Voltaire's Tormented Soul: A Psychobiographic Inquiry

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Associated University Presse, 2008 - Всего страниц: 359
"The historic giant of the Enlightenment, Voltaire, has attracted the attention of literary critics, historians, and philosophers for over two centuries. The products of his brilliant mind, collected in over seventy volumes, have been scrutinized in a plethora of literary essays, while his extraordinarily eventful life has become the subject of a score of biographies. But the roots of perplexing inconsistencies - both in behavioral conduct and in some of his writings - run deeper than the ground generally plowed by literary critics or historians. Constructs for understanding the layered mechanisms of personality (and the methods appropriate for their investigation as developed in the social/behavioral sciences) became necessary. Fortunately, ample material for such an inquiry is available: the poet's vast, emotion-laden correspondence; observations of behavioral peculiarities by friends and chroniclers of the time (cross-verifiable, due to multiple sources); the highly expressive imagery of his poetry and prose - the contes in particular; and his Memoirs." "The findings, in essence, reveal a person of dual identity, with unconscious forces playing a prominent role and holding the key to Voltaire's paradoxical character. His conscious, rational, and cognitively astute self - the standard-bearer of the philosophes in their epochal struggle for freedom - was also responsible for sealing off the subconscious portion of the self associated with traumatic experiences. The elaborate characterological structure erected to ward off consciously unacceptable impulses and, simultaneously, to obtain satisfaction of frustrated needs, is the subject of this study. The price he had to pay for the drastic disconnect between the two selves was formidable. In this volume, much attention is devoted to the unconventional ways and phantasmal stratagems adopted for dealing with the internal pressure of repressed impulses and a perpetual quest for affectional support. Some of these maneuvers show tenuous contact with social reality, as do his bizarre psychosomatic symptoms and bold rationalizations in the Memoirs." "Fortunately for the Western world, Voltaire's prodigious mind was put to use in rattling the cage of the intolerant and rigidly backward theocratic/political system. Due to his immense popularity as a playwright, and his agile participation in current events through a flood of pamphlets, leaflets, and occasional pieces, together with the gigantic volume and engaging style of his correspondence, the name Voltaire became synonymous with the Age of Enlightenment. The dual identity did not interfere with his effectiveness as a humanist. In fact, there is reason to believe that the energy invested in fighting l'infame, the oppressive authority of Church and State, was augmented by a dynamic driving force of the hidden self: the never verbalized and consciously never processed bitter resentment of paternal coercion. Principles and methods of depth psychology, as applied in the study, are elucidated and illustrated."--BOOK JACKET.
 

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New Views on Voltaire

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New Views on Voltaire Although dead for 230 years, Voltaire continues to intrigue, entertain, and enlighten people from all callings. Where did his aggressive attachment to Reason and determination ... Читать весь отзыв

Содержание

Relationships of Adulthood Their Dynamics
185
Divine Emilie
187
A Defaulted Friendship
197
The Poet and the King Alike Yet So Different
206
Doctor Akakia
215
CoreConflict Highlighted by the Maupertuis Affair
223
An Enduring Bond
228
Curious Attachments
234

Le College LouisleGrand
61
Introduced to Adulthood at la Societe du Temple
64
The English Interlude
65
Scars of Early Injury
71
Chere Maman
73
The Bastard of Rochebrune
77
Always Ill
83
The Stage
87
The Art of Circumventing Subconscious Defenses
90
Inflated SelfEsteem
100
Marginal Man
104
Egocentric Impulse in Conflict with Ideology
110
Affair Incomplete Impaired Masculine SelfImage
119
Discomfort with Passionate Love
123
Preference for Simple Friendship
125
Proper Role Models
131
Motivational Forces
139
A Conflict Never Resolved Father and Son
141
Guerrilla Skirmishes by the Pen
151
The Supernatural Father
157
The Archetypal Father
163
Le Petit Volontaire Master Willful Young and Old
168
Choice of a Pseudonym
173
The Calas Case
175
Miscarriage of Justice
176
Voltaire in Action
180
Friend or Parasite?
236
The Magic of Vicarious NeedFulfillment
242
Incest and Avarice
246
Moral Censor and the Core
259
Fluidity of Conscience
261
Voltaires Code of Ethics
265
The Issue of Hypocrisy
274
A Truly Happy Man?
281
The Narcissistic Shield
284
Unmet Affectional Needs
288
When Defenses Falter
291
Sad Thoughts and Resilience
296
A Clinical Overview Life on the Outer Edge of Consciousness
303
Vagaries of the Aggressive Impulse
304
Stunted Emotional Growth
307
Monsieur le Multiform
310
Rescue Operations Real and Imaginary
317
The Splendid Isolation of the Humanities
321
Psychobiography Today
324
Behavioral Clues as Used in Depth Psychology
326
Glossary
328
References
333
Names and Places
341
Subjects
347
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Alexander J. Nemeth is an independent scholar.

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