R. Gray

German 390/Comp Lit 396/Engl 363/CHID 498/JSIS 488/Lit 298

Freud and the Literary Imagination


Short Writing Assignment 6


Write on one of the following topics (adapted from the study sheet on Mann's Death in Venice) in 150-200 words!


A. Mann's novella, unlike the works we've read by Schnitzler and Kafka, employs a relatively traditional form of third-person omniscient narration to deal with a Freudian thematic. Consider the strategies Mann employs to evoke the psychic dimension of his protagonist, Gustav von Aschenbach. To what extent are they more or less effective than those employed by other authors we have read?


B. In Civilization and Its Discontents, Freud suggests that there are parallels between the psychic constitution of individuals and that of cultures or historical epochs. To what extent can one identify a similar parallel between individual and social or societal "neurosis" in Mann's Death in Venice? Can Mann's text, similar to Freud's, be read as an indictment of Victorian society? If so, what is the basis of its critique?