disturbing event in his life. In October 1896, Jakob Freud died shortly before his 81st birthday. Emotions were released in his son that he understood as having been long repressed, emotions concerning his earliest familial experiences and feelings. Beginning in earnest in July 1897, Freud attempted to reveal their meaning by drawing on a technique that had been available for millennia: the deciphering of dreams. Freud's contribution to the tradition of dream analysis was path-breaking, for in insisting on themas “the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious,” he provided a remarkably elaborate account of why dreams originate and how they function.

The interpretation of dreams

In what many commentators consider his master work, Die Traumdeutung (published in 1899, but given the date of the dawning century to emphasize its epochal character; The Interpretation of Dreams ), he presented his findings. Interspersing evidence from his own dreams with evidence from those recounted in his clinical practice, Freud contended that dreams played a fundamental role in the psychic economy. The mind's energy—which Freud called libido and identified principally, but not exclusively, with the sexual drive—was a fluid and malleable force capable of excessive and disturbing power. Needing to be discharged toensure pleasure and prevent pain, it sought whatever outlet it might find. If denied the gratification provided by direct motor action, libidinal energy could seek its release through mental channels. Or, in the language of The Interpretation of Dreams, a wish can be satisfied by an imaginary wish fulfillment. All dreams, Freud claimed, even nightmares manifesting apparent anxiety, are the fulfillment of such wishes.

More precisely, dreams are the disguised expression of wish fulfillments. Like neurotic symptoms, they are the effects of compromises in the psyche between desires and prohibitions in conflict with their realization. Although sleep can relax the power of the mind's diurnal censorship of forbidden desires, such censorship, nonetheless, persists in part during nocturnal existence. Dreams, therefore, have to be decoded to be understood, and not merely because they are actually forbidden desires experienced in distorted fashion. For dreams undergo further revision in the process of being recounted to the analyst.

The Interpretation of Dreams provides a hermeneutic for the unmasking of the dream's disguise, or dreamwork, as Freud called it. The manifest content of the dream, that which is remembered and reported, must be understood as veiling a latent meaning. Dreams defy logical entailment and narrative coherence, for they intermingle the residues of immediate daily experience with the deepest, often most infantile wishes. Yet they can be ultimately decoded by attending to four basic activities of the dreamwork and reversing their mystifying effect.

The first of these activities, condensation, operates through the fusion of several different elements into one. As such, it exemplifies one of the key operations of psychic life, which Freud called overdetermination. No direct correspondence between a simple manifest content and its multidimensional latent counterpart can be assumed. The second activity of the dreamwork, displacement, refers to the decentring of dream thoughts, so that the most urgent wish is often obliquely or marginally represented on the manifest level. Displacement also means the associative substitution of onesignifier in the dream for another, say, the king for one's father. The third activity Freud called representation, by which he meant the transformation of thoughts into images. Decoding a dream thus means translating such visual representations back into intersubjectively available language through free association. The final function of the dreamwork is secondary revision, which provides some orderand intelligibility to the dream by supplementing its content with narrative coherence. The process of dream interpretation thus reverses the direction of the dreamwork, moving from the level of the conscious recounting of the dream through the preconscious back beyond censorship into the unconscious itself.
Psychoanalytic theory

Further theoretical development

In 1904 Freud published Zur Psychopathologie des Alltagslebens (The Psychopathology of Everyday Life), in which he explored such seemingly insignificant errors as slips of the tongue or pen (later colloquially called Freudian slips), misreadings, or forgetting of names. These errors Freud understood to have symptomatic and thus interpretable importance. But unlike dreams they need not betray a repressed infantile wish yet can arise from more immediate hostile, jealous, or egoistic causes.

In 1905 Freud extended the scope of this analysis by examining Der Witz und seine Beziehung zum Unbewussten (Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious). Invoking the idea of “joke-work” as a process comparable to dreamwork, he also acknowledged the double-sided quality of jokes, at once consciously contrived and unconsciously revealing. Seemingly innocent phenomena like puns or jests are as open to interpretation as more obviously tendentious, obscene, or hostile jokes. The explosive response often produced by successful humour, Freud contended, owes its power to the orgasmic release of unconscious impulses, aggressive as well as sexual. But insofar as jokes are more deliberate than dreams or slips, they draw on the rational dimension of the psyche that Freud was to call the ego as much as on what he was to call the id.

In 1905 Freud also published the work that first thrust him into the limelight as the alleged champion of a pansexualist understanding of the mind: Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie (Three Contributions to the Sexual Theory, later translated as Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality),revised and expanded in subsequent editions. The work established Freud, along with Richard von Kraft-Ebing, Havelock Ellis, Albert Moll, and Iwan Bloch, as a pioneer in the serious study of sexology. Here he outlined in greater detail than before his reasons for emphasizing the sexual component in the development of both normal and pathological behaviour. Although not as reductionist as popularly assumed, Freud nonetheless extended the concept of sexuality beyond conventional usage to include apanoply of erotic impulses from the earliest childhood years on. Distinguishing between sexual aims (the act toward which instincts strive) and sexual objects (the person, organ,or physical entity eliciting attraction), he elaborated a repertoire of sexually generated behaviour of astonishing variety. Beginning very early in life, imperiously insistent onits gratification, remarkably plastic in its expression, and open to easy maldevelopment, sexuality, Freud concluded, is the prime mover in a great deal of human behaviour.

