Hebrew University of Jerusalem
"Nothing Is What It Seems: Reading a Primal-Like Scene in Margaret Atwood's
Toward the end of a successful dinner party, Sally briefly leave her guests and enters
an alcove where her handsome physician husband and silver-haired best friend are
supposedly looking at her newly acquired keyhole desk: "Ed is standing too close to her,
and as Sally comes up behind them she sees his left arm, held close to his side, the
back of it pressed against Marylynn, her shimmering upper thigh, her ass to be exact.
Marylynn does not move away." This "split second" perception colors all that goes
before and comes in after in Atwood's story. In trying to understand what Sally has seen,
the reader has, at least, four options.
First, "Bluebeard's Egg" is a banal but well-told story about a wife who discovers her
husband's (possible) infidelity with her best friend. Second, it is a story about an immature
wife, married to an older man, who has what Freud calls a primal scene fantasy or witnesses
something akin to an actual primal scene between her husband and a rival woman. Third,
it is a story about an encounter with the Real (Lacan's concept of le Réel) - that is, about
a sudden fissure that threatens the very foundations of an individual's seemingly stable
universe. She opens a door and looks upon nothing or, rather, something inassimilable that
could bring the known, familiar, or "normal" to a self-shattering end. How to contend with
this register of experience, if the subject survives at all? Fourth, Atwood offers an allegory
of hermeneutical activity, a story about the ways in which our engagement with a text, the
act of reading literature, corresponds to "reading" reality. Her story suggests that in both
instances, "guesswork" or "intuition" (unconscious process) is as fundamental as close
critical analysis (conscious process). But whether mainly intuitive or analytic interpretation
is involved, the outcome is an unending quest after an illusory truth, sometimes also known
as a "hermeneutic circle." Nothing is what it seems.
University of Illinois
Urbana, Illinois USA
"The Return of the Repressed: Surrealism, Revolution and Unconscious Desire"
Salvador Dali's theory of "Critical Paranoia" constituted one of the major contributions of
Surrealism to art criticism. The notion had an arguably even greater impact on the
development of contemporary psychoanalytic theory, in that the relationship between
Jacques Lacan and Dali can be seen as essential to the evolution of Lacan's medical
dissertation "De la Psychose paranoique et ses rapports àla personnalité." Dali's book
on the "Mythe tragique de l'Angelus" allows us a unique experience in following the logic
of paranoia as Dali traces the pertinence of his reading of the visual arts to the understanding
of obsession, and more particularly his own problem with sexual impotence. Finally, this
paper will speculate on the influence Dali exercised on Lacan's development and on the
relevance of this influence to Lacan's later theory of the "Other Satisfaction," one of the most
widely argued notions in contemporary psychoanalytic theory.
Janus Pannonius University
"Poetics of the Body: Oedipal Experience and Poetic representation in Attila Jozsef's
'Kesei irato' and Sylvia Plath's 'Daddy'"
Through close reading I would like to compare two poems. "The Belated Lament" by Attila Jozsef
was written in 1936, and in the following year its author -- after repeated earlier attempts --
committed suicide. "Daddy" by Sylvia Plath was written in 1962. She also, after several attempts,
killed herself in the following year. In a general sense, both poems are about the prominent,
conflicting events of individual growth, the experience of the birth of our self, and about
that long and possibly inconclusive struggle through which the ego orders the sequence of
bondings and separations into a story of its own, into a life, a fate. Following psychoanalysis,
this construct of experience is called the Oedipus complex. I am not interested in the Oedipal
conflicts of the authors but in the poetic articulation and structuring of oedipal relations.
I discuss the poetic articulation of language, love, and loss in conflicting personal situations,
and those modalities (like melancholia and paranoia) that shape the attitudes represented
in the poems.
