[Paleopsych] CHE: (Lous Andreas-Salome) A New Translation Shows There's More to a Muse Than Relationships With Famous Men

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A New Translation Shows There's More to a Muse Than Relationships With Famous 
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 5.10.21


    Raleigh G. Whitinger, professor of German at the University of Alberta

    Lou Andreas-Salomé is best known for the company she kept: Friedrich
    Nietzsche, Rainer Maria Rilke, Sigmund Freud. But Mr. Whitinger argues
    that Andreas-Salomé's prominent roles as muse, lover, and collaborator
    overshadowed her own creative and critical work, much of it concerned
    with feminism and its discontents. His new translation of a cycle of
    novellas by Andreas-Salomé, The Human Family: Stories (University of
    Nebraska Press), opens a door into this oft-neglected aspect of her

    Q. Why have Andreas-Salomé's own writings been ignored by many

    A. She became known mainly due to her relationships to important men.
    As a result of that ... the interest in her writings more or less fell
    under the table. First of all, there is the whole sensation of it.
    People in the more male-centered intellectual circles find it to be a
    rather sensational sequence of relationships and affairs, and focus
    merely on that. That brought with it among many male critics, on the
    one hand, a deprecatory attitude. She was perceived as an intellectual
    groupie. In other males, it brought more of a possessive, desirous
    interest. A sort of idea of captivation.

    It's surprising, though, that her fictional work -- her stories, her
    writing -- was positively received among the general reading public at
    the time. Until the First World War, she was included in and still
    discussed in major comprehensive histories of literature of the time
    and seemed to fall out after that.

    Q. What is the gradual excavation of her literary works adding to our
    knowledge of Andreas-Salomé and her intellectual milieu?

    A. There is greater interest in her writings, whether they are
    critical writings like her book on Ibsen, or some of theoretical
    writings on early feminism. ... In addition to those, the rediscovery
    of her fiction has given us an array of her documents that describe
    the nature of the 1890s second wave of the women's liberation
    movement -- some of the complexities of it, of course, but also the
    general thrust of it. ... It's adding to our historical picture to see
    how the women's movement progressed and how it was mirrored in

    Q. Do we know what some of the intellectual figures of her time
    thought about her work?

    A. I was surprised to find that her book on Nietzsche was received at
    the time (1894) by male critics as a psychological masterpiece. ... I
    have the distinct feeling that her works were known by and alluded to,
    even, by some of the big guns: Thomas Mann, and later, Robert Musil. I
    detect distinct echoes. They both mention her. Especially Thomas Mann
    ... There are aspects of Tonio Kröger, that canonical novella that
    everybody reads in German class, that, to me, distinctly echo a
    Andreas-Salomé story.

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