British and Irish Literature Psychoanalysis
by
David Punter
  • LAST REVIEWED: 13 June 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 20 September 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846719-0049

Introduction

Since the origins of psychoanalysis in the work of Sigmund Freud, its relations to literature and to literary criticism have been complex and challenging. Psychoanalysis is a science of the mind and depends for its very operation on interchanges among people; it is therefore not straightforward to transfer its insights into the study of literary texts. On the other hand, it is true that many of the central tenets of psychoanalysis have, over the years, become matters of general acceptance; thus the very topic of literature and psychoanalysis is a difficult one to define, for whereas in the past there may have been definable schools of psychoanalytic criticism, more recently a whole range of ideas have gradually come into the field of general acceptance. Despite some resistance (and such resistance was identified by Freud as inseparable from the nature of the difficult psychic material that psychoanalysis addresses), it would be difficult to find critical writing, or indeed any kind of intellectual thought in the West, that would totally eschew such formulations as the Oedipus complex, the pleasure principle, or indeed the very notion of some realm of psychic activity most conveniently referred to as the unconscious. This bibliography will attempt to describe and discuss some of the ways in which critics have tried to adapt and import these insights into the study of the literary, but it needs to be said that the embroilment of literature and psychoanalysis was itself an originating moment: many of the writers of the time around the early reception of Freud were deeply influenced by his ideas, and it would be no exaggeration to depict modernism as a “Freudianization” of literature.

Freud

Sigmund Freud was the father of psychoanalysis, and indeed many later formulations of psychoanalysis have portrayed themselves as attempts to “return” to Freud. It is important, however, to bear in mind that Freud himself was reluctant to appear as a theorist of the mind; instead, he portrayed himself as a scientific investigator, whose materials were the stories of his patients as they presented themselves to him. By far the best introduction to Freud’s work in general is not his various lectures on psychoanalysis but rather the five great “case histories” (all of which have technical titles, but also “common names”: the cases of the Rat Man, the Wolf Man, Dora, Schreber, and Little Hans; see Freud 1953, Freud 1960, Freud 1959b, Freud 1959a, Freud 1955, and Freud 1961) that are arguably remarkable literary works in their own right, as well as giving insight into how Freud worked, what his principles were, and what the very notion of “psychoanalytical interpretation” means. At the heart of the Freudian reading of the mind there lies the notion of the unconscious. The implication is that when we think, as human beings, that we know what we are doing, that we are aware of our intentions and beliefs, we are in fact in the grip of a necessary delusion: deeper within the psyche there operates a far different process of causation, which results in behaviors that are very different than what we propose, and that can only be revealed in three ways: through our dreams; through our parapraxes, or slips of the tongue; and through the lengthy and demanding process of psychoanalysis itself (Freud 1957).

  • Freud, Sigmund. The Interpretation of Dreams. Vol. 4–5 of The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Edited by James Strachey. London: Hogarth, 1953.

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    This is Freud’s classic text on dreams. It outlines his crucial assertion (which differentiates the psychoanalytic standpoint from earlier processes of dream interpretation, such as in ancient Greece) that dreams are not omens of the future; rather, they are compounds of the “day’s residues” that necessarily evidence the psyche’s concerns, even when those concerns are not obvious or available to the conscious mind. Originally published in 1900.

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    • Freud, Sigmund. “The ‘Uncanny.’” In An Infantile Neurosis, and Other Works. Vol. 17 of The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Edited by James Strachey, 217–256. London: Hogarth, 1955.

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      This is the most important of all Freud’s contributions to thinking about the literary. In it, he proposes a definition of the uncanny (in relation to a strange convergence between the terms “homely” and “unhomely”); lists many manifestations of the uncanny in “real life”; and goes on to analyze a specific literary text, E. T. A. Hoffmann’s The Sandman. Originally published in 1919.

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      • Freud, Sigmund. “Mourning and Melancholia.” In On the History of Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology, and Other Works. Vol. 14 of The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Edited by James Strachey, 239–260. London: Hogarth, 1957.

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        Freud’s remarkable discrimination between different methods of dealing with loss, death, and bereavement, which has continued to govern all clinical and cultural studies of these phenomena and our reactions to them to the present day.

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        • Freud, Sigmund. “Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming.” In Jensen’s Gradiva, and Other Works. Vol. 9 of The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Edited by James Strachey, 141–153. London: Hogarth, 1959a.

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          This very short piece is crucial for thinking through the relations between psychoanalysis and literature. The essential term here is “fantasy,” but the question raised is, What is fantasy? Is it a mere unproductive by-product; or, if we work with fantasy, may we thus be enabled to look more closely at the world both within and around us? In any event, is this some part of what creative writers do? Originally published in 1908.

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          • Freud, Sigmund. “Delusions and Dreams in Jensen’s Gradiva.” In Jensen’s Gradiva, and Other Works. Vol. 9 of The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Edited by James Strachey, 3–95. London: Hogarth, 1959b.

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            This is a more clearly literarily related text, which makes for interesting reading, partly in terms of Freud’s reticence in relation to the literary—he frequently paid homage to the great writers of the past as knowing more about the structure of the mind than even the most patient of psychologists—and partly for its determined unraveling of literary clues. Originally published in 1907.

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            • Freud, Sigmund. Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious. Vol. 8 of The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Edited by James Strachey. London: Hogarth, 1960.

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              Here Freud performs a type of “literary” analysis, looking at jokes as evidence of underlying psychic—and societal—forces. His exemplary jokes may not, in fact, seem very funny; but the underlying contention that what we say may betray another discourse that is always buried has proved very fruitful for studying what we might call the “unconscious” of a literary text. Originally published in 1905.

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              • Freud, Sigmund. “Civilization and its Discontents.” In The Future of an Illusion, Civilization and its Discontents, and Other Works. Vol. 21 of The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Edited by James Strachey, 59–145. London: Hogarth, 1961.

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                One of the few works where Freud moves into the realm of social and political criticism; and also one where he provocatively assigns the role of art to the realm of “substitutive” gratifications—in other words, as a perennial substitute for other, more dangerous and destructive desires that cannot themselves be satisfied if the “civilized” world is going to survive. Originally published in 1930.

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                Commentaries on Freud

                It has often been said of Freud that, far from seeking to establish a “metapsychology,” his work was limited by its specific location: his patients were mostly from a small stratum of Viennese society. But this apparent limitation has also turned out to be a strength, and it has meant that any search for a “commentary” on Freud inevitably involves a series of adaptations and transformations. It is also true that his writings on literature and art were not copious; but again, this has resulted in a wide set of attempts to bring his insights to bear on manifestations of the creative process. These books all contribute to what one might refer to as a Freudian theory of art and representation in general: what art might mean or signify (Bersani 1986, Hertz 1985); how we might gain understanding of art and literature from an application of basic Freudian categories (De Lauretis 2008, Shamdasani and Münchow 1994, Smith 1980); how we might think of writing as a complex tissue of surface and depth (Derrida 1978, Derrida 1987); what a knowledge of Freud’s own literary background and interests might bring to the work of interpretation (Frankland 2000; Gilman, et al. 1993; Meisel 2007).

