Written by a philosopher from a philosophical point of view, this book places the contribution of psychoanalysis to the understanding of art within a philosophical framework and seeks to show by argument and example the potential and unrealized power of psychoanalytic theory for a philosophy of art and culture.
The author begins with a detailed study of Freud's theory of art and culture and the ways in which it was explicated and developed through the later work of Kris, Hartmann, Anna Freud, and Kernberg. He then offers examples of interpretations of art which illuminate the discussion of specific problems in the art of the past and present. The author's philosophical approach to psychoanalytic theory brings out features of the theory along with possibilities for its application which have been neglected or unrecognized in recent discussions of aesthetics. The form in which psychoanalytic theory is presented makes the book ideal for the work of art historians, literary critics, and philosophical aestheticians as well as students of philosophy of art and aesthetics.