Sexuality and development

To spell out the formative development of the sexual drive, Freud focused on the progressive replacement of erotogenic zones in the body by others. An originally polymorphous sexuality first seeks gratification orally through sucking at the mother's breast, an object for which other surrogates can later be provided. Initially unable to distinguish between self and breast, the infant soon comes to appreciate its mother as the first external love object. Later Freud would contend that even before that moment, the child can treat its own body as such an object, going beyond undifferentiated autoeroticism to a narcissistic love for the self as such. After the oral phase, during the second year, the child's erotic focus shifts to its anus, stimulated by the struggle over toilet training. During the anal phase the child's pleasure in defecation is confronted with the demands of self-control. The third phase, lasting from about the fourth to the sixth year, he called the phallic. Because Freud relied on male sexuality as the norm of development,his analysis of this phase aroused considerable opposition, especially because he claimed its major concern is castration anxiety.

To grasp what Freud meant by this fear, it is necessary to understand one of his central contentions. As has been stated, the death of Freud's father was the trauma that permitted him to delve into his own psyche. Not only did Freud experience the expected grief, but he also expresseddisappointment, resentment, and even hostility toward his father in the dreams he analyzed at the time. In the process of abandoning the seduction theory he recognized the source of the anger as his own psyche rather than anything objectively done by his father. Turning, as he often did, to evidence from literary and mythical texts as anticipations of his psychological insights, Freud interpreted that source in terms of Sophocles' tragedy Oedipus Rex. The universal applicability of its plot, he conjectured, lies in the desire of every male child to sleep with his mother and remove the obstacle to the realization of that wish, his father. What he later dubbed the Oedipus complex presents the child with a critical problem, for the unrealizable yearning at its root provokes an imagined response on the part of the father: thethreat of castration.

The phallic stage can only be successfully surmounted if the Oedipus complex with its accompanying castration anxiety can be resolved. According to Freud, this resolution can occur if the boy finally suppresses his sexual desire for the mother, entering a period of so-called latency, and internalizes the reproachful prohibition of the father, makingit his own with the construction of that part of the psyche Freud called the superego or the conscience.

The blatantly phallocentric bias of this account, which was supplemented by a highly controversial assumption of penisenvy in the already castrated female child, proved troublesome for subsequent psychoanalytic theory. Not surprisingly, later analysts of female sexuality have paid more attention to the girl's relations with the pre-Oedipal mother than to the vicissitudes of the Oedipus complex. Anthropological challenges to the universality of the complex have also been damaging, although it has been possible to redescribe it in terms that lift it out of the specificfamilial dynamics of Freud's own day. If the creation of culture is understood as the institution of kinship structures based on exogamy, then the Oedipal drama reflects the deeper struggle between natural desire and cultural authority.

Freud, however, always maintained the intrapsychic importance of the Oedipus complex, whose successful resolution is the precondition for the transition through latency to the mature sexuality he called the genital phase. Here the parent of the opposite sex is conclusively abandoned in favour of a more suitable love object able to reciprocate reproductively useful passion. In the case of the girl, disappointment over the nonexistence of a penis is transcended by the rejection of her mother in favour of a father figure instead. In both cases, sexual maturity means heterosexual, procreatively inclined, genitally focused behaviour.

Sexual development, however, is prone to troubling maladjustments preventing this outcome if the various stages are unsuccessfully negotiated. Fixation of sexual aims or objects can occur at any particular moment, caused either by an actual trauma or the blockage of a powerful libidinal urge. If the fixation is allowed to express itself directly at a later age, the result is what was then generally called a perversion. If, however, some part of the psyche prohibits such overt expression, then, Freud contended, the repressed and censored impulse produces neurotic symptoms, neuroses being conceptualized as the negative of perversions. Neurotics repeat the desired act in repressed form, without conscious memory of its origin or the ability to confront and work it through in the present.

In addition to the neurosis of hysteria, with its conversion of affective conflicts into bodily symptoms, Freud developed complicated etiological explanations for other typical neurotic behaviour, such as obsessive-compulsions, paranoia, and narcissism. These he called psychoneuroses, because of their rootedness in childhood conflicts, as opposed to the actual neuroses such as hypochondria, neurasthenia, and anxiety neurosis, which are due to problems in the present (the last, for example, being caused by the physical suppression of sexual release).

