Dany Nobus Freud's "Good Books" and the Question of Homer In 1907, the editorial board of Neuen Blätter für Literatur und Kunst, a Viennese journal for criticism in the arts and humanities, invited a number of renowned intellectuals, including Hermann Hesse, Arthur Schnitzler, Ernst Mach, and Sigmund Freud, to compile a list of what they regarded as ten "good books." Freud's answer was most extraordinary, because all in all he mentioned more than twenty titles, whilst at the same time discarding half of these as irrelevant with regard to the question, since they concerned "most magnificent," "most significant," and "favourite" works, rather than merely "good books." Freud justified his response by pointing out that good books are "books to which one stands in rather the same relationship as to `good' friends, to whom one owes a part of one's knowledge of life and view of the world--books which one has enjoyed oneself and gladly commends to others, but in connection with which the element of timid reverence, the feeling of one's own smallness in the face of their greatness, is not particularly prominent."1 I shall refrain from reproducing Freud's actual list of "ten good books," here, not because
Comparative Literature Studies – Penn State University Press
Published: Jan 25, 2006
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