Portraits of the artist: Dionysian creativity in selected works by Gabriele d’Annunzio and Thomas Mann

Wood, Jessica Susan (2016). Portraits of the artist: Dionysian creativity in selected works by Gabriele d’Annunzio and Thomas Mann. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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My thesis argues that Gabriele d’Annunzio and Thomas Mann both conceive of artistic creation as a process which is influenced by their interpretations of Nietzsche’s notion of the Dionysian, and that striking affinities characterise their respective literary portrayals of the relationship between the artist and (a version of) the Dionysian. D’Annunzio and Mann, who were contemporaries, are rarely considered together, and it is widely assumed that there is little common ground between them. This thesis will demonstrate that their creative and critical engagement with Nietzsche, especially his idea of the Dionysian, offers a productive way of comparing the two writers and illuminating hitherto overlooked parallels between their understandings of creativity. The relationship between the artist and the Dionysian will constitute the main point of comparison. For both d’Annunzio and Mann, the Dionysian appears as a drive that can promote creativity, through encouraging liberation from repression and the rediscovery of primordial energies, but also destruction, by threatening self-dissolution, chaos and annihilation. The Dionysian will be seen to offer a highly precarious form of creativity. The artist’s success, and even survival, will depend upon his ability to master this potentially lethal drive, and channel the impulses it triggers into artistic production.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Modern Languages
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/6553


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