This book has grown from a belief that the psychoanalytic exploration of literature and performances leads to a richer and fuller understanding of each individual’s internal reality. It includes an exploration of narcissistic fantasies from various protagonists of film and novels and focuses on the fantasy of the omnipotence of the self, which is a predominantly narcissistic desire to be a “Master of the Universe”, a deity, an omnipotent, immortal figure.
Psychoanalysis and art interact in exploring the individual’s refusal to give up grandiose fantasies about the self, or his inability to modulate and integrate them within his personality, which are at the origin of his wish to transcend the human condition. These narcissistic fantasies are often expressed through aggressive and self-destructive behaviour, including flirtation with death and destruction. The emotional truth that great artists convey through symbols which often resonates in the audience is examined in this book through studies and comparisons of narcissistic characters in opera, film and contemporary fiction. Identifying with these figures, who place themselves above the law, may give us the illusion of omnipotence and immortality, which corresponds to a primary narcissistic fantasy, the traces of which exist in various degrees in all of us.
Part of the popular International Psychoanalytical Association Psychoanalytic Ideas and Applications Series, this book is unique in its focus on the narcissistic fantasy of the omnipotence of the self by means of an analysis of a variety of protagonists from the worlds of the performing arts and literature, and on the exploration of their impact on the audience. It will be of interest to psychoanalysts, therapists, and those with an interest in the intersection of psychoanalytic theory with film and literature.