English 100

Junior Seminar: Literature and Psychoanalysis

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
14 Spring 2007 Puckett, Kent
Puckett, Kent
TTh 3:30-5 221 Wheeler
Other Readings and Media

Readings will include works by Walter Benjamin, Leo Bersani, Peter Brooks, Soshana Felman, Sigmund Freud, Geoffrey Hartman, Neil Hertz, Barbara Johnson, Melanie Klein, Jacques Lacan, D. W. Winnicott, and others.


What do literature and psychoanalysis have in common? For one, both are usually about two or more of the following: sex, death, love, hate, work, jealousy, obsession, parents, children, anxiety, and loss. Seemingly made for each other, literature and psychoanalysis have been in a more or less close conversation since the latter's emergence at the end of the nineteenth century. In this course, we will consider the relationship between literature and psychoanalysis in a number of ways: we will look at Freud's own writing as literature in the context of psychoanalysis's early days as practice, institution, and scandal; we will consider historical and intellectual connections between Freudian and post-Freudian psychoanalysis and different kinds of literary interpretation; and we will work to derive from the language of psychoanalysis tools to help us cope with the considerable formal and thematic complexity of literary texts. The syllabus will include psychoanalytic writing by Freud, Lacan, Klein, Winnicott, and others as well as works by literary critics who derive some or all of their terms from psychoanalysis. We will also read some stories and watch some films along the way.

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