As a psychoanalyst and author, Lou Andreas-Salome traverses the mystery of sexuality in much of her work. This book, comprised of two texts originally written for adolescents, uniquely explores sexual education and the collision of sexuality and religion across the lifespan.
The first piece, "Three Letters to a Young Boy" (1917), is a psychoanalytic fairy tale. The letters offer an interesting version of the evolution of sexual knowledge from childhood through adolescence. The second piece, "The Devil & His Grandmother" (1922), merges sexuality with religion, encapsulating three ages of woman—child, to a lost soul and the Devil's bride, to the Devil's Grandmother. Written in charmingly convoluted dialogue, this work has a cinematic, fanciful feel. Both pieces dispense with academic formality and point to a relaxed new phase in Salome's writing life. Interestingly, this tone can also be detected in her blossoming correspondence with Sigmund Freud, which contrasts starkly with her sombre letters to Rainer Maria Rilke.
It is with the spirit of free thinking demonstrated in these two selections, perhaps informed by Salome's experimentation with free association, that the reader is transported to a new theatre of Salome's imagination.
Matthew Del Nevo and Gary Winship
Lou Andreas-Salome: Three Letters to a Young Boy
Translated by Maike Oergel
1 Weihnachtsmarchen: Christmas Fairy Tale
2 Answer to a Question
3 Geleitwort: A Few Words to Send You on Your Journey
The Devil and His Grandmother
Translated by Kristine Jennings
Act One: The Devil and the Poor Little Soul
Act Two: The Devil with the Child
Act Three: The Devil and His Accomplices
Act Four: The Scream
Act Five: The Devil's Visit with His Grandmother
Act Six: Devil's Death
Note on the Translation