                • Bersani, Leo. The Freudian Body: Psychoanalysis and Art. New York: Columbia University Press, 1986.

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                  Bersani ranges across a broad range of culture, including Assyrian bas-reliefs, the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini, the poetry of Mallarmé, and the novels of Samuel Beckett and Henry James, demonstrating an agile sense of the applicability of basic Freudian concepts.

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                  • De Lauretis, Teresa. Freud’s Drive: Psychoanalysis, Literature, Film. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

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                    Perhaps because of the intensity of its involvement with the visual representation of the physical, film has become the site of a particularly rich engagement with Freudian categories, and De Lauretis’s work is one of the most original and stimulating contributions both to the study of film and to the notion of scopophilia, the “love of looking” that connects readily with Freud’s challenging ideas on the pursuit of pleasure.

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                    • Derrida, Jacques. “Freud and the Scene of Writing.” In Writing and Difference. By Jacques Derrida, 196–231. Translated by Alan Bass. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978.

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                      The relation between Derridean deconstruction and psychoanalysis is a long, complicated, and conflictual one. Here Derrida elaborates a theory of writing that, in its interplay between authorial presence and absence, constantly relates to Freud’s ideas on the presence and absence of the subject, on our own unknowingness of the drives that produce us as persons even as they also produce textuality.

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                      • Derrida, Jacques. The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond. Translated by Alan Bass. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

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                        This lengthier work would be regarded by many as the major encounter between Derrida and Freud; some would go further and claim that Derrida had as a major project the “rewriting” of Freud, his reinscription into the field of the text.

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                        • Frankland, Graham. Freud’s Literary Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

                          DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511485763Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Here the author approaches Freud from a literary point of view, analyzing some of Freud’s own writings; but perhaps more importantly he calls attention to Freud’s own immersion in European literary culture, tracing some of the major moments where psychoanalysis itself emerges from, and pays homage to, the insights of earlier literary writers.

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                          • Gilman, Sander L., Jutta Birmele, Jay Geller, and Valerie D. Greenberg, eds. Reading Freud’s Reading. New York: New York University Press, 1993.

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                            This collection of essays is the fruit of a detailed examination of Freud’s own reading material. It brings together specialists from fields as diverse as literary criticism, the history of psychoanalysis, and medical humanities to provide an overview of what the highly cultured Freud read and in what ways he was influenced by it.

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                            • Hertz, Neil. “Freud and the Sandman.” In The End of the Line: Essays on Psychoanalysis and the Sublime. By Neil Hertz, 97–121. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.

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                              This essay builds helpfully upon Freud’s encounter with E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story The Sandman in “The ‘Uncanny.’”

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                              • Meisel, Perry. The Literary Freud. London: Routledge, 2007.

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                                This book performs two linked tasks. Firstly, it investigates some of Freud’s texts from the standpoint of a literary critic, and has some useful things to say about their careful structuring and resonant symbolism; secondly, it looks at the complex relations between Freud and modernism.

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                                • Shamdasani, Sonu, and Michael Münchow, eds. Speculations after Freud: Psychoanalysis, Philosophy and Culture. London: Routledge, 1994.

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                                  This very important book brings together a series of essays by major contributors to psychoanalytic thinking in order to inspect how its insights can be brought to bear on broad issues of contemporary culture. It does not seek to lay down a single line but rather shows a number of widely differing approaches, all of them stimulating and thoughtful.

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                                  • Smith, J. H., ed. The Literary Freud: Mechanisms of Defense and the Poetic Will. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1980.

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                                    Another excellent collection of essays, of particular relevance to literary scholars, dealing as it does with a variety of topics—dreams, allegories, and the creative process among them—and also with a number of writers, including Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Hart Crane, Poe, and Shaw.

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                                    Jung

                                    The history of psychoanalysis has been notoriously fissile. The first major split occurred between Freud and his erstwhile disciple Carl Jung. There were many reasons for this, but perhaps the most interesting one was Jung’s belief in the phenomenon he referred to as the “collective unconscious” (Jung 1968). By this he meant that below the “individual unconscious” there lay a further realm in which all the myths, legends, and assumptions of a particular culture reside, and thus our behaviors are governed not only by our own repressed desires but also by the ways in which those repressions have been enacted and represented in wider and deeper cultural terms. These figures that act and play themselves out through us unwittingly he referred to as the “archetypes”; they are shapes and patterns of behavior and narrative that form the deepest substratum of our psyches (Jung 1966). Jung may well have been the greatest polymath of our times: his books are vast repositories of myths, symbols, and history, and his practice as an analyst was partly to uncover how these ancient motifs operate through the mind and life of an individual patient (Jung 1969). Jungian practice is usually known as “analytical psychology” rather than as psychoanalysis in the Freudian sense. It is difficult to separate out what works of Jung constitute the best beginning for the literary scholar, but here are three possibilities.

                                    • Jung, Carl. The Practice of Psychotherapy: Essays on the Psychology of the Transference and Other Subjects. 2d ed. Translated by R. F. C. Hull. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1966.

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                                      This volume addresses the practical implications of psychotherapy, or “care for the soul.” Among the questions that Jung raises, here and elsewhere, is that of “individuation”: Jung sees it as everybody’s task in life to undertake a journey toward the fully “individuated”; psychotherapy—including crucially the reading of dreams—is one major way toward this necessary destination.

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                                      • Jung, Carl. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. 2d ed. Translated by R. F. C. Hull. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1968.

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                                        Here are many of Jung’s most well-known and productive formulations on his key themes of the archetypes and the collective unconscious. Also a good example of the crucial differences between his writing and that of Freud: where Freud is eager to manifest his self-belief as a scientist of the mind, Jung supposes mental processes to be at all points “poetic.” First published in 1935–1954.

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                                        • Jung, Carl. The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. 2d ed. Translated by R. F. C. Hull. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1969.

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                                          A more rigorous approach to the ideas mentioned above, but still of vast importance to the envisaging of literary representation in relation to symbolism, archetypes, and dream. First published in 1960.

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                                          Analytical Psychology

                                          Perhaps the major contribution of analytical psychology to literary and cultural criticism has been through its attention to narrative structures, and particularly those of myth (Baumlin, et al. 2004; Hillman 1972; Hillman 1979; Hillman 1983). On the one hand, the Jungian school has been held to provide as near a method as one can get to the provision of a “key to all mythologies”; on the other, and for this very reason, it has been supposed to fall prey to a naive “universalization.” Whichever view one may take, Jungian criticism has been rich in insights into both literary works and also those tales that cultures tell themselves, in the form of fairy stories, folktales, and legends, and that might be considered to underpin more “advanced” forms of narrative and that provide repositories of material from which, arguably, genres such as the novel derive their most basic recurring plot structures and banks of imagery (Bettelheim 1976, Rowland 2012, Franz 1970).

