09/26/2017, 00:12, Vienna  DEUTSCH / ENGLISH

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Hemingway’s Iceberg

Author: Sabrina Zehetner (TVP)


(For the next week, our journalist will be available in the Forum for the questions and comments of our readers!)

Les années folles. Interwar Paris became a meeting and trysting place for “the lost generation” that laid the groundwork for the modernist movement. Concepts of the subject, the narrative of the self, classicism and sexuality were at the heart of the zeitgeist that influenced psychoanalysis, and vice versa. Hemingway’s iceberg theory represented a new way of thinking in a time of upheaval and transition.

Hemingway, les années folles and Psychoanalysis

After the First World War, the lost generation was marked by disillusionment and existential nihilism that arose from post-war traumata. During this time, it was Freud who coined the term “war neurosis” and published the book “Psycho-Analysis and the War Neurosis” with his colleague Ernst Simmel in 1919. Interwar literature mirrored the war experience and its repercussions both in terms of style and content. For many authors death, conflict and the fragility of life served as major themes and more than a few succumbed to liquor’s lure – among them Ernest Hemingway as well as the infamous Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald who were known for their escapades and licentious lifestyle. Someone who appreciates Hemingway’s style is likely to enjoy the works of John Steinbeck, Ezra Pound, Raymond Carver, William Faulkner, James Joyce, Arthur Miller and Joseph Conrad. Like psychoanalysts, interwar authors focused on the individual. They all experimented with language and the unconscious content of a story and addressed human sexuality. This intellectual candour wasn’t well-received by American society and caused – besides the favourable exchange rates - many intellectuals to move to Paris where the climate was significantly more orthodox. With the founding of the Paris Psychoanalytical Society, Paris became a center of psychoanalysis over the course of the 1920s. Freud’s theories heavily influenced the modernist movement with his work laying the foundation for modern thought. He re-interpreted the world along with Darwin and other renowned scholars. After years of being widely ignored in the U.S., psychoanalysis became unstoppable in the 1920s and even threatened to replace experimental psychology. In Interwar England, Virginia Woolf’s brother Adrian was a psychoanalyst – her friends Alix and James Strachey translated Freud’s works....

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