Freud's elaboration of his therapeutic technique during these years focused on the implications of a specific element in the relationship between patient and analyst, an element whose power he first began to recognize in reflecting on Breuer's work with Anna O. Although later scholarship has cast doubt on its veracity, Freud's account of the episode was as follows. An intense rapport between Breuer and his patient had taken an alarming turn when Annadivulged her strong sexual desire for him. Breuer, who recognized the stirrings of reciprocal feelings, broke off his treatment out of an understandable confusion about the ethical implications of acting on these impulses. Freud came to see in this troubling interaction the effects of a morepervasive phenomenon, which he called transference (or in the case of the analyst's desire for the patient, counter-transference). Produced by the projection of feelings, transference, he reasoned, is the reenactment of childhood urges cathected (invested) on a new object. As such, it is the essential tool in the analytic cure, for by bringing to the surface repressed emotions and allowing them to be examined in a clinical setting, transference can permit their being worked through in the present. That is, affective remembrance can be the antidote to neurotic repetition.

It was largely to facilitate transference that Freud developed his celebrated technique of having the patient lie on a couch, not looking directly at the analyst, and free to fantasize with as little intrusion of the analyst's real personality as possible. Restrained and neutral, the analyst functions as a screen for the displacement of early emotions, both erotic and aggressive. Transference onto the analyst is itself a kind of neurosis, but one in the service of an ultimate working through of the conflicting feelings it expresses. Only certain illnesses, however, are open to this treatment, for it demands the ability to redirect libidinal energy outward. The psychoses, Freud sadly concluded, arebased on the redirection of libido back onto the patient's egoand cannot therefore be relieved by transference in the analytic situation. How successful psychoanalytic therapy has been in the treatment of psychoneuroses remains, however, a matter of considerable dispute.

Although Freud's theories were offensive to many in the Vienna of his day, they began to attract a cosmopolitan group of supporters in the early 1900s. In 1902 the Psychological Wednesday Circle began to gather in Freud's waiting room with a number of future luminaries in the psychoanalytic movements in attendance. Alfred Adler and Wilhelm Stekel were often joined by guests such as Sándor Ferenczi, Carl Gustav Jung, Otto Rank, Ernest Jones, Max Eitingon, and A.A. Brill. In 1908 the group was renamed the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society and held its first international congress in Salzburg. In the same year the first branch society was opened in Berlin. In 1909 Freud, along with Jung and Ferenczi, made a historic trip to Clark University in Worcester, Mass. The lectures he gave there were soon published as Über Psychoanalyse (1910; The Origin and Development of Psychoanalysis), the first of several introductions he wrote for a general audience. Along with a series of vivid case studies—the most famous known colloquially as “Dora” (1905), “Little Hans” (1909), “The Rat Man” (1909), “The Psychotic Dr. Schreber” (1911), and “The Wolf Man” (1918)—they made his ideas known to a wider public.

As might be expected of a movement whose treatment emphasized the power of transference and the ubiquity of Oedipal conflict, its early history is a tale rife with dissension, betrayal, apostasy, and excommunication. The most widely noted schisms occurred with Adler in 1911, Stekel in 1912, and Jung in 1913; these were followed by later breaks with Ferenczi, Rank, and Wilhelm Reich in the 1920s. Despite efforts by loyal disciples like Ernest Jones to exculpate Freud from blame, subsequent research concerning his relations with former disciples like Viktor Tausk have clouded the picture considerably. Critics of the hagiographic legend of Freud have, in fact, had a relatively easy time documenting the tension between Freud's aspirations to scientific objectivity and the extraordinarily fraught personal context in which his ideas were developed and disseminated. Even well after Freud's death, his archivists' insistence on limiting access to potentially embarrassing material in his papers has reinforced the impression that the psychoanalytic movement resembled more a sectarian church than a scientific community (at leastas the latter is ideally understood).
Psychoanalytic theory

Toward a general theory

If the troubled history of its institutionalization served to callpsychoanalysis into question in certain quarters, so too did its founder's penchant for extrapolating his clinical findings into a more ambitious general theory. As he admitted to Fliess in 1900, “I am actually not a man of science at all. . . . I am nothing but a conquistador by temperament, an adventurer.” Freud's so-called metapsychology soon became the basis for wide-ranging speculations about cultural, social, artistic, religious, and anthropological phenomena. Composed of a complicated and often revised mixture of economic, dynamic, and topographical elements, the metapsychology was developed in a series of 12 papers Freud composed during World War I, only some of which were published in his lifetime. Their general findings appeared in two books in the 1920s: Jenseits des Lustprinzips (1920; Beyond the Pleasure Principle) and Das Ich und das Es (1923; The Ego and the Id).

In these works, Freud attempted to clarify the relationship between his earlier topographical division of the psyche intothe unconscious, preconscious, and conscious and his subsequent structural categorization into id, ego, and superego. The id was defined in terms of the most primitive urges for gratification in the infant, urges dominated by the desire for pleasure through the release of tension and the cathexis of energy. Ruled by no laws of logic, indifferent to the demands of expediency, unconstrained by the resistance of external reality, the id is ruled by what Freud called the primary process directly expressing somatically generated instincts. Through the inevitable experience of frustration the infant learns to adapt itself to the exigencies of reality. The secondary process that results leads to the growth of the ego, which follows what Freud called the reality principle in contradistinction to the pleasure principledominating the id. Here the need to delay gratification in the service of self-preservation is slowly learned in an effort to thwart the anxiety produced by unfulfilled desires. What Freud termed defense mechanisms are developed by the ego to deal with such conflicts. Repression is the most fundamental, but Freud also posited an entire repertoire of others, including reaction formation, isolation, undoing, denial, displacement, and rationalization.