                                          • Baumlin, James S., Tita French Baumlin, and George H. Jensen, eds. Post-Jungian Criticism: Theory and Practice. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004.

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                                            Provides an interesting collection of viewpoints that develop the contribution of analytical psychology to the understanding of literature while at the same time taking on the more problematic aspect of Jung’s thought and seeking to mold it to an age that respects a rather different set of perspectives and priorities.

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                                            • Bettelheim, Bruno. The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. New York: Knopf, 1976.

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                                              Whether Bettelheim would have called himself a Jungian or not, notions of narrative archetypes are fundamental to this deeply fascinating account of fairy tales, a pioneering work at the time whose insights have been followed by many later writers.

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                                              • Franz, Marie-Louise von. An Introduction to the Interpretation of Fairy Tales. New York: Spring, 1970.

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                                                A classic, one among many books von Franz published on fairy tales—on their role in the life of children, on their enduring yet ever-changing fascination, and on their meanings when considered in the light of depth psychology.

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                                                • Hillman, James. The Myth of Analysis: Three Essays in Archetypal Psychology. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1972.

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                                                  Hillman is the major recent reinterpreter of Jung; here he takes on the whole idea of psychotherapy and seeks to relocate it as itself one (privileged) narrative among many, of particular usefulness as we try to inspect the stories we tell ourselves.

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                                                  • Hillman, James. The Dream and the Underworld. New York: Harper & Row, 1979.

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                                                    This brilliant analysis of the worlds of dream and the unconscious provides an indispensable account of Western myth in terms of the archetypes and psychic imperatives.

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                                                    • Hillman, James. Healing Fiction. Barrytown, NY: Station Hill, 1983.

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                                                      Takes up again the question of psychotherapy as the “care of souls,” and introduces us to the various ways in which different analysts, Jung among them, have sought to deal with the stories that insistently press themselves upon us even while we may think, at the conscious level, that we are forming those stories for ourselves.

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                                                      • Rowland, Susan. The Ecocritical Psyche: Literature, Evolutionary Complexity and Jung. Hove, UK: Routledge, 2012.

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                                                        An excellent contribution to the long-running debate about the relevance of Jung to our age, and particularly to its developing concerns with varieties of ecology and the inner meanings of the theory of evolution.

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                                                        Lacan

                                                        Jacques Lacan is an extremely difficult and complex thinker and writer (Lacan 1978). At the very heart of his thought is the notion of méconnaissance, by which he means to refer to the way in which human subjects always and inevitably conceive of their subjectivity as central to their interpretation of the world, even while their views are actually skewed by this misperception of the ways in which we are in fact not self-forming (Lacan 1977). In terms of the applicability of his ideas to literature (Stoltzfus 1996), the central concept is best expressed in his problematic dictum that “the unconscious is structured like a language” (Lacan 1968, Chaitin 1996); in other words, that we can only know the unconscious—if we can know it at all—through various rules and habits by means of which it becomes available to us in everyday life, which are necessarily distortions of the hidden, deeper contents of the unconscious (Gallop 1985, Grosz 1990, Žižek 1991).

                                                        • Chaitin, Gilbert D. Rhetoric and Culture in Lacan. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

                                                          DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511518638Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                          This readable account of Lacan is of special interest to students of literature, since it focuses on issues having to do with metaphor and symbol, while helpfully situating Lacan in relation to other revolutionary modern thinkers from Hegel and Heidegger through to Jakobson and Saussure.

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                                                          • Gallop, Jane. Reading Lacan. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1985.

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                                                            An interesting close reading of some of Lacan’s own texts, which seeks to reapply literary analysis while also employing a selection of Lacan’s concepts in the service of textual criticism.

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                                                            • Grosz, Elizabeth. Jacques Lacan: A Feminist Introduction. London: Routledge, 1990.

                                                              DOI: 10.4324/9780203330029Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                              The question of Lacan’s relation to feminism, and indeed to the female psyche in general, has been a fraught one; this book provides a good introduction to many of the issues raised not only by Lacan but also by psychoanalysis in general in its apparent privileging of the phallus and in the overwhelming masculinity of large parts of its clinical history.

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                                                              • Lacan, Jacques. The Language of the Self: The Function of Language in Psychoanalysis. Translated by Anthony Wilden. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1968.

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                                                                Not only a description of “language in psychoanalysis” but also the basis for an approach to the wider functions of language, which at least by implication provides a springboard for looking at Lacan’s concepts in relation to literary texts.

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                                                                • Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Translated by Alan Sheridan. New York: Norton, 1977.

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                                                                  The best selection of Lacan’s writings, and an indispensable guide to his importance in the development of a new kind of Freudianism, portrayed by Lacan himself as a “return” to what he sees as the original, if undisclosed, basis of Freud’s thought.

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                                                                  • Lacan, Jacques. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis. Edited by Jacques-Alain Miller; translated by Alan Sheridan. New York: Norton, 1978.

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                                                                    Here, in the form of a transcription of a long-running seminar, Lacan lays out his approach to what he sees as the four major Freudian concepts: the nature of the unconscious, the omnipresence of the repetition, the importance of psychic transference, and the complex nature of the “drive.”

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                                                                    • Stoltzfus, Ben. Lacan and Literature: Purloined Pretexts. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996.

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                                                                      Behind the title of this collection of ten essays lies the topos of Poe’s short story “The Purloined Letter,” which has been the subject of writing and argument by Lacan, Derrida, and others; but the essays reach out to other writers and titles and provide a valuable introduction to how Lacan’s ideas might interpenetrate with the practices of literature, writing, and reading.

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                                                                      • Žižek, Slavoj. Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991.

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                                                                        Perhaps the most famous introduction to Lacan’s work, seeking to provide a commentary on Lacan’s major concepts through analysis of film and other works of popular culture. Thoroughly readable, and yet unremitting in its intellectual rigor.

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                                                                        Klein

                                                                        Melanie Klein was active in clinical psychoanalysis from the 1920s until her death in 1960. The main distinguishing feature of her practice was that, unlike Freud and many of his successors, she worked with children, some as young as two years old (Klein 1975a, Klein 1975b). This practice led her to novel—and intensely debated—conclusions about the prominence of violence and aggression in children’s fantasies; although much of her work involved the use of play, her interpretations focused on how the interpretation of play serves to reveal children’s unconscious impulses, particularly toward their parents (Winnicott 1971). The study of play led Klein to interesting conclusions about the role of art, which is where her work becomes of significance for the literary and cultural critic (Segal 1979, Segal 1997, Sinclair 1993).

                                                                        • Klein, Melanie. Envy and Gratitude, and Other Works, 1946–1963. New York: Delacorte, 1975a.

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                                                                          Klein devotes her attention to art and literature here principally in the essays “Envy and Gratitude” and “Some Reflections on The Oresteia.”

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                                                                          • Klein, Melanie. Love, Guilt, and Reparation, and Other Works, 1921–1945. New York: Delacorte, 1975b.

