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CHAPTER TWO

Hamilton, James W. Karnac Books ePub

Joseph Conrad has been a figure of great interest within the field of psychobiography and the study of the creative process. Joseph (1963) has explored Conrad's struggle with issues of ego identity in his various works. Deutsch (1965) emphasized the problem of depression in Lord Jim while Sterba (1965) applied Greena-cre's concept of the “collective alternates” to demonstrate oedipal concerns in Heart of Darkness. Meyer (1967) focused extensively on many different aspects of Conrad's experience, most notably that of the loss of his parents during early childhood and its effect upon his later development and literary career. Armstrong (1971) stressed the importance of “the conflict of command” (p. 487) in Conrad's relationship to male authority figures, a prominent theme in his fiction. This chapter will cover Conrad's decision to become a writer and the vicissitudes of his subsequent artistic development.

Conrad was born Josef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski on December 3, 1857 in a Russian-occupied section of Poland. His parents, Apollo and Evelina, had married the previous year against her parent'swishes after a long and stormy courtship, and he was to be their only child. His father was a writer and translator as well as a political activist, who was arrested and imprisoned in 1861 for ten months because of his opposition to the Russian regime before being banished together with his family to Eastern Russia in May 1862. While en route to their place of exile, Conrad, who was then four, contracted pneumonia and nearly died but was nursed back to health by his mother, who was beginning to have symptoms of tuberculosis, which eventually led to her death on April 18, 1865. Her loss had a profound effect on her husband who was never able to mourn her, to the extent that he would mark the anniversary of her death by fasting and staring the entire day at her portrait. (Volkan, 1972) Released from exile in December 1867 after developing tuberculosis himself, he and his son moved about Poland frequently before settling in Cracow where Apollo died on May 23 1869.

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CHAPTER FOUR

Hamilton, James W. Karnac Books ePub

A sense of the truth of poetry, of its supreme place in literature, had awakened itself in me. At the risk of ruining all worldly prospects I dabbled in it … was forced out of it … It came back upon me … All was of the nature of being led by a mood, without foresight, or regard to whither it led.

Thomas Hardy (Hardy, E., 1954, p. 260) (emphasis added)

Thomas Hardy holds a unique position in English letters, having been accorded serious recognition both for his poetry and prose. His literary career is unusual in that he be gan as a poet in 1865 at the age of 25, switched to novels and short stories, and in his mid-fifties after the publication of Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure, two of his most-acclaimed works, returned to writing poetry exclusively until his death in 1928. Though best known as a novelist, Hardy saw himself as a poet. In this chapter, an at tempt will be made to appreciate dynamic and genetic factors motivating Hardy to become a creative artist and to understand why he renounced fiction for poetry so late in life.

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CHAPTER SEVEN

Hamilton, James W. Karnac Books ePub

The truth is, that which I imagine to myself I find beautiful, but not that which I accomplish. If I were useful to some other end, I would undertake it heartily. I write only because I cannot stop.

(Kleist, 1982, p. 166)

This chapter will examine the life and work of the German writer Heinrich von Kleist from a psychoanalytic perspective and is intended as a contribution to the understanding of the interrelationship of early trauma, disorders of memory, borderline phenomena, liebestod and the creative process.

Kleist was born October 18, 1777 in Frankfurt am Oder, the middle of 5 children of his father's second marriage. Little is known of his childhood, which he acknowledged later was “joyless”, other than he had two younger siblings, Leopold and Juliane, born April 7, 1780 and September 25, 1784. He was tutored at home along with a cousin, Carl Otto von Pannwitz; was a stutterer; had “musical hallucinations” at an early age; played the clarinet and flute and could reproduce instantaneously any melody he heard. When he was 10, he lost his father, who was commander of the local military garrison, on June 18, 1788 and, shortly thereafter, wassent to Berlin to live with and be educated by a Protestant clergyman, Samuel Catel. Being from a family of distinguished officers that included 18 generals, in 1792, at 15, Kleist enlisted in the army and next year on February 3 his mother died. He fought against the French revolutionary forces in the Rhineland from 1793–95, was promoted to lieutenant in 1797 and resigned his commission in 1799 to enrol at the University of Frankfurt.1

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CHAPTER ONE

Hamilton, James W. Karnac Books ePub

But if I was to report my own dreams, it inevitably followed that I should have to reveal to the public gaze more of the intimacies of my mental life than I liked, or than is normally necessary for any writer who is a man of science and not a poet.

(Freud, 1900, p. 177)

To further our understanding of the intrapsychic elements of the creative process, the life and works of John Keats will be studied with emphasis being placed upon the phenomena of dreaming and mourning in the light of clinical research findings on REM dreaming and children's responses to object loss. Pederson-Krag (1951a) stresses that in choosing the career of a poet Keats was trying to master primarily oedipal conflicts and in another paper (1951b) she traced the connection between a manifest dream of Keats and the composition of a particular sonnet. Barron (1963) regards “Endymion” as a “quest for beauty” and an effort to substantiate the aesthetic qualities of the dream as a means of securing relief from depressive symptomatology.

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CHAPTER EIGHT

Hamilton, James W. Karnac Books ePub

Although I suppose the desire to be a writer has been buried in me for a long time … I never dared admit to myself that I might seriously proclaim my intentions until I was about twenty-six.

Thomas Wolfe (1935a) (emphasis added)

In April 1904, when Thomas Wolfe was three years old, his mother, Julia, took him and five of her other six older children with her by train from their home in Asheville, North Carolina to St. Louis where she operated a boarding house during the World's Fair, the move having been prompted by her wanting to live apart from her husband and be financially independent. This venture ended tragically in November of that year, when Grover Wolfe, age 12 and a twin, contracted typhoid fever and died. His death had an enormous impact on the whole family, especially on young Tom and his mother.

In his first novel, Look Homeward, Angel, which is largely autobiographical as is almost all his fiction, Wolfe presents the aboveincident in great detail, changing the family name to Gant and calling himself Eugene and his mother, Eliza:

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