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The Grosz case: Paranoia, Self-Criticism and Anti-Semitism

White, M. (2007) The Grosz case: Paranoia, Self-Criticism and Anti-Semitism. Oxford Art Journal, 30 (3). pp. 431-453. ISSN 0142-6540

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Abstract

In recent years there has been growing interest in the interaction between Dadaists, especially George Grosz, and the discourse of psychiatry.1 Grosz was one of many Dadaists to have either experienced mental illness or simulated it during the First World War.2 There is now a substantial and persuasive literature connecting the Dada ‘state of mind’ to conditions such as neurasthenia, the incidence, diagnosis and treatment of which increased many fold because of the exposure of so many individuals to traumatic experience.3 In addition, there is a substantial body of literature on Grosz that has examined his depiction of sexual violence and murder in the period and located it centrally to an understanding of his work.4 The common strand to these approaches is to perceive the simulation of trauma in Dada montage or the depiction of sexual violence as attempts to shore up a threatened or damaged masculinity. By analogising Dada montage to the psychiatric procedures of shock treatment, Brigid Doherty specifically casts it as reparative in intent and devised for an audience that was itself ‘traumatophile’, in search of relief from anxiety through shock.5 This article will continue the exploration of the interchange between Dada's representation of extreme mental states and the interpretations it provoked. Its focus will not be on neurasthenia but on paranoia; rather than mimicry and repetition, the psychic mechanism central to the analysis that follows is projection. Race will be the central issue here and the interconnections between it and gender and sexuality will have to wait for another occasion to be properly discussed.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > History of Art (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2009 10:50
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2009 10:50
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxartj/kcm021
Status: Published
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Identification Number: 10.1093/oxartj/kcm021
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7141

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