26 Pages

Artistic Idealization

WithRank Otto

In the process of artistic idealization which, in the faithful portrayal of Nature, yet aspires to aethetic semblance, unreality, even a downright denial of “Nature,” has found its indisputable climax in Greek civilization, the masterly psychological analysis of which Nietzsche gave for the first time. In his first work he puts forward the brilliant conception of that harmonious quality which is the essential factor in Greek culture and which he called “Apollonian,” being the reaction against a kind of neurotic disturbance which he characterizes as “Dionysian.” In his suggestive book, Das Ratsel der Sphinx, Ludwig Laistner has connected the Greek popular legend of the monster choking human beings with the goblin legends of German tradition, and has traced both back to the human experience of the nightmare. That the anxiety dream itself reproduces the primary birth anxiety has now become psychoanalytically clear to the people.