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MENDES, Eliana Rodrigues Pereira. Impulse and sublimation: the trajectory of the concept, its possibilities and limits. Reverso [online]. 2011, vol.33, n.62, pp. 55-67. ISSN 0102-7395.

The author draws the trajectory of the concept of Sublimation, along Freudian Writings, since the correspondence with Fliess, Draft L, in 1897, till An Outline of Psychoanalysis, published in 1940, after Freud’s death. Sublimation is one of the vicissitudes of the impulses, and consists in a process of shifting from impulses’ forces towards a non sexual target, of socially valuable activities, such as art, science and sports. Differently from repression, that is another vicissitude of the impulse, going from symptom to neurosis, Sublimation includes reactive formation, that will form the traces of character, ending in the artistic disposition. As Possibilities of Sublimation there are his connection with desire, that pushes all human creations, and humor, that protects against suffering, and states the ego power. After the introduction of death impulse, Sublimation is seen as capable of letting escape the superego’s aggressive impulses that fight against the libido and the ego becomes exposed to the danger of maltreatment and death. In Psychoanalytic Clinic, Sublimation is present every time that the transformation of the impulses into cultural creations takes place, being this the purpose of analysis: change death impulse into Eros. Lacan says that Sublimation consists in elevate the object to the dignity of Das Ding. This happens in the artistic creation. At the end of the text, the author emphasizes the Limits of Sublimation, by briefly presenting the life and works of three artists: Amedeo Modigliani, Egon Schiele and Frida Kahlo. All three have got success in expressing their creative power, although Sublimation has not made them free of human suffering. Every artist, in order to create, has to keep in touch with the unconscious sources of dangerous and destructive impulses towards his/her ego. The smallest or greater distance from these impulses is what will bring or not the psychic balance to the creator artist.

Keywords : Sublimation; Life Impulse (Eros); Death Impulse (Thanatos); Repression; Desire; Humor; Das Ding; Artistic Creation.

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