Anna Amalia und Goethe

in Weimar

Forum der Psychoanalyse

Friday, 19. September 2014 by Admin | 0 comments


In sublimation the desire which sets everything in motion is shifted to other objects and targets. The urge remains largely untouched thereby and is barely reduced in intensity. To appreciate this it is important to view the sexual drive in the conceptual scope of Eros, as Plato described in his teaching on sublimation in “The Symposium” (banquet).

Sublimation serves as a means of defence and allows flight from troubles. This is most successful when the love of another object achieves new possibilities for gratification and therefore makes us into winners.

Goethe’s love poems serve as an example. New investigations suggest that Goethe’s lover was not Charlotte v. Stein but Duchess Anna Amalia. Troubles came from the absolutism prevailing at that time. It was a forbidden love. It had to remain secret; however, in his poems Goethe found ways to acknowledge the love which he was forced to conceal.

The new perspective achieves a new access. Goethe’s love poems seem more comprehensible, more lifelike and closer to the truth. The lyrics tell of greatest happiness and of deepest pain in poems which belong to the best in German literature. They represent a wonderful example of what sublimation can achieve.