Danubius International Conferences, 3rd International Conference The Danube - Axis of European Identity

The Danubian Eros and Thanatos in Mihail Sebastian’s Work

Alina Chesca
Last modified: 2013-06-06


This paper is to approach two complex psychoanalytical concepts – the Eros and the Thanatos – which are fascinating due to their implications and to the way they are connected to Mihail Sebastian’s biography and creation. Art and biography meet in the work of this danubian writer, who tried to fight against his traumas and to heal himself through writing. The Eros and the Thanatos are omnipresent in the fictional side of Sebastian’s obsessions and, when at an objective level he faced destruction, this dualism resulted in anxiety. Along one’s life, there are two types of anxiety: the fear of life and the fear of death. The main theme of Sebastian’s work is that the human universe proves its strength only by enduring and human beings can reach the ultimate dignity through their ability to endure. However, the instinct of death – the Thanatos – is always connected to the instinct of life – the Eros. We do not intend to reduce the latter one to the idea of love or passion, but we will interpret it in a broader sense – that of life, of creative energy, of light. Sebastian himself said: ”Life starts in darkness. There is a night for every day, there is a shadow for every light”.