English 203

Graduate Readings: Literature and Psychoanalysis


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2009 Puckett, Kent
Puckett, Kent
MW 1:30-3 301 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Freud, S., Beyond the Pleasure Principle; Freud, S., The Interpretation of Dreams; Freud, S., Three Case Histories; Gay, P., The Freud Reader; Klein, M., Selected Melanie Klein; Lacan, J., The Ethics of Psychoanalysis; Shakespeare, W., Hamlet; Sophocles, Antigone, Oedipus the King, Electra; a course pack of readings.

Description

What do literature and psychoanalysis have in common?  For one, both are usually about at least two of the following: sex, death, love, hate, jealousy, anxiety, loss, and the search for some kind of structure.  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. We'll consider other questions as well: how does psychoanalysis manage or mismanage time?  In what ways can we understand psychoanalysis as a distinct kind of reading?  What, in turn, can we say about psychoanalysis as writing?  Does psychoanalysis have a style?  The syllabus will include writing by Freud, Lacan, Klein, Laplanche, and others as well as works by literary critics who derive some or all of their terms from the language of psychoanalysis.

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