Joanna Montgomery Byles
University of Cyprus
"'House of Psyche': Freud and Archaeology"
It has been claimed that for psychoanalysis the life given in the clinical situation is not to be
taken at face value, but as a sign of past life to be dug up in order to discover its true
constitution. Psychoanalysis's consistent refusal to accept the present as given leads
straight back to what can be called its archeological purpose. For archeological probing
is in effect a preliminary act of intervention, affording preliminary insight. It is a kind of partial
interpretation, or pre-interpretation of the past through the study of objects in situ. The act
of uncovering the past necessarily brings into the present both archeological and psychic
questions of the present, about past civilizations and cultures for the archeologist, and about
the past psychic life of the individual for the psychoanalyst. Both methodologies promise some
sort of new understanding, even transformation, since the process of psychoanalysis is the
beginning of psychic change and that of archeology aims at some form of reconstruction.
Mensa Education and Research Foundation
Pacific Grove, California USA
"How a Poet Communicates"
Why the reification of processes is counterproductive in theory construction. Defining the verb,
"communicates." Applying Occam's Razor to the construct creative thinking. What then remains.
How so-called "creative inspiration" can be, and perhaps is invariably, invoked and/or evoked by
conjoining previously disparate constructs. Why Mednick, Simonton and Guilford are each only
partly right about how that happens . Relevance of recent theory and research into attention.
Deliberate defeat of habit, habituation, adaptation and the "obvious" as a poet's tactics. The poem
as an ipso facto metaphor. An example or two from the poetry of science.
University of Cyprus
"Letting the Doll Grip Go: Introjection in Sylvia Plath's 'Parliament Hill Fields'"
In this paper I propose a reading of Sylvia Plath's "Parliament Hill Fields" in light of Nicholas
Abraham and Maria Torok's theory of introjection (the work of "normal mourning") and incorporation
("endocryptic identification" whereby the self identifies with the object it has incorporated).
The poem can be seen as a literary portrayal of successful introjection, exemplary of the way
in which the mother persona, from a state of incorporation, assimilates and introjects her
traumatic experience, the death of her foetus. Such a successful introjection is effected under
the catalytic influence of the landscape, characterized by the existence of states of fusion
which contrast with the mother's cryptic "pseudo-fusional state."
Waltham, Massachusetts USA
"Eating the Other: Asserting or Incorporating Difference"
Anxiety, in Freud, is a fear of being engulfed; at the level of the individual psyche, anxiety
is the fear of the loss of identity. In this paper I wish to explore the anxiety about the potential
loss of cultural identity in an age of transnational globalization, particularly as it is modulated
by the rhetorical trope of cultural nationalism. In other words, if there is a perceived threat to
national cultural identity in this register, is this anxiety the result of a needless panic in the
face of transnational processes or is it a form of resistance to appropriation, to consumption,
to be eaten by the Other? I raise this question primarily in reference to south Asia by considering
recent work by Rustom Bharucha and Amitav Ghosh, but also as the anxiety of being eaten by
the Other as voiced within the multicultural margins of "America."
The Kibutzim College of Education
"Primo is Speaking from the Flames"
The intensity of the traumatic experience of the Holocaust left humankind with the difficulty
of describing it, of representing it, and even more so, of understanding it. The objectives of my
work are: a) to examine rhetorical response patterns following an extreme traumatic experience,
in literary work of Holocaust survivors; b) to examine the role of restraint mechanisms that
expresses this traumatic experience; c) to confront restraint mechanisms with the aesthetics
of the sublime and with the psychoanalytical concept of defense mechanisms in the processing
of trauma. This interdisciplinary juxtaposition may cast new light on the role of restraint mechanisms
in literary texts. All the aforementioned questions will be examined in Primo Levi's corpus,
especially in "Is this a man?"
Maria Aline Ferreira
Universidade de Aveiro
"Not of Woman Born: Pregnant Fathers and Virgin Mothers"
In this paper I wish to examine the fantasy of male pregnancy and womb envy, translated into
jealousy of woman's reproductive capabilities. The desire to bypass woman's body in order to
create other human beings goes back a long time. From Greek myths to medieval alchemists,
this wish has been forcefully represented, finding powerful symbolic expression in Mary Shelley's
Frankenstein (1818) and H.G. Well's The Island of Dr Moreau (1986), to cite only the most
salient instances. In this essay I will concentrate on some more recent examples which I
want to connect with the powerful fantasy of human cloning, intimately correlated with the
aspiration of self-generation. I will analyse Sven Delblanc's "Homunculus: A Magic Tale" (1969),
Octavia Butler's "Bloodchild" (1984), Peter Ackroyd's "The House of Dr Dee" (1993), and
Lisa Tuttle's "World of Strangers" (Clones and Clones:Facts and Fantasies About Human Cloning,
1998). I will examine these texts mainly through the lens of Bruno Bettelheim's Symbolic
Wounds (1962), Julia Kristeva's reflections on the potential consequences of new reproductive
scenarios and Donna Haraway's cyborg myth and biopolitics.