The last component in Freud's trichotomy, the superego, develops from the internalization of society's moral commands through identification with parental dictates during the resolution of the Oedipus complex. Only partly conscious, the superego gains some of its punishing force byborrowing certain aggressive elements in the id, which are turned inward against the ego and produce feelings of guilt. But it is largely through the internalization of social norms that the superego is constituted, an acknowledgement that prevents psychoanalysis from conceptualizing the psyche inpurely biologistic or individualistic terms.

Freud's understanding of the primary process underwent a crucial shift in the course of his career. Initially he counterposed a libidinal drive that seeks sexual pleasure to a self-preservation drive whose telos is survival. But in 1914,while examining the phenomenon of narcissism, he came to consider the latter instinct as merely a variant of the former. Unable to accept so monistic a drive theory, Freud sought a new dualistic alternative. He arrived at the speculative assertion that there exists in the psyche an innate, regressive drive for stasis that aims to end life's inevitable tension. This striving for rest he christened the Nirvana principle and the drive underlying it the death instinct, or Thanatos, which he could substitute for self-preservation as the contrary of the life instinct, or Eros.

Social and cultural studies

Freud's mature instinct theory is in many ways a metaphysical construct, comparable to Bergson's élan vital or Schopenhauer's Will. Emboldened by its formulation, Freud launched a series of audacious studies that took him well beyond his clinician's consulting room. These he had already commenced with investigations of Leonardo da Vinci(1910) and the novel Gradiva by Wilhelm Jensen (1907). Here Freud attempted to psychoanalyze works of art as symbolic expressions of their creator's psychodynamics.

The fundamental premise that permitted Freud to examine cultural phenomena was called sublimation in the Three Essays. The appreciation or creation of ideal beauty, Freud contended, is rooted in primitive sexual urges that are transfigured in culturally elevating ways. Unlike repression, which produces only neurotic symptoms whose meaning is unknown even to the sufferer, sublimation is a conflict-free resolution of repression, which leads to intersubjectively available cultural works. Although potentially reductive in itsimplications, the psychoanalytic interpretation of culture can be justly called one of the most powerful “hermeneutics of suspicion,” to borrow the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur's phrase, because it debunks idealist notions of high culture as the alleged transcendence of baser concerns.

Freud extended the scope of his theories to include anthropological and social psychological speculation as wellin Totem und Tabu (1913; Totem and Taboo ). Drawing on Sir James Frazer's explorations of the Australian Aborigines, he interpreted the mixture of fear and reverence for the totemicanimal in terms of the child's attitude toward the parent of the same sex. The Aborigines' insistence on exogamy was a complicated defense against the strong incestuous desires felt by the child for the parent of the opposite sex. Their religion was thus a phylogenetic anticipation of the ontogenetic Oedipal drama played out in modern man's psychic development. But whereas the latter was purely an intrapsychic phenomenon based on fantasies and fears, the former, Freud boldly suggested, was based on actual historical events. Freud speculated that the rebellion of sons against dominating fathers for control over women had culminated in actual parricide. Ultimately producing remorse, this violent act led to atonement through incest taboos and the prohibitions against harming the father-substitute, the totemic object or animal. When the fraternal clan replaced the patriarchal horde, true society emerged. For renunciation of individual aspirations to replace the slain father and a shared sense of guilt in the primal crime led to a contractual agreement to end internecine struggle and band together instead. The totemic ancestor then could evolve into the more impersonal God of the great religions.

A subsequent effort to explain social solidarity, Massenpsychologie und Ich-analyse (1921; Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego), drew on the antidemocratic crowd psychologists of the late 19th century, most notably Gustave Le Bon. Here the disillusionment with liberal, rational politics that some have seen as the seedbedof much of Freud's work was at its most explicit (the only competitor being the debunking psychobiography of Woodrow Wilson he wrote jointly with William Bullitt in 1930, which was not published until 1967). All mass phenomena, Freud suggested, are characterized by intensely regressive emotional ties stripping individuals of their self-control and independence. Rejecting possible alternative explanations such as hypnotic suggestion or imitation and unwilling to follow Jung in postulating a group mind, Freud emphasized instead individual libidinal ties to the group's leader. Group formation is like regression to a primal horde with the leader as the original father. Drawing on the army and the Roman Catholic Church as his examples, Freud never seriously considered less authoritarian modes of collective behaviour.
Social and cultural studies

Religion, civilization, and discontents

Freud's bleak appraisal of social and political solidarity wasreplicated, if in somewhat more nuanced form, in his attitudetoward religion. Although many accounts of Freud's development have discerned debts to one or another aspect of his Jewish background, debts Freud himself partly acknowledged, his avowed position was deeply irreligious. As noted in the account of Totem and Taboo, he always attributed the belief in divinities ultimately to the displaced worship of human ancestors. One of the most potent sources of his break with former disciples like Jung was precisely this skepticism toward spirituality.