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                                                                            This collection contains two crucial essays: “The Importance of Symbol-Formation in the Development of the Ego” and “Love, Guilt, and Reparation.” The central thesis is that the impulse to create a unified work of art constitutes a reparation for the fantasized damage caused by children to their parents in early childhood.

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                                                                            • Segal, Hanna. Klein. London: Fontana, 1979.

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                                                                              This is the most helpful introduction to Klein’s ideas: short and simple, it nonetheless outlines the main themes of Klein’s lifework and alludes to the main issues that will be of interest to students of art and literature.

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                                                                              • Segal, Hanna. Psychoanalysis, Literature and War: Papers 1972–1995. London: Routledge, 1997.

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                                                                                Many of the papers here deal with the interlocked themes of dream, symbolism, and aesthetics, and thus seek to extend psychoanalytic thinking specifically into a modern cultural realm dominated by war and its associated fantasies.

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                                                                                • Sinclair, Alison. The Deceived Husband: A Kleinian Approach to the Literature of Infidelity. Oxford: Clarendon, 1993.

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                                                                                  Drawing on Klein’s thinking, this book gives an account of adultery as a major theme of Western writing from Chaucer and Boccaccio to Madame Bovary and such modern texts as Julian Barnes’s Flaubert’s Parrot, demonstrating how these texts evidence uncertainties inherent within patriarchy and also a broader engagement with the fear of death.

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                                                                                  • Winnicott, D. W. Playing and Reality. London: Tavistock, 1971.

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                                                                                    Winnicott was a major practitioner in the field of object relations, who provides deep insights into what might appear otherwise insignificant phenomena, especially in the field of play, which nonetheless have a profound influence on the creation and reception of art.

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                                                                                    Abraham and Torok

                                                                                    Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok seek to extend and develop Freud’s thinking, particularly in the area of the unconscious. They posit a further realm below the unconscious, which they designate the “crypt”; this realm consists of secrets that are passed down through the family line, and that might be known as “transgenerational phantoms” (Abraham and Torok 1986). These secrets can never be known, but they make their presence felt through their upward pressure on the surfaces of everyday life. We are all at the mercy of these pressures, and thus of the secrets that have been passed down to us not in the form of something known but in the form of a lack, an absence of understanding, which is the fundamental basis of the family. The imagery of crypts, phantoms, and ghosts has proved extremely fertile for literary criticism, especially perhaps in the realm of the Gothic, but also in more general considerations of the role of the “family romance” (Abraham and Torok 1994).

                                                                                    • Abraham, Nicolas, and Maria Torok. The Wolf Man’s Magic Word: A Cryptonymy. Translated by Nicholas Rand. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986.

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                                                                                      Here is where the ideas in the introduction of this section are first developed, especially in relation to a deeply contentious reading of Freud’s case of the “wolf-man”; Abraham and Torok claim to release the hidden, “magic” word that was the evidence for and, in a sense, the source of the wolf-man’s psychic difficulties, thus offering an analytical reading that has been frequently cited as a model for textual criticism.

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                                                                                      • Abraham, Nicolas, and Maria Torok. The Shell and the Kernel: Renewals of Psychoanalysis. Edited and translated by Nicholas T. Rand. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.

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                                                                                        Of particular interest in this group of essays is the focus on Hamlet, in “The Phantom of Hamlet or The Sixth Act, preceded by The Intermission of ‘Truth,’” although students of literature should also read “Fantasy: An Attempt to Define its Structure and Operation” and “The Illness of Mourning and the Fantasy of the Exquisite Corpse.”

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                                                                                        Deleuze and Guattari

                                                                                        Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari cooperated on a number of works: Guattari was a psychoanalyst, while Deleuze preferred to describe himself as a philosopher. Using insights drawn from both philosophy and psychoanalysis, they developed a view of the world that went radically against previous conventions (Deleuze and Guattari 1977). At the heart of their thought is a series of oppositions, principally between the arborescent and the rhizomatic, between that which grows and that which spreads; we seek to live, they claim, by myths of upward development, when in fact what is really happening is taking place under the surface (Deleuze and Guattari 1986). Their thought also embraces a notion of the machinic (war machines, desiring machines), because what they are attempting to analyze is a specific condition of modernity, where human subjectivity is continually in the process of being transformed by realizations and revelations about the technosphere. Above all, their discussions focus on “planes of consistency”: what this means, in simple terms, is that there can never be any one explanatory discourse but rather an asymmetrical, uneven set of attempts, scientific, rationalistic, imaginative, to deal with “truth,” depending on perspective.

                                                                                        • Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane. New York: Viking, 1977.

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                                                                                          In their best-known book, the authors radically relativize the notion of the Oedipus complex, asserting that such “universalist” ideas can only make themselves known—and thus only exist—within specific historical formations; thus the “shape of Oedipus” under conditions of capitalism will be different from any other shape it might have historically taken, and requires different tools of analysis, which will themselves never be free from political and social content and inflection.

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                                                                                          • Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature. Translated by Dana Polan. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986.

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                                                                                            A radically new approach to Kafka, dwelling not on his psychological difficulties and depression but rather on the pleasure that can come from being on the fringes, being immune to the devastating touch of centralizing hierarchies.

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                                                                                            Other Analytic Traditions

                                                                                            The central legacy of Freud has given rise to a host of psychoanalytic “traditions,” some officially recognized in the form of national and international associations, some not. Many analysts continue to work to develop Freud’s ideas; some see themselves as having decisively broken away from them. Most if not at all of the disagreements and disputes at stake are relevant to how we might regard aesthetics, art, and thus of course literature, particularly in relation to unconscious (or “primary”) psychic process. Is art a supreme human achievement, or is it a compensatory activity (Bollas 1992, Chasseguet-Smirgel 1984, Rank 1975)? Does, or can, it “represent” the world as it actually is (if there is such a possibility), or does it reflect an upwelling from the unconscious of the artist or writer (Williams 2010, Milner 1987)? Do our apparently major symbols have a universal, cross-cultural force, or are they emanations from particular historical or social circumstances (Kris 1953, Rogers 1991)? Behind this lie questions about whether or not there is a generalizable human psyche, or whether we are machines conditioned to respond in our different ways to a world that is beyond our grasp, both psychically and socially (Bollas 1989).

                                                                                            • Bollas, Christopher. Forces of Destiny: Psychoanalysis and Human Idiom. London: Free Association, 1989.

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                                                                                              The “object relations” school of psychoanalysis, to which Bollas belongs, emphasizes how the individual “grows” in relation to others, and particularly in relation to how experiences of those others repeat early experiences with the mother and with the breast. Useful to the student of literature in terms of the nature and delusions of individuality.

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                                                                                              • Bollas, Christopher. Being a Character: Psychoanalysis and Self Experience. New York: Hill & Wang, 1992.

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                                                                                                Explores some extreme states of being in relation to how we form our “selves” as characters; but clearly this is relevant to how we read and interpret “characters,” and character itself, in literary texts.

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                                                                                                • Chasseguet-Smirgel, Janine. Creativity and Perversion. New York: W. W. Norton, 1984.