Waltham, Massachusetts USA
"Fiction and Vicarious Experience"
How can fiction be gripping? We watch a play, see a movie, or read a book about a
character's internal life, at the edge of our seats, anxious, happy worried, relieved,
impressed, etc. But our very presence as spectators logically seems to mean the scene
is fictional, is being played out (say in the theater) in a room without a fourth wall, by
actors who can see us but pretend they can't. Freud's solution is unreflectively repeated:
we "identify" with the hero. This only renames the problem: what is identification if we
don't think we are the hero? Following Klein, I argue that drama and thus fiction recreates
the childhood experience of watching parents interact in situations in which we think
ourselves not present to that interaction: that's why we get so concerned. We desire the
reparation of the breach that any tension between them threatens: this is the most archaic
form of drama.
Marymount Manhattan College
New York USA
"Concerning Hesiod's Allegorical Triadic Model of Thought (Zeus), Pre-Thought
(Prometheus), and After-Thought (Epimetheus): Precursor to Freud's Triads of Superego,
Ego, and Id-Consciousness, Pre-Consciousness, and Unconscious"
This paper will be briefly concerned with the story of thought and its various forms as first
represented in the Greek allegorical myths of Hesiod and later abstracted upon by writers
such as Aeschylus, Mary and Percy Shelley, George Gordon Byron, Charles Kingsley,
Robert Bridges, James Joyce, James Russell Lowell, Robert Lowell, Gaston Bachelard,
Harold Bloom and Denis Donoghue. Within the story as originally presented, the various
kinds of thought are portrayed and assimilated into narrative thought as the characters of
Prometheus (Foreknowledge and Forethought), Zeus (Totality Thought), and Epimetheus
(Afterthought), whose creations in Hesiod's wisdom literature have been powerfully influential
within the history of ideas. Interestingly, parallels can be made structurally from this early
triad to Sigmund Freud's later triadic constructs of the superego and id, as well as to his
conscious, unconscious, and pre-conscious triad. Further, the paper will describe how the
classical paradigm was replaced by those of Darwinian thought and then by postmodern
physics, to change aspects of thought for all time, impacting on the humanities, sciences,
social sciences and the arts. Aspects of the theme were usurped by authors within literature,
changing the story's original presentation in a very dramatic way over historical time. The theme
is one which truly has become of interdisciplinary interest, as authors across areas of inquiry
have used the construct within their works. The paper is literary critical, including a short
philosophy of literature, a history of ideas, aspects of poetics, and intellectual history.
Andrew Gordon & Hernan Vera*
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida USA
"Cowboys Playing Indians: More Racial Masquerade in the American Cinema"
This paper is a continuation of one presented at the 2000 International Conference on
Literature and Psychology.
In the white racial masquerade, the primary defense seems to be idealizing the image.
Becoming the racial or ethnic other, at least in the movies, is a way to bridge the racial
divide by merging two incompatible objects (incompatible in the American imagination)
to create an impossible, fantasy solution: a racial hero who is simultaneously both
gentile and Jew, or both white and black, or both white and Indian. The fantasy provides
a feeling of omnipotence. It is a way to overcome white self-loathing and racial guilt, to
compensate for felt lacks in the self by appropriating the imagined attributes of an idealized
other, and to rise into a position of moral superiority. As Karen Horney writes, "The
idealized image might be called a fictitious or illusory self, but that would be only a half truth.
... It is an imaginative creation, interwoven with and determined by very realistic factors.