In his 1907 essay “Zwangshandlungen und Religionsübungen” (“Obsessive Acts and Religious Practices,” later translated as “Obsessive Actions and Religious Practices”) Freud had already contended that obsessional neuroses are private religious systems and religions themselves no more than the obsessional neurosesof mankind. Twenty years later, in Die Zukunft einer Illusion (1927; The Future of an Illusion), he elaborated this argument, adding that belief in God is a mythic reproduction of the universal state of infantile helplessness. Like an idealized father, God is the projection of childish wishes for an omnipotent protector. If children can outgrow their dependence, he concluded with cautious optimism, then humanity may also hope to leave behind its immature heteronomy.

The simple Enlightenment faith underlying this analysis quickly elicited critical comment, which led to its modification. In an exchange of letters with the French novelist Romain Rolland, Freud came to acknowledge a more intractable source of religious sentiment. The opening section of his next speculative tract, Das Unbehagen in der Kultur (1930; Civilization and Its Discontents ), was devoted to what Rolland had dubbed the oceanic feeling. Freud described it as a sense of indissoluble oneness with the universe, which mystics in particular have celebrated as the fundamental religious experience. Its origin, Freud claimed,is nostalgia for the pre-Oedipal infant's sense of unity with its mother. Although still rooted in infantile helplessness, religion thus derives to some extent from the earliest stage of postnatal development. Regressive longings for its restoration are possibly stronger than those for a powerful father and thus cannot be worked through by way of a collective resolution of the Oedipus complex.

Civilization and Its Discontents, written after the onset of Freud's struggle with cancer of the jaw and in the midst of the rise of European Fascism, was a profoundly unconsoling book. Focusing on the prevalence of human guilt and the impossibility of achieving unalloyed happiness, Freud contended that no social solution of the discontents of mankind is possible. All civilizations, no matter how well planned, can provide only partial relief. For aggression among men is not due to unequal property relations or political injustice, which can be rectified by laws, but rather to the death instinct redirected outward.

Even Eros, Freud suggested, is not fully in harmony with civilization, for the libidinal ties creating collective solidarityare aim-inhibited and diffuse rather than directly sexual. Thus, there is likely to be tension between the urge for sexual gratification and the sublimated love for mankind. Furthermore, because Eros and Thanatos are themselves at odds, conflict and the guilt it engenders are virtually inevitable. The best to be hoped for is a life in which the repressive burdens of civilization are in rough balance with the realization of instinctual gratification and the sublimatedlove for mankind. But reconciliation of nature and culture is impossible, for the price of any civilization is the guilt produced by the necessary thwarting of man's instinctual drives. Although elsewhere Freud had postulated mature, heterosexual genitality and the capacity to work productively as the hallmarks of health and urged that “where id is, there shall ego be,” it is clear that he held out no hope for any collective relief from the discontents of civilization. He only offered an ethic of resigned authenticity, which taught the wisdom of living without the possibility of redemption, either religious or secular.

Last days

Freud's final major work, Der Mann Moses und die monotheistische Religion (1938; Moses and Monotheism ), was more than just the “historical novel” he had initially thought to subtitle it. Moses had long been a figure of capital importance for Freud; indeed Michelangelo's famous statueof Moses had been the subject of an essay written in 1914. The book itself sought to solve the mystery of Moses' origins by claiming that he was actually an aristocratic Egyptian by birth who had chosen the Jewish people to keep alive an earlier monotheistic religion. Too stern and demanding a taskmaster, Moses was slain in a Jewish revolt, and a second,more pliant leader, also called Moses, rose in his place. The guilt engendered by the parricidal act was, however, too much to endure, and the Jews ultimately returned to the religion given them by the original Moses as the two figures were merged into one in their memories. Here Freud's ambivalence about his religious roots and his father's authority was allowed to pervade a highly fanciful story that reveals more about its author than its ostensible subject.

Moses and Monotheism was published in the year Hitler invaded Austria. Freud was forced to flee to England. His books were among the first to be burned, as the fruits of a “Jewish science,” when the Nazis took over Germany. Although psychotherapy was not banned in the Third Reich, where Field Marshall Hermann Göring's cousin headed an official institute, psychoanalysis essentially went into exile, most notably to North America and England. Freud himself died only a few weeks after World War II broke out, at a time when his worst fears about the irrationality lurking behind the facade of civilization were being realized. Freud's deathdid not, however, hinder the reception and dissemination of his ideas. A plethora of Freudian schools emerged to develop psychoanalysis in different directions. In fact, despite the relentless and often compelling challenges mounted against virtually all of his ideas, Freud has remained one of the most potent figures in the intellectual landscape of the 20th century.

Martin Evan Jay


Masson Andre
Mage de flamme (ou d'amour)


(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

born May 2, 1772, Oberwiederstedt, Prussian Saxony [Germany]
died March 25, 1801, Weissenfels, Saxony [Germany]

Pseudonym of Friedrich Leopold, Baron (Freiherr) Von Hardenberg early German Romantic poet and theorist who greatly influenced later Romantic thought.