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                                                                                                  Explores the oddness of creativity; rather than being a necessary constituent of all interactions with the outer world, creativity may itself be a perversion, a “different” attempt to come to terms with difficult relationships between inner and outer, between self and other.

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                                                                                                  • Kris, Ernst. Psychoanalytic Explorations in Art. London: Allen & Unwin, 1953.

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                                                                                                    A founder of “ego psychology,” Kris here in a series of essays explores topics such as “The Art of the Insane,” “The Comic,” “Problems of Literary Criticism,” and “Psychology of Creative Processes.” A sparkling and original book.

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                                                                                                    • Milner, Marion. “Psychoanalysis and Art.” In The Suppressed Madness of Sane Men: Forty-Four Years of Exploring Psychoanalysis. By Marion Milner, 156–180. London: Tavistock, 1987.

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                                                                                                      Milner was a true original in psychoanalysis, using techniques and methods that involved patients in the production of art work in her clinical practice. Here she reflects on many years of experience with patients and draws conclusions that shed light on the role of the creative process within the address to pathological states.

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                                                                                                      • Rank, Otto. The Don Juan Legend. Translated and edited by David G. Winter. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1975.

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                                                                                                        In this well-known text, Rank addresses the specific legend of Don Juan, its longevity, and its many transmutations, and seeks to give it psychological meaning. Coupled with his interest in the figure of the double, this throws fresh light on the death drive and the many compensations offered by creativity, whether the creativity offered by art or the creativity reflected in the creation of a specific self.

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                                                                                                        • Rogers, Robert. Self and Other: Object Relations in Psychoanalysis and Literature. New York: New York University Press, 1991.

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                                                                                                          An approach to object relations theory that interestingly uses literary sources, commentary, and theoretical argument.

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                                                                                                          • Williams, Meg Harris. The Aesthetic Development: The Poetic Spirit of Psychoanalysis: Essays on Bion, Meltzer, Keats. London: Karnac, 2010.

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                                                                                                            In the spirit of object relations, Williams examines the connection between attachments in the aesthetic realm and in psychoanalysis, both basing her argument on and concluding it with an investigation of how psychoanalysis may itself be a “poetic process” in its search for metaphorical links and its eschewal of moral judgments.

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                                                                                                            Wild Psychoanalysis

                                                                                                            By “wild psychoanalysis,” I mean here to signify important contributions made to cultural thinking by writers who do not have immediate recourse to clinical practice, but whose work is nonetheless—usually crucially—informed by psychoanalytic theory (Bachelard 1964, Graves 1948). Whether there can be such a thing as psychoanalytic theory divorced from practice remains, of course, a bone of contention; nevertheless, cultural studies have been immeasurably enriched since the early 20th century by the application of analytic concepts to the broader cultural and social field (Hyde 1983), and it is often here that the most interesting—or at least most direct—connections with writing may be found (Holland 1973). It is also the case that some of these texts effect a relation between psychoanalysis (which in its “pure” state might be considered to be free from political opinion or bias) and political commentary (Marcuse 1955); indeed, some of them form the basis of a variety of radicalism that would not stop short at the reform of institutions but would instead—or as well—seek a set of changes in the human mindset itself (Brown 1966).

                                                                                                            • Bachelard, Gaston. The Psychoanalysis of Fire. Translated by Alan C. M. Ross. Boston: Beacon, 1964.

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                                                                                                              One of a set of four books devoted to the four elements of ancient theory; the underlying message here is that institutions themselves are temporary and unstable; that we need to look to older forms of experience to understand what we invest, and why we invest it, in the superficies of modern social life; and that the creative arts often work by reminding us of these ancient springs of meaning.

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                                                                                                              • Brown, Norman O. Love’s Body. New York: Random House, 1966.

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                                                                                                                One of the most extraordinary books ever published, Love’s Body is in fact a tissue of quotations; its purpose is to demonstrate how alienated we are—or have become—from love, and how contemporary organizations of society—which we might most simply call capitalism—encourage and flourish on our enforced renunciation of our own desires, impulses, and instincts.

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                                                                                                                • Graves, Robert. The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth. London: Faber & Faber, 1948.

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                                                                                                                  This book unravels the whole body of Western mythology with a view to showing how it provides us with a hidden narrative of how patriarchy replaced matriarchy as the governing societal force in the West. Immensely erudite; some would say it provides a brilliant narrative about the historical roots of patriarchal domination; others would say (and have said) that it is quite mad.

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                                                                                                                  • Holland, Norman N. Poems in Persons: An Introduction to the Psychoanalysis of Literature. New York: Norton, 1973.

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                                                                                                                    A major influence on literary criticism has been ideas about reader response; these may be ideas having to do with the ways in which whole cultures and what are sometimes called “interpretive communities” respond to texts, but they may also require an in-depth analysis of personal response. This book is the best available on the latter approach.

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                                                                                                                    • Hyde, Lewis. The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property. New York: Random House, 1983.

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                                                                                                                      On the indispensability of creativity, and also on the peculiar role of art as noninstrumental and thus as constituting a “gift” within an otherwise mechanical world.

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                                                                                                                      • Marcuse, Herbert. Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud. Boston: Beacon, 1955.

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                                                                                                                        This hugely important book analyzes capitalism in terms of alienation. According to Marcuse, we live in a world divided between two opposed forces: the force of “civilization,” which seeks to remove us from the world of instinct and desire, and the suppressed but omnipresent force of Eros, which continually—and especially in times of revolution—seeks to break repression’s stranglehold.

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                                                                                                                        Toward Deconstruction

                                                                                                                        During the last decades, the relationship between psychoanalysis and deconstruction has grown ever more complex (Ellmann 2000, Muller and Richardson 1988). While both “schools” of reading are dedicated to exposing what is going on beneath the surface of the text—“turning the text inside out,” as some would say (Royle 1995)—deconstruction, at least until its recent “ethical” turn, has on the whole resolutely rejected the idea that there is anything “outside” the text; psychoanalysis, on the other hand, has to assume that textuality provides some kind of evidence, however inverted or involuted, for an interaction between, or within, psyches (Derrida 1978, Forrester 1990). Common ground, however, could be said to exist in describing a text as never “saying” quite what it means to say: there are always depths, levels that are not made evident on the textual surface (Smith and Kerrigan 1984). Deconstruction and psychoanalysis could both be defined as “sciences of the secret,” with all the ambiguities those words imply about the possibility of what may, in the language of common sense, be thought of as knowledge (Cixous 1976).

                                                                                                                        • Cixous, Hélène. “The Laugh of the Medusa.” Translated by Keith Cohen and Paula Cohen. Signs 1.4 (1976): 875–893.

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                                                                                                                          An extremely influential essay, which deploys analytic and deconstructionist argument to discuss the questions of phallogocentrism, “women’s writing,” and related issues. Sometimes considered to be the foundation stone of “écriture feminine,” it could also be seen as a call for a “different” version of psychoanalysis, one more responsive to gendered difference.

