Berlin Psychoanalytic: Psychoanalysis and Culture in Weimar Republic Germany and Beyond (Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism)

Berlin Psychoanalytic: Psychoanalysis and Culture in Weimar Republic Germany and Beyond (Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism)

Veronika Fuechtner

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0520258371

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


One hundred years after the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute was established, this book recovers the cultural and intellectual history connected to this vibrant organization and places it alongside the London Bloomsbury group, the Paris Surrealist circle, and the Viennese fin-de-siècle as a crucial chapter in the history of modernism. Taking us from World War I Berlin to the Third Reich and beyond to 1940s Palestine and 1950s New York—and to the influential work of the Frankfurt School—Veronika Fuechtner traces the network of artists and psychoanalysts that began in Germany and continued in exile. Connecting movements, forms, and themes such as Dada, multi-perspectivity, and the urban experience with the theory and practice of psychoanalysis, she illuminates themes distinctive to the Berlin psychoanalytic context such as war trauma, masculinity and femininity, race and anti-Semitism, and the cultural avant-garde. In particular, she explores the lives and works of Alfred Döblin, Max Eitingon, Georg Groddeck, Karen Horney, Richard Huelsenbeck, Count Hermann von Keyserling, Ernst Simmel, and Arnold Zweig.

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idea of any authority of interpretation in matters of the mind. Clearly, Döblin engaged deeply with psychoanalysis in his medical practice. However, he was also interested in psychoanalysis as a theory with ramifications not only for his medical profession but also for his general understanding of the relationship between the individual and society, as well as for his artistic goals and means of expression. The psychoanalyst Werner Kemper depicts Döblin as a member of the BPI’s younger, more

recognize and change.144 In an earlier version of the prologue’s final lines, Döblin enforces the idea of Berlin Alexanderplatz as a psychological narrative even more by outlining two paths that Biberkopf has to fight to take: one visible and the other invisible. The invisible path as a psychological one finds its equivalent in the final metaphors of Berlin Alexanderplatz as a “process of revelation”—a journey from the darkness into the light.145 These metaphors recall those in Döblin’s keynote

engaging with the complex history of Weimar Berlin is to escape the teleology of fascism that informs the analysis of continuities between Weimar Republic modernism and the Third Reich, most famously present in Siegfried Kracauer’s seminal work on the Weimar Republic film From Caligari to Hitler. Recent works such as Anton Kaes’s book on Fritz Lang’s film M have pursued Weimar Berlin’s past, rather than its future, and have emphasized the social and psychological impact of World War I rather than

dispel the National Socialists’ negative image of psychoanalysis. Because of their increasingly hostile interactions with the Nazi officials, the pair became convinced that they could avert the closing of the institute only by voting off all Jewish board members. Anxious to preserve a psychoanalytic institution in Germany that would remain under the control of Freudian analysts, Freud agreed to the election of a new non-Jewish executive board. The first proposal for a change to non-Jewish

overdependence on her parents (she is stuck in the “pregenital phase”), but he interprets her skating as an existentially symbolic activity and encourages her to work with the present and to take “responsibility” for her life. For Huelsenbeck, transference is not a constant part of the analytic process but occurs when Ruth is in a bad mood and thinks he is “like her father.” Huelsenbeck himself, however, is not beyond taking an unreflective, paternal, and even patronizing tone: “Ruth accepts that

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