Novalis was born into a family of Protestant Lower Saxon nobility and took his pseudonym from “de Novali,” a name his family had formerly used. Young Novalis studied law at the University of Jena (1790), where he became acquainted with Friedrich von Schiller, and then at Leipzig, where he formed a friendship with Friedrich von Schlegel and was introduced to the philosophical ideas of Immanuel Kant and Johann Gottlieb Fichte. He completed his studies at Wittenberg in 1793, and in 1796 he was appointed auditor to the Saxon government saltworks at Weissenfels.

In 1794–95 Novalis fell in love with and was engaged to the 14-year-old Sophie von Kühn. She died of tuberculosis in 1797, however, and Novalis expressed his grief in the beautiful Hymnen an die Nacht (1800; Hymns to the Night). In these six prose poems interspersed with verse, Novalis celebrates night, or death, as an entry into a higher life in thepresence of God and anticipates a mystical and loving union with Sophie and with the universe as a whole after his own death. In 1797 he went to the Academy of Freiberg to study mining. In 1798 Novalis again became engaged (to Julie vonCharpentier), and in 1799 he became a mine inspector at the saltworks at Weissenfels, but he died of tuberculosis in 1801 before he could marry.

Novalis' last years were astonishingly creative, filled with encyclopaedic studies, the draft of a philosophical system based on idealism, and his real poetic work. Two collections of fragments that appeared during his lifetime, Blütenstaub (1798; “Pollen”) and Glauben und Liebe (1798; “Faith and Love”), indicate his attempt to unite poetry, philosophy, and science in an allegorical interpretation of the world. His celebrated mythical romance Heinrich von Ofterdingen (1802), set in an idealized vision of the European Middle Ages, describes the mystical and romantic searchings of a young poet. The central image of his visions, a blue flower, became a widely recognized symbol of Romantic longing among Novalis' fellow Romantics.

In the essay Die Christenheit oder Europa (1799; “Christendom or Europe”), Novalis calls for a universal Christian church to restore, in a new age, a Europe whose medieval cultural, social, and intellectual unity had been destroyed by the Reformation and the Enlightenment.


Comte de Lautreamont

Comte de Lautreamont

Wifredo Lam

Les Chants de Maldoror

Les Chants de Maldoror

Les Chants de Maldoror

Bernard Buffet
Les Chants de Maldoror

Bernard Buffet
Les Chants de Maldoror

Bernard Buffet
Les Chants de Maldoror


Comte de Lautreamont

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

born April 4, 1846, Montevideo, Uruguay
died Nov. 4, 1870, Paris, France

Pseudonym of Isidore-lucien Ducasse poet, a strange and enigmatic figure in French literature, who is recognized as a major influence on the Surrealists.

The son of a chancellor in the French consulate, Lautréamontwas sent to France for schooling; he studied at the imperial lycées in Tarbes (1859–62) and Pau (1863–65). He set out for Paris in 1867, ostensibly to attend the École Polytechnique, and disappeared into obscurity. Nothing more is known of hislife, and no portraits of him exist. He took the name of Lautréamont and his title from the arrogant hero of Eugène Sue's historical novel Latréaumont (1837).

The first stanza of his prose poem Les Chants de Maldoror was published anonymously in 1868. A complete edition wasprinted in 1869, but the Belgian publisher, alarmed by its violence and fearing prosecution, refused to distribute it to booksellers. The Poésies, a shorter work, was printed in June 1870. Lautréamont died in Paris later that same year, possibly a victim of the police during the Siege of Paris.

Maldoror was republished in 1890. The work received little notice until the Surrealists, struck by its disquieting juxtaposition of strange and unrelated images, adopted Lautréamont as one of their exemplars. Above all it was the savagery of protest in Maldoror, as if revolt against the human condition had achieved definitive blasphemy, that created a ferment among the poets and painters of the early 20th century.

Helene Smith

Helene Smith en transe et TF


Victor Brauner
Helene Smith

Helene Smith

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Helene Smith (real name Catherine-Elise Muller, 1861 – 1929) was a famous late-19th century French psychic who claimed to be a reincarnation of a Hindu princess and Marie Antoinette, as well as able to communicate with Martians. She would write out the Martian communications on paper and translate them into French, popularizing automatic writing. In 1900, Mlle Smith became famous with the publication of Des Indes à la Planete Mars ("From India to the Planet Mars") by
Théodore Flournoy, Professor of Psychology at the University of Geneva. The book was a sensation.

Helene Smith was known by the Surrealists as the Muse of Automatic Writing. They considered her evidence of the power of the surreal and a symbol of surrealist knowledge.


Pancho Villa

Max Ernst
Pancho Villa

Pancho Villa

born June 5, 1878, Hacienda de Río Grande, San Juan del Río, Mex.
died June 20, 1923, Parral

byname of Francisco Villa , original name Doroteo Arango Mexican revolutionary and guerrilla leader who fought against the regimes of both Porfirio Díaz and Victoriano Huerta and after 1914 engaged in civil war and banditry.