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                                                                                                                          • Derrida, Jacques. “Edmond Jabès and the Question of the Book.” In Writing and Difference. By Jacques Derrida, 64–78. Translated by Alan Bass. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978.

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                                                                                                                            A very short essay that, while it does not address the issue of psychoanalysis head-on, nonetheless raises very significant issues about the relation between the writer and the work.

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                                                                                                                            • Ellmann, Maud. “Deconstruction and Psychoanalysis.” In Deconstructions: A User’s Guide. Edited by Nicholas Royle, 211–237. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, 2000.

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                                                                                                                              Probably the best short discussion of the relation between deconstruction and psychoanalysis, which moves ably between Freud’s “originary” thinking and Derrida’s address to Freud, which could be seen as a permanent underpinning of his ideas, conditioning deconstruction at the outset even as it seeks to break free from all previous systems.

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                                                                                                                              • Forrester, John. The Seductions of Psychoanalysis: Freud, Lacan and Derrida. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                Focused mainly on a reinterpretation of the history of psychoanalysis, up to and including the work of Lacan, and paying particular attention to the problematic attractiveness of Freudian and neo-Freudian interpretations, this book nonetheless lays out some of the general terms of a discussion among Freud, Lacan, and Derrida.

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                                                                                                                                • Muller, John P., and William J. Richardson, eds. The Purloined Poe: Lacan, Derrida, and Psychoanalytic Reading. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988.

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                                                                                                                                  A valuable collection of essays, all of which, directly or obliquely, address the debate between psychoanalysis and deconstruction. The question of the “purloined letter” underpins, signifying as it does the possibility that, when looking for solutions or accurate readings, what may seem in one sense to be the depths turns out, on a revised reading, to be obvious (through the manifestation of the symptom) on the surface.

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                                                                                                                                  • Royle, Nicholas. After Derrida. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                    This assemblage of essays effects a constant probing of deconstruction, its promises, and its limits. In doing so, it inevitably touches repeatedly on the claims of psychoanalysis, with a sometimes refreshing skepticism that can nonetheless be read, as befits the complexity of the text, in a number of different ways.

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                                                                                                                                    • Smith, Joseph H., and William Kerrigan, eds. Taking Chances: Derrida, Psychoanalysis, and Literature. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984.

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                                                                                                                                      Building on Derrida’s conceptualization of “chance,” this book provides many searching insights into how deconstruction has affected—or should affect—the putative certainties of psychoanalytic criticism.

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                                                                                                                                      Survey, Interrogation, Speculation

                                                                                                                                      This section brings together a number of texts that survey the field of psychoanalytic literary criticism, interrogate this field for its inner directions and meanings, or speculate on how psychoanalysis may continue to influence literary criticism as the various disciplines concerned continue to evolve (Easthope 1989, Wright 1998). Yet to suggest these categorizations is too simple, for psychoanalysis—the science of the unconscious—has been a presence, or sometimes a “present absence,” within literature since its inception (Rose 1996). It is even possible to consider literature and psychoanalysis as occupying something of the same space, as Freud undoubtedly did when he asserted that the great writers had always preceded him in his attempts to unravel the secrets of the human psyche (Ellmann 1994, Parkin-Gounelas 2001). Crucial topoi throughout the history of literature, including madness, compromise with the everyday world (Felman 1982), dream and nightmare, sexual fantasy (Lukacher 1986), and various forms of preoccupation with death (Williams and Waddell 1991), will turn out to be, with remarkable precision, the privileged sites of psychoanalytic interrogation; thus the bond between literature and psychoanalysis will continually turn up new secrets for inspection.

                                                                                                                                      • Easthope, Antony. Poetry and Phantasy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

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                                                                                                                                        As well as looking at a broad range of poetry in the Western tradition and inspecting how a psychoanalytic focus on “phantasy” can help to elucidate meaning, this book also works with “historical materialist” ideas, thus grounding psychoanalytic criticism in specific historical circumstance

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                                                                                                                                        • Ellmann, Maud, ed. Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism. London: Longman, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                          Divided into three parts, drama, narrative, and poetry, this collection of essays addresses both classical Freudian interpretation and more recent Lacan-influenced readings, indicating the major shift in psychoanalytic criticism from readings based more upon “content” (for example, the Oedipus myth) to ones based on what might be revealed by the detail and resonance of linguistic structure.

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                                                                                                                                          • Felman, Shoshana, ed. Literature and Psychoanalysis: The Question of Reading, Otherwise. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982.

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                                                                                                                                            A brilliant series of essays addressing many of the crucial interrelations between literature and psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis requires above all the taking of a text at “otherwise” than its face value, yet this does not necessarily displace more conventional forms of literary criticism; rather, it adds depth, especially in its attention to the hidden operations of linguistic structure and emphasis.

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                                                                                                                                            • Lukacher, Ned. Primal Scenes: Literature, Philosophy, Psychoanalysis. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1986.

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                                                                                                                                              A demanding but ultimately rewarding book. Concerned, of course, with the “primal scene,” and especially with how we might use this concept from psychoanalysis to examine our relation to—and among—literary texts, the author draws upon not only Freud but also Hegel, Marx, and Heidegger, and offers a valuable corrective to the assumption that Derrida and Lacan have entirely subsumed their forebears.

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                                                                                                                                              • Parkin-Gounelas, Ruth. Literature and Psychoanalysis: Intertextual Readings. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                An excellent book, full of analytic insight and extensive literary reference. The “intertextuality” mentioned appears to refer to literature and psychoanalysis, but it could just as well refer to the crop of readings that emerge along the way both among literary works and among analytic traditions and emphases.

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                                                                                                                                                • Rose, Jacqueline. States of Fantasy. Oxford: Clarendon, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                  This is a classic—perhaps the classic—late-20th-century example of how to link psychoanalysis, textual reading, and political discourse together. The exemplary material is strategically chosen; the deployment of analytic concepts is delicate and clear. Although not a work of literary criticism as such, it shows a glimpse of what an analytically formed criticism might come to be.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Williams, Meg Harris, and Margot Waddell. The Chamber of Maiden Thought: Literary Origins of the Psychoanalytic Model of the Mind. London: Tavistock/Routledge, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                    Contains chapters on Shakespeare, Milton, Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Keats, Emily Brontë, and George Eliot. The most fruitful (in the authors’ view, Kleinian) current models of the mind owe much to literary forebears, and their future evolution will depend on staying in touch with this rich heritage.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Wright, Elizabeth. Psychoanalytic Criticism: A Reappraisal. 2d ed. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                      An essential text, revised and brought up to date from the earlier, pioneering editions. The whole field is surveyed here, with judiciousness and a deep level of analytic acumen. There is probably still no better introduction to the field of psychoanalysis and literature, and furthermore, this is not merely an introduction: it enables the reader to take a broad, informed conspectus.

