Debates about the Death Drive

Nosferatu at the Zoo

  • Thomas Macho Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften, Wien
Parole chiave: Modernism, Freud, Death Drive, Nosferatu, Vampire Films


Between 1920 and 1923 Sigmund Freud revised his drive theory: first in Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920), later in The Ego and the Id (1923). Since then, he spoke of Eros and Thanatos, of life and death drives. The concept of the death drive has been hotly debated – in psychoanalytic societies, journals, and at congresses. Outlines of this debate are presented and commented on; but they are also confronted with the premiere of an important silent movie: on 4 March 1922 – on the eve before Pier Paolo Pasolini’s birtht – Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror premiered in the marble hall of the Zoological Garden in Berlin.


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