Villa was the son of a field labourer and was orphaned at an early age. In revenge for an assault on his sister, hekilled one of the owners of the estate on which he worked and was afterward forced to flee to the mountains, where he spent his adolescence as a fugitive.

In 1909 Villa joined Francisco Madero's uprising against the dictator of Mexico, Porfirio Díaz. During the rebellion, Villa, who lacked a formal education but had learned to read and write, displayed his talents as soldier and organizer. Combined with his intimate knowledge of the land and the people of northern Mexico, these gifts enabled him to place at Madero's disposal a division of trained soldiers under his command. After the success of the revolution, Villa remained in the irregular army.

In 1912, during the rebellion of Pascual Orozco, Villa aroused the suspicion of General Victoriano Huerta, who condemned him to death, but Madero ordered a stay of execution and sent Villa to prison instead. Villa escaped from prison in November and fled to the United States. After Madero's assassination in 1913, Villa returned to Mexico and formed a military band of several thousand men that became known as the famous División del Norte (Division of the North). Combining his force with that of Venustiano Carranza, Villa revolted against the increasingly repressive and inefficient dictatorship of Huerta, once again revealing his military talents by winning several victories. In December 1913 Villa became governor of the state of Chihuahua and with Carranza won a decisive victory over Huerta in June 1914. Together they entered Mexico City as the victorious leaders of a revolution.

Rivalry between Villa and Carranza, however, soon led to a break between the two, and Villa was forced to flee Mexico City with the revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata in December 1914. Badly defeated by Carranza in a series of battles, he and Zapata fled to the mountains of the north. Butin order to demonstrate that Carranza did not control northern Mexico, Villa executed some 17 U.S. citizens at Santa Isabel in January 1916 and two months later attacked Columbus, New Mexico, killing about 17 Americans. President Woodrow Wilson then sent an expedition under General John J. Pershing to that area, but, because of Villa's popularity and intimate acquaintance with the terrain of northern Mexico and because of the Mexican government's dislike of Pershing's presence on Mexican soil, it proved impossible to capture Villa.

Villa continued his guerrilla activities as long as Carranza remained in power. After the overthrow of Carranza's government in 1920, Villa was granted a pardon and a ranchnear Parral, Chihuahua, in return for agreeing to retire from politics. Three years later he was assassinated on his ranch.




Andre Breton

Medical Astrology-Man

Opus chirurgicum - Francfort sur le Main, 1565


born Nov. 11 or Dec. 17, 1493, Einsiedeln, Switz.
died Sept. 24, 1541, Salzburg, Archbishopric of Salzburg [now in Austria]

byname of Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus Von Hohenheim German-Swiss physician and alchemist who established the role of chemistry in medicine. He published Der grossen Wundartzney (“Great Surgery Book”) in 1536 and a clinical description of syphilis in 1530.

Early life.

Paracelsus was the only son of a somewhat impoverished German doctor and chemist. Theophrastus, as he was first called, was a small boy when his mother died; his father then moved to Villach in southern Austria. There the boy attendedthe Bergschule, founded by the wealthy Fugger family of merchant bankers of Augsburg, where his father taught chemical theory and practice. Youngsters were trained at theBergschule as overseers and analysts for mining operations in gold, tin, and mercury, as well as iron, alum, and copper-sulfate ores.

The young Paracelsus learned from miners' talk of metals that “grow” in the earth, watched the seething transformations in the smelting vats, and perhaps wondered if he would one day discover how to transmute lead into gold,as the alchemists sought. Thus Paracelsus early gained insight into metallurgy and chemistry that, doubtless, laid the foundations of his later remarkable discoveries in the field of chemotherapy.

In 1507, at the age of 14, he joined the many vagrant youths who swarmed across Europe in the late Middle Ages, seekingfamous teachers at one university after another. During the next five years Paracelsus is said to have attended the universities of Basel, Tübingen, Vienna, Wittenberg, Leipzig, Heidelberg, and Cologne but was disappointed with them all. He wrote later that he wondered how “the high colleges managed to produce so many high asses,” a typical Paracelsian jibe.


His attitude upset the schoolmen. “The universities do not teach all things,” he wrote, “so a doctor must seek out old wives, gipsies, sorcerers, wandering tribes, old robbers, and such outlaws and take lessons from them. A doctor must be atraveller, . . . Knowledge is experience.” Paracelsus held that the rough-and-ready language of the innkeeper, barber, and teamster had more real dignity and common sense than the dry-as-dust scholasticism of Aristotle, Galen, and Avicenna, the recognized Greek and Arab medical authorities of his day.

Paracelsus is said to have graduated from the University of Vienna with the baccalaureate in medicine in 1510, when he was 17. He was, however, delighted to find the medicine of Galen and the medieval Arab teachers criticized in the University of Ferrara, where, he always insisted, he received his doctoral degree in 1516 (university records are missing for that year). At Ferrara he was free to express his rejection of the prevailing view that the stars and planets controlled all the parts of the human body. He is thought to have begun using the name “para-Celsus” (above or beyond Celsus) at about that time, for he regarded himself as even greater thanCelsus, the renowned 1st-century Roman physician.