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                                                                                                                                                      Gender

                                                                                                                                                      Freud was a man; Jung was a man; most of the early psychoanalysts were men (Lane 1999), although since the vastly significant contributions of Melanie Klein and Anna Freud things have changed, and although exact accountings are hard to come by it is entirely possible that the majority of practicing psychoanalysts worldwide now are women (Bowlby 1992); certainly they are in the field of child analysis, which is now virtually the only one available (in some countries) free at the point of use. However, there has been an enduring question as to whether the early patriarchal formation of psychoanalysis strongly—or even perhaps fatally—skewed its findings (Feldstein and Roof 1989, Johnson 1998), and there has been an ongoing battle—often fought on the terrain of Freud’s problematic analysis of the patient known as Dora—about how it might be possible to liberate analysis from its originary bias (Jacobus 1995, Mitchell 1974), as expressed particularly in the focus on the phallus and on the analysis of the Oedipal son at the expense of the Electral daughter (Castle 1995, Gallop 1986, Schiesari 1992).

                                                                                                                                                      • Bowlby, Rachel. Still Crazy after All These Years: Women, Writing and Psychoanalysis. London: Routledge, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                        Essential reading. Bowlby not only mounts a truly original set of readings of female writers, she also, both implicitly and explicitly, traces the history (up until the early 1990s) of the series of attempts to influence the traditions of psychoanalysis in feminist directions, as well as necessarily providing an imbricated history of feminism itself.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Castle, Terry. The Female Thermometer: Eighteenth-Century Culture and the Invention of the Uncanny. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                          An extraordinary book that traces the history of occulted, specifically female, desire through the 18th century, but also in doing so addresses the crucial, post-Foucauldian question of how societies and cultures draw their boundaries. The psychoanalytic relation is obviously to the uncanny; the literary references occur throughout.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Feldstein, Richard, and Judith Roof, eds. Feminism and Psychoanalysis. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989.

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                                                                                                                                                            Classic collection; includes essays by Jane Gallop, Jacqueline Rose, Ellie Ragland-Sullivan, Mary Poovey, and many others, and provides an excellent introduction to the consideration of the complex relations between feminism and psychoanalysis—obviously sometimes these are antagonistic but, as some of the contributors point out, not always.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Gallop, Jane. Feminism and Psychoanalysis: The Daughter’s Seduction. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1986.

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                                                                                                                                                              Lacanian readings, which develop from and revise much of what can be found in the writings of Juliet Mitchell. An interesting book, but very much of its time; needs to be read alongside other related texts to gain a sense of what the battleground actually is.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Jacobus, Mary. First Things: The Maternal Imaginary in Literature, Art and Psychoanalysis. London: Routledge, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                An impressive, insistent, and sometimes very painful book. It provides a real bridge between what is so often regarded as the theoretical side of psychoanalysis and the real, practical, dirty, disturbing, menacing sides of life that analysis professes to expound and even, in a sense, through the mechanisms of depression and the practice of the talking cure itself, espouse.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Johnson, Barbara. The Feminist Difference: Literature, Psychoanalysis, Race, and Gender. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                  A wide-ranging book, which seeks to move beyond Johnson’s by this time well-established reputation as an analyst of women’s writing and take a “different” view of the multiplicity of “difference.”

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Lane, Christopher. The Burdens of Intimacy: Psychoanalysis and Victorian Masculinity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Although this is a book about masculinity, it is not restricted to male writers, and it attempts the difficult task of foregrounding what might appear to be the “norm,” which thus usually remains unexamined.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Mitchell, Juliet. Psychoanalysis and Feminism. London: Allen Lane, 1974.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Forerunner of all the significant commentaries on psychoanalysis, feminism, and the role of women in analytic practice and theory, also deeply imbued with the ambience of the radical social, sexual, and theoretical practices of the 1960s; still the essential starting-place for informed study of the role of women in analysis as well as for urgent activity to change that role.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Schiesari, Juliana. The Gendering of Melancholia: Feminism, Psychoanalysis and the Symbolics of Loss in Renaissance Literature. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                        An intelligent work, with a consistent attention to how psychoanalysis might work or not work in the explication and treatment of women, despite its more overt trajectory through the (mainly Italian) renaissance.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Story, Narrative, Character

                                                                                                                                                                        Freud’s case histories can be considered as a group of stories; much of the emphasis in Jung’s works is on how cultural narratives work themselves out through our own lives and, more specifically, through the lives of analytic patients (Ferro 2006, Rashkin 1992). Much later work within clinical analysis has focused on stories we tell ourselves, and on how our life narratives might be adjusted and shifted with a view to a remaking of the “whole” subject (Brooks 1994, Tymms 1949). Therefore literary criticism has much to learn from these exemplars of what the notion of “story” means in terms of how we shape our lives (Hirsch 1989). Similarly, we devote much time, whether consciously or unconsciously, to how we might present our selves as “characters” in the world, on how to “cut a figure” (Cixous 1974); these notions of story, narrative, and character, long staples of literary criticism, receive new inflections from psychoanalytic insights (Cixous 1976, Ewing 1997).

                                                                                                                                                                        • Brooks, Peter. Psychoanalysis and Storytelling. Oxford: Blackwell, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                          The central focus here is on the notion of the transference: on how storytelling effects a series of displacements within the subject analogous to the process of psychoanalysis. Why do we tell ourselves—and others—stories? What is to be (psychically) gained? Where are the roots of story within the psyche and within the cultural order?

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Cixous, Hélène. “The Character of ‘Character.’” Translated by Keith Cohen. New Literary History 5 (1974): 383–402.

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                                                                                                                                                                            An analysis of the nature of “character,” which challenges the sense of the “natural” which we may have when think of ourselves as characters, and addresses the disjunctions, conjunctions, and collisions that occur when we try to bring this sense of “character” into line with the long-established literary and dramatic usages of the term “character.”

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Cixous, Hélène. “Fictions and Its Phantoms: A Reading of Freud’s Das Unheimliche (The ‘Uncanny’).” New Literary History 7.3 (1976): 525–548, 619–645.

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                                                                                                                                                                              One of the best readings of Freud’s category of the “uncanny,” with its accompanying terms: the double, repetition, the sense of the return of what has gone before, the familiar, and the unfamiliar.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Ewing, Katherine Pratt. Arguing Sainthood: Modernity, Psychoanalysis, and Islam. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                                                A rare example of an attempt to come to grips with the overwhelmingly Western orientation of psychoanalysis by applying insights to an “oriental” context, and more specifically to a (largely Sufi) version of Islam. Although there may be problems with the method, the attempt to bring psychoanalysis to bear on the contentious fracture between modernity and Islam is to be applauded, both intellectually and politically.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Ferro, Antonino. Psychoanalysis as Therapy and Storytelling. London: Routledge, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  What is distinctive about this book is its development on the ideas of the great analyst and thinker Wilfred Bion; this helps to enrich an account of the ways in which psychoanalysis as narrative and psychoanalysis as cure operate as complementary facets of a complex intellectual/practical arena within which the continuing process of story is key.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Hirsch, Marianne. The Mother/Daughter Plot: Narrative, Psychoanalysis, Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Contentiously (considering Greek tragedy), this book argues that only with modernism do the relations between mother and daughter become literarily central; but the main point, which is about the sidelining of female relationships in the literary canon, is important and well put.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Rashkin, Esther. Family Secrets and the Psychoanalysis of Narrative. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      An extremely important text both on the notion of the secret and its ramifications into the field of the “family romance” and on how such secrets affect and indeed structure narrative, which serves, above all, as the retainer but also the distributor of secrets. There would be, after all, no narrative at all without secrets, without “mystery,” and hence without the family and the (often failed) intimacies it offers to provide.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Tymms, Ralph. Doubles in Literary Psychology. Cambridge, UK: Bowes & Bowes, 1949.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        A rather old book now, but still fascinating for the use it makes of the work of Otto Rank and others and for its forays into literary doubling.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Genre, Mode, School