It usually contains traces of the person's genuine ideals. While the grandiose achievements
are illusory, the potentialities underlying them are often real" (Horney 108). Movies about whites
who turn into Indians, such as Little Big Man and Dances with Wolves, attempt to deconstruct
whiteness and replace it with an idealized image of the Native American.
*This paper will be presented by Andrew Gordon.
Hungarian Academy of Sciences
"A Comparative Study of Literary and Freudian Text Processing"
Continuing our studies about the subject (see our previous two papers) four short text extracts
(about 70-70 words) on the theme of death were chosen.. The materials included: a literary
narrative fiction from Waterland by G. Swift; an autobiographical narrative as a transition
between fiction and nonfiction from Freud's letter to Fliess; a narrative nonfiction report from
The Independent by P. Davison, and a scientific-expository text from "Mourning and Melancholy"
by Freud. Furthermore, two long text extracts (about 1800-1800 words) were chosen on Leonardo
(Mona Lisa and technical inventions) by Freud and Mereskovsky. 50 motivated secondary
school students before their matriculation examinations took part in the first and 69 students
in the second study. Following the reading of a text, the subjects judged the text's or the
protagonist's characteristics, specified the affects which they felt, and categorized the text into
a textual type (a "genre"). The results for the texts are presented and discussed from the
point of view of literary and Freudian text processing.
San Francisco State University
San Francisco, California USA
"Kurt Vonnegut's Mother Night: The Banality of Evil Re-visited"
Howard W. Campbell Jr., the protagonist in Kurt Vonnegut's Mother Night, announces at the
close of the novel that he plans to hang himself in his Haifa prison cell. Plagued by guilt and
a dysfunctional identity, Campbell describes his self-imposed death sentence as retribution for
"crimes against himself." At the onset of his imprisonment, Israeli authorities command
Campbell to write his memoirs/confessions. Thus, Campbell embarks on a search for his "real"
identity. Adamantly defending his role throughout the war as a Nazi propagandist, Campbell
writes how his German radio broadcasts were merely a cover to expedite his covert work
as an American spy. As his memoirs progress, we learn that Campbell's post-war years were
a living "purgatory" until Israeli head hunters for Nazi war criminals and Soviet spies attempt
to kidnap and "out" him as a war criminal. Rather than expiate his guilt, Campbell's "moral"
accounting of his past leads to a Kafkaesque self-revelation about the uneasy boundaries
between "role" playing, "free" will, identity, and "guilt" and "innocence."
This paper will analyze the themes of imprisonment and identity loss in Mother Night in the
context of the Stanford Prison Experiment, specifically asking: Is there a real "self" or real "identity"
independent from the "prison" if how others define you or the psychological prisons we create
for ourselves? Who are the "good" prison guards and "bad" prison guards? What compelled
Campbell to turn himself over to the Israeli authorities? What is the significance of references
to Leichentrager zu Wache in the novel?
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida USA
"The Alp: The Human Sciences and the Neurosciences"
This is a report from a seminar on "The Brain and Literary Questions." The human sciences
and the neurosciences provide two different ways of trying to understand the mind. The
neurosciences use experiment and observation on specialized populations. The human
sciences, exemplified by Chomsky and Freud, assume that what all humans do must be
embodied in the human brain. This approach can lead (but has not yet), to an understanding
of the brain's role in: universal grammar (X-bar theory), metaphor, shared audience responses,
and personal styles of creativity.
Hartford, Connecticut USA
Marginal comments in Plath's undergraduate copy of D.H. Lawrence's Studies in Classic
American Literature, given to her by her college roommate, express approval of Lawrence's
analysis of Poe's "Ligeia" as a story about intimate knowledge as vampiric; "Ligeia" can
also be read as an American's version of how one's spiritual past usurps the material present.
In the course of her brief career as a writer of poetry and prose, Sylvia describes her father,
her mother, her husband, herself, her death drive and the demands of teaching and parenting as
vampiric. If we consider vampirism as an image of the past rising from a crypt to devour the
present, we can relate Sylvia's orality to her status an imaginary Jew destined to suffer
intergenerational haunting, connected by ancestral heritage to holocaust horrors.