Clearly a man of this type could never settle for long in any seat of learning, and so, soon after taking his degree, he set out upon many years of wandering through almost every country in Europe, including England, Ireland, and Scotland. He then took part in the “Netherlandish wars” as an army surgeon, at that time a lowly occupation. Later he went to Russia, was held captive by the Tatars, escaped into Lithuania, went south into Hungary, and again served as an army surgeon in Italy in 1521.

Ultimately his wanderings brought him to Egypt, Arabia, the Holy Land, and, finally, Constantinople. Everywhere he sought out the most learned exponents of practical alchemy,not only to discover the most effective means of medical treatment but also—and even more important—to discover “the latent forces of Nature,” and how to use them. He wrote:

He who is born in imagination discovers the latent forces of Nature. . . . Besides the stars that are established, there is yet another—Imagination—that begets a new star and a new heaven.

Height of his career.

After about 10 years of wandering, he returned home in 1524to Villach to find that his fame for many miraculous cures had preceded him. When it became known that the Great Paracelsus, then aged 33, had been appointed town physician and lecturer in medicine at the University of Basel,students from all parts of Europe began to flock into the city. Pinning a program of his forthcoming lectures to the notice board of the university on June 5, 1527, he invited not only students but anyone and everyone. The authorities were scandalized and incensed by his open invitation. Ten years earlier Luther had circulated his Theses on Indulgences. Later, Paracelsus wrote:

Why do you call me a Medical Luther? . . . I leave it to Luther to defend what he says, and I will be responsiblefor what I say. That which you wish to Luther, you wish also to me: you wish us both in the fire.

Three weeks later, on June 24, 1527, surrounded by a crowd of cheering students, he burned the books of Avicenna, the Arab “Prince of Physicians,” and those of the Greek physician Galen, in front of the university. No doubt his enemies recalled how Luther, just six and a half years beforeat the Elster Gate of Wittenberg on Dec. 10, 1520, had burneda papal bull that threatened excommunication. Paracelsus seemingly remained a Catholic to his death, although it has been said that his books were placed on the Index Expurgatorius. Like Luther, he also lectured and wrote in German rather than Latin, for he loved the common tongue.

Despite his bombastic blunders, he reached the peak of his tempestuous career at Basel. His name and fame spread throughout the known world, and his lecture hall was crowded to overflowing. He stressed the healing power of nature and raged against those methods of treating wounds, such as padding with moss or dried dung, that prevented natural draining. The wounds must drain, he insisted, for “If you prevent infection, Nature will heal the wound all by herself.” He attacked venomously many other medical malpractices of his time and jeered mercilessly at worthless pills, salves, infusions, balsams, electuaries, fumigants, and drenches, much to the delight of his student-disciples.

Paracelsus' triumph at Basel lasted less than a year, however, for he had made too many enemies. By the spring of 1528, he was at loggerheads with doctors, apothecaries, and magistrates. Finally, and suddenly, he had to flee for his life in the dead of night. Alone and penniless he wandered toward Colmar in Upper Alsace, about 50 miles north of Basel. He stayed at various places with friends. Such leisurely travel for the next eight years allowed him to reviseold manuscripts and to write new treatises. With the publication of Der grossen Wundartzney in 1536 he made an astounding comeback; this book restored, and even extended, the almost fabulous reputation he had earned at Basel in his heyday. He became wealthy and was sought by royalty.

In May 1538, at the zenith of this second period of notoriety, he returned to Villach again to see his old father, only to find that he had died four years previously. In 1541 Paracelsus himself died in mysterious circumstances at the age of 48 at the White Horse Inn, Salzburg, where he had taken up an appointment under the prince-archbishop, Duke Ernst of Bavaria.


His medical achievements were outstanding. In 1530 he angered the city council of Nürnberg by writing the best clinical description of syphilis up to that time, maintaining that it could be successfully treated by carefully measured doses of mercury compounds taken internally, thus foreshadowing the Salvarsan treatment of 1909. He stated that the “miners' disease” (silicosis) resulted from inhaling metal vapours and was not a punishment for sin administered by mountain spirits. He was the first to declare that, if given in small doses, “what makes a man ill also cures him,” an anticipation of the modern practice of homeopathy. Paracelsus is said to have cured many persons in the plague-stricken town of Stertzing in the summer of 1534 by administering orally a pill made of bread containing a minute amount of the patient's excreta he had removed on a needle point.

He was the first to connect goitre with minerals, especially lead, in drinking water. He prepared and used new chemical remedies, including those containing mercury, sulfur, iron, and copper sulfate, thus uniting medicine with chemistry, as the first London Pharmacopoeia, in 1618, indicates. Paracelsus, in fact, contributed substantially to the rise of modern medicine, including psychiatric treatment. Carl Gustaf Jung, the psychiatrist, wrote of him that “We see in Paracelsus not only a pioneer in the domains of chemical medicine, but also in those of an empirical psychological healing science.”

John G. Hargrave

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