                                                                                                                                                                                        Psychoanalysis has been used, adapted, and developed by literary critics in many ways, as outlined elsewhere in this bibliography, in order to think further about the nature of literary, artistic, and creative endeavor in general; but it has also been deployed to examine the “secrets” of specific literary schools, genres, and periods. The sheer number of works devoted to such enterprises makes it far too extensive to pretend here to a wide conspectus, but it is nonetheless possible to select a few works that have made particular contributions to their fields, ranging from Latin poetry (Oliensis 2009) through romanticism (Batten 1998, Punter 1989), the Gothic (Castricano 2008), and the sublime (Hertz 1985) to modernism (Ellmann 2010) and the postmodern (Punter 1985, Ahad 2010).

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Ahad, Badia Sahar. Freud Upside Down: African American Literature and Psychoanalytic Culture. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          This important work explores two integrally related themes: how Freud “works” as an explanatory discourse in African American contexts, and what uses have been made of Freud in African American literary writing. Both themes are not only explored in terms of the contemporary understanding of the meaning of “African American” but are also traced back to Africa, resulting in a challenging book for analysts and literary critics alike.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Batten, Guinn. The Orphaned Imagination: Melancholy and Commodity Culture in English Romanticism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            In this text the “melancholy” associated with capitalist alienation is identified not only as part of a specific phase of a wider social formation but also as part of a psychic drive that can then be reidentified in the work of many of the major English “romantics”; a deeply insightful work.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Castricano, Jodey. The Gothic and Psychoanalysis: Literature and Film. Cardiff, UK: University of Wales Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              The Gothic has long been seen as a privileged site for the collocation of psychoanalysis and literature, not least because of its focus on ghosts, phantoms, and the uncanny; part of this vivid book concentrates, however, more specifically on Gothic and film, thereby bringing onstage a whole repertoire of visual analogues that enliven the discussion.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Ellmann, Maud. The Nets of Modernism: Henry James, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce and Sigmund Freud. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511780714Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                This is the classic text in terms of thinking through the relations between the movement of modernism, certain “modernist” writers, and the emergence and consolidation of psychoanalysis as one way among many of accounting for the operations of the human mind, “the stream of consciousness” being vividly alive as one of the others.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Hertz, Neil. The End of the Line: Essays on Psychoanalysis and the Sublime. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  The sublime, along with sublimity and the subliminal, are concepts that have been immensely fruitful and yet at the same time deeply baffling both to analysts and also to literary critics, particularly of the romantic period; this has proved to be the best attempt yet to try for some kind of delineation of the main areas of debate.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Oliensis, Ellen. Freud’s Rome: Psychoanalysis and Latin Poetry. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511806919Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                    An interesting and challenging approach, which delivers, in one sense, more than it promises (by delving into otherwise comparatively unelaborated themes), and in another sense less, since it does not choose (perhaps wisely) to go too far into the theoretical implications for psychoanalytic universalism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Punter, David. The Hidden Script: Writing and the Unconscious. London: Routledge, 1985.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Focusing on the work of a number of contemporary writers, including J. G. Ballard, Angela Carter, Doris Lessing, Beryl Bainbridge, and Kurt Vonnegut, this study seeks to elucidate the psychic underpinnings of their work. It also ranges over a wider cultural field, seeking at all times a way of relating psychoanalytic concepts to current cultural practice.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Punter, David. The Romantic Unconscious: A Study in Narcissism and Patriarchy. London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1989.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        This original, analytically informed study of the romantic period deploys analytic concepts and orientations in order to deconstruct the canonical misrepresentations within which many literary critics continue to depict the major (male) romantic poets. Essential reading alongside those from an overt feminist perspective.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Depression, Mourning, Trauma

                                                                                                                                                                                                        There has been a great deal of attention recently to the interface of literature and psychoanalysis, particularly in relation to depression, mourning, and trauma (Kristeva 1982, Kristeva 1989, Ricciardi 2003). This has had partly to do with the production of a wealth of new literary accounts, fictional, biographical, and autobiographical, and in a number of cases in an indeterminate but richly productive hinterland among these different genres (Felman and Laub 1992, Levine 1994); partly to do with a revival of interest, perhaps consequent on this, of texts of trauma written in earlier periods (Aberbach 1989); and partly to do with a renewed emphasis within the practice of psychoanalysis itself on these and related issues.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Aberbach, David. Surviving Trauma: Loss, Literature, and Psychoanalysis. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          A study of how loss may have affected works by literary and philosophical figures from Whitman and Lawrence to Spinoza and Pascal, and the ways in which experiences of bereavement (whether real or fantasized) may affect and even condition the nature of individual creativity

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Felman, Shoshana, and Dori Laub. Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis and History. London: Routledge, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Addresses situations in which the veracity or lack thereof of the written text bears down hard on how we as readers are supposed to react. Behind this lies an entire theory of mourning and melancholia, which is derived from Freud and remains still the major way in which to deal, clinically or otherwise, with responses to trauma, loss, and bereavement.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Kristeva, Julia. Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. Translated by Leon S. Roudiez. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              In this text, Kristeva first established the concept of abjection, the “throwing off” or “throwing down” of problematic psychic or social materials; it has great currency in later discourses about relations between the genders and races; but here the focus is on our more general fears of the Other, which are conditioned by, and always form echoes of, our anxieties about bereavement and loss.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Kristeva, Julia. Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia. Translated by Leon S. Roudiez. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                An exploration, part theoretical and part experiential, of depression and melancholia, which might open up for students of literature the ways in which different ages have expressed these experiences—which are perhaps partly cognate—under different headings.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Levine, Michael G. Writing through Repression: Literature, Censorship, Psychoanalysis. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This book addresses the roles of censorship in psychoanalysis, in literature, and in the social and cultural world, looking at how these processes of interaction between inner and outer, between ego and superego, affect what actually gets “produced.” Begins to treat these complex issues through a return to Freud’s notions on dream.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Ricciardi, Alessia. The Ends of Mourning: Psychoanalysis, Literature, Film. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This book appears to contend that, in the transition from modernism to postmodernism, the issue of mourning has somehow been bypassed; others might contend that this is exactly the work that is being constantly addressed in the supersession of one (unstable) classification of cultural consensus by another.

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