For those interested in a more visual example of how Freud worked in his theories, I really recommend this film by John Huston in 1962, with an original script written by Jean-Paul Sartre. The film is faithful to the facts and of a high quality; it shows very clear Freud’s beginnings and the reaction of his society. Enjoy!
George Büchner (1813-1837) was a Romantic German writer whose short story “Lenz” (1836) is really a beautiful piece of work. Lenz is an extremely sensitive man able to experiment beauty in an unusual degree. Nature, childhood and religion give him a high sense of spiritual communion in the most holistic sense. The detailed descriptions of nature and his feelings towards it remind Wordsworth’s Preface, which in fact is a a very Romantic approach to this realm. The idealisation of nature, childhood and religion remind as well the Enlightened ideas of Rousseau. In fact, these three realities are the only ones able to calm down the suddenly mood changes of Lenz, which go from ecstasy to depression. Their power to redeem Lenz’s tormented soul is linked to their primitive and innocent beauty.
This story, far from being comical, provokes a feeling of compassion towards Lenz’s madness and an empathy with his sensibility.
As Foucault argues in History of Madness, there is just a subtle line between reason and madness. Is the madman completely crazy or the sensible one totally reasonable? What parameters does medicine apply to place such a border? Could “madness” have periods of more lucidity than reason?
K-Pax is an interesting film which exemplifies how madness and reason can be easily confused; how the rationality of medicine is sometimes weak as disease. You can find the whole film in Youtube, by the way, please enjoy the English trailer.
The friendship between Freud and Schnitzler is also reflected in their respective works. Freud said of his friend to be doing the same psychoanalytic work in his novels with an especial reference to A Dream Story. In fact what Schnitzler presents in his book is a blurred border between life and dreams. Fridolin, a young doctor, lives quite strange adventures in the time of a whole night which lead him to experience a surrealistic world and mysterious facts. Moreover, the novel is aesthetically very well constructed and the role of Fridolin’s wife in his marvellous night is quite intriguing. The relationship of the couple where desire and rancour merge is another fact to be explored.
I really recommend this adaptation of Euripides’ Medea by the Irish dramatist Marina Carr, By the Bog of Cats. The classical themes of madness, love and despair are greatly put into scene in a totally new setting. The atmosphere represents an in-between of the land of the deaths and the alive; ghosts, witches, snow, gipsies and black swans revive the classical tragedy. Childhood trauma is the modern Freudian incursion in the new tragedy which substitutes Medea’s cold vanity for a traumatic Hester. Irish mythology also finds its place in the work together with some Greek elements. Parricide is displayed in a very different way and is linked to the cause of Hester madness, the abandon of the mother.
The question however remains the same: are children at the mercy of their parents? Could someone justify the murder of an own child?
I find a quite contemporary issue to analyse the position in which children are in relation to their parents or in a family. Until what extent are they used or manipulated by their parents’ emotions and to achieve what goals? Citing Girard, could we say about the children to be the scapegoat of our society or even of their own parents?