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida USA
"Trauma and Narrative: The Broken Narrative of Self in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye"
The essence of psychological trauma is the loss of belief in the meaning, order, and continuity
in life. Radically destroying our belief in the "assumptive world" (Parkes) and the basic
organizing principles by which we construct meaningful narratives about ourselves, others,
and the external world, trauma causes a serious upheaval and renders helpless the
narrative-building function of the self. In Morrison's The Bluest Eye, each member in
the Pecola's family suffers from a sustained and persistent exposure to various forms of
traumatogenic socio-political oppression and each consequently constructs fragmented
and dissociated narratives of self-loathing. In this paper, I will discuss the issues of social
oppression and power dynamics portrayed in The Bluest Eye by exploring various aspects
of the "insidious trauma" (Root) associated with the social status of the disempowered, and
examine the specific synergistic effects of being multiply "Othered" in terms of race, gender,
class, and age. After defining traumatic events and memories as the unsymbolizable real
that disrupts the narrative of the self and examining Pecola's schizophrenic dissociation
caused by the violent incestuous rape by Cholly, I will attempt to show the inseparable
connection between narrative, memory, and meaning in generating and maintaining a core
sense of self. Finally, I will explore the important narrative function of testimony and defiance,
which is necessary for the traumatized victim to claim and restitute his or her self, but which
Morrison transfers to Claudia and Frieda, the only sympathetic witnesses of Pecola's traumatic
Elena V. Kalyva
"Kleinian Positions in John Fowles' The Magus
This paper, a psychoanalytic reading of John Fowles' The Magus,
aspires to bring to the surface the relationship of the protagonist to the
maternal body. Kleinian theory is employed to highlight the parallel courses
of the psychic and narrative development, as Nicholas Urfe organizes his
feelings on the basis of unconscious mechanisms of splitting, projection,
introjection, and projective identification, in order to protect himself
from annihilation. His psychic development not being linear, can be examined
from a Kleinian point of view as an alternation of the unconscious paranoid-
schizoid and depressive positions.
Universität zu Köln
"Summary Remarks on Franz Kafka: The Castle"
The protagonist of the novel, K., experiences a lot of strange occurrences. He thinks
to be invited for the land surveyor's post by the deputy director of the castle, Klamm.
But nobody of the castle staff or the villagers knows anything about his requirement.
K. has to get along with a lot of paradoxes. He must learn about the castle's strange
rules. Sordini, one of the upper village people, explains how things are managed within
the castle system. There for example exist a first, a second and a third controlling
committee for searching faults which in reality do not exist. It is impossible to find a person
being responsible. K. tries to succeed getting into the castle by all means to meet Klamm,
not being prudish to misuse women who seem to be helpful. What happens to K. finally
after all his trials and errors.
Nell Grossman Kupper
Northern Michigan University
Marquette, Michigan USA
"Seducer with Identity-Envy: Modern Consciousness Confronts the Dis-order of Multiculturalism"
This article examines the social and cultural challenges of multiculturalism in the modern
world through the experience of Solal, the protagonist of Albert Cohen's Belle du Seigneur.
Believing that women's love is a mask for admiration of male dominance in a power-hungry
society, Solal compares himself to Vronsky of Anna Karenina, whom he claims was likewise
deceived by love. Solal, however, is an aberration of his predecessor, resorting to schemes
and tricks in his seductions. Vronsky was indigenous to the old world of unity and order in
which he lived. Solal, conversely, is ravaged by the modern world of multiculturalism and
disorder. A native of Greece, a resident of France, and a Jewish man torn between rejecting
and embracing his heritage, Solal endures fragmentation and experiences estrangement,
particularly from the object of his seduction. Swamped by despair, Solal struggles to
reconcile the contradictions of the multi-layered modern consciousness.
University of Amsterdam
"Autobiography and the Mirror Stage"
Mirroring relations are taken up in a number of autobiographical theories inflected by
psychoanalysis where Lacan's account of the "mirror stage" has been particularly influential.
As Laura Marcus points out in Autobiographical Discourses, either the autobiography
serves to create the illusion of a unified self out of the fragments of identity, or the text
reveals, in its fissures, its doublings and its incompleteness, the fragmentations of the
subject. In many autobiographies we see a prevalent imagery of fragmented bodies and
a strong ambivalence about self-representation. In this paper I will comment on several views
of the body and mirroring images in written and visual autobiographies.
University of Cyprus
"Julia Kristeva's Chora and the Question of Castration"
This paper aims at reclaiming Julia Kristeva's semiotic chora for feminist theory. To this end,
I would like to resituate its problematic within the wider problematic raised by Plato in the
Timaeus (from where Kristeva borrows her controversial term). This relates to what we have
come to accept as "the Beginning proper," in other words, the primordial act which founds
the order of the Word. It is because this primordial act has repeatedly taken the (metaphorical)
figure of a double denial (the denial of woman as the m/other of logos, the denial of the other as
feminine), that I consider Kristeva's re-inscription of the Platonic chora valuable for a feminist
reconfiguration of the problem of all beginnings. Revolution in Poetic Language constitutes a
determining moment in what, I believe, remains the theorist's main intellectual endeavour.
To wit, her attempt to understand the negation constitutive of both speech and the subject
outside the paradigm of loss/lack (epitomized in the concept of castration) that has dominated
its psychoanalytic and philosophical articulations. As I shall argue, although Kristeva does not
abandon the concept of castration, she gradually comes to reformulate both its character and
the stakes entailed in it.
Barbara Langell Miliaras
University of Massachusetts
Lowell, Massachusetts USA
"'Every woman loves a Nazi...': Sylvia Plath: Seductive Victim or Second-Generation
Coventry Patmore, the Victorian Pre-Raphaelite poet, in his paean to his first wife, Emily
Augusta Andrews, "Angel in the House," created an archetype of the virtuous woman that
established the norm for the concept which prevailed in the literature as well as in the
popular consciousness of the nineteenth century. Her attributes can be seen graphically
in his later poem, "The Wife's Tragedy," where he maintains, "Man must be pleased, but
him to please / ls woman's pleasure..." Opposed to this masochistic, angelic force, Patmore
posited, were the "idols of perversity," the destructive, self-aggrandizing, competitive "new
woman," and the "devouring mother," who cannibalized her own children through her selfish
manipulations. Depending upon one's interpretation of the word, one can argue that Sylvia
Plath fell victim throughout her life to both of Patmore's concepts: first as victim of her own
"devouring mother," and then as failed or "fallen" angel in her marriage to Ted Hughes.
Illinois State University
Normal, Illinois USA
"The Paranoia of the Postmodern Children's Book: The "Public" Symbolic Space in the
Picture Book and Its Loss of Innocence"
Using Zizek as a springboard, I trace similarities between the film noir and the postmodern
picture book, always in connection to the postmodern subject and Lacanian psychoanalysis.
In the noir universe the symbolic order has lost its neutrality. This loss of neutrality/innocence
results in a vacillation of "external reality" expressed in the film noir as a visual paranoia:
a constant suspicion that "our vision of reality is always already distorted by some invisible
frame behind our backs." Postmodern picture books (e.g. The Watertower, Night of the
Gargoyles, or A Walk in the Park) are characterized by a similar paranoia that is expressed
through the juxtaposition of contradicting visual and textual narratives. More often than not,
the visual narrative exposes the textual as inadequate and the protagonist's "sense of reality"
as always already distorted.
Aglandjia Nicosia CYPRUS
"The Other Within the Self: An Analysis of Eight Literary Works on the
While extensive research has been done on the relationship between thought and
language and the experiences--both psychological and practical--of learning a
second language, very little research has been done on the experience of
bilingual/bicultural people and their interpretation of their bicultural identity. In this
paper I examine how bilingualism may influence one's "sense of self" through the literary
work of eight bilingual/bicultural authors since (a) academic sources on this experience
are extremely limited and (b) novels and autobiographies often capture the psychological
complexity of experience in a richer way than scholarly texts. In analyzing these writings,
I focused on the identification of common themes, which are then grouped into six
categories: place, body, voice, name, relationships, emotions. These themes are then
contextualized in a theoretical framework proposed by the British philosopher and
psychologist Rom Harre.
Williamstown, Massachusetts USA
"Pointing to Race in Othello"
This paper argues that the problem of race in Shakespeare's Othello is inextricably bound
up with questions of subject-formation during the early modern era. The effort to conceive
race either as a psychoanalytic or a historical category must engage the complex ways in
which Shakespearean drama represents something like a vanishing-point of the modern,
which is to say the modern psychoanalytic, subject. An entire array of erotic elements in
the play -- the homoerotic bond, the economy of masochistic jealousy, a distinctive
organizing opposition between scopic and aural drives -- are all related to the articulation
of a proto-Kantian subjectivity structured around its own negation, a subject coincident,
I argue, with the appearance of the state as a representational category. Racialization
should be understood in the play and in the era in terms of the fundamental problems of
reference that insist in relation to that formal, speculative subjectivity.
Waltham, Massachusetts USA
"Empiricism and Self-Division: William Blake's Psychological Theory"
It is well-known that Blake had a long-standing quarrel with Locke's representation of mind
and nature. But underlying this quarrel is a deeper critique: for Blake, the worst effect of
empiricism was its distortion of psychic experience, or the "I's" relation to itself. In Blake's
view, Locke implicitly formulates a concept of the subject in which it is doomed to internal
division. The "I" (mind or consciousness or self) is solitary. Belated and besieged, it finds
that it has dawned upon a pre-existing object-world whose reality is greater than its own.
It is mysterious even to itself, occupied as it is by floating chunks of alterity that have
invaded it from the world beyond. Blake believes that this experience of passivity,
bewilderment and self-fragmentation, far from being constitutive of subjectivity, arises out
of a philosophical misconception and can be cured by means of a philosophical therapy.
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico USA
"Mourning with Job: A Psychoanalytic Exploration"
In spite of the Book of Job's stature as one of the greatest works of wisdom literature,
it has seldom been studied from psychoanalytic perspectives. This paper reviews the
biblical Job in his suffering from the perspective of mourning and explores what was retained
and gained when all was lost. It examines Job's internal whirlwind: his intra-psychic conflict,
his ambivalent relationship to his cursed comforters, and the vicissitudes of his relationship
with his God. Focus will be directed to the text's invitation to adopt multiple, contradictory
views of God in a way which creates an opportunity to escape the restraints of knowledge
and to move to a higher level of understanding. The use of verse to parallel Job's emotional
tumult and nature as an antidote to suffering are also explored.
*Paper to be presented by Elizabeth Roll
University of California
Los Angeles, California USA
"Challenging the Collective Memory of the Third Reich and the Holocaust in East Germany:
Christa Wolf's Novel Kindheitsmuster"
How do societies remember their past? Literature constitutes one form of collective memory.
Drawing on classical (Halbwachs, Vygotsky) as well as contemporary theories of collective
memory from social, cultural and political psychology, I will investigate how National Socialism
and the Holocaust were remembered in the GDR. East-Germany's verordneter Antifaschismus
(prescribed anti-fascism) was based on the simple and convenient notion that all (ex-)Nazis
had left for West-Germany and there was therefore no need for Vergangenheitsbewaltigung
(coming to terms with the past). Christa Wolf, East-Germany's most famous writer, shook the
very foundations of this belief with her semi-autobiographical novel Kindheitsmuster (Patterns
of Childhood). In Kindheitsmuster a sophisticated, leftist, East-German woman takes a trip --
literally and metaphorically -- to the place and time of her childhood. In this process she tells
herself the story of the child she once was, a child enchanted yet poisoned by Nazi propaganda.
Since I grew up in the GDR myself, this paper, especially given in front of an audience which
includes some Jews, would not only be a theoretical exercise but also a personal experience.
Boston, Massachusetts USA
"Rotten With Perfection: A Psychoanalytic Summation of the Holocaust"
This paper presents a psychoanalytic summation of the Holocaust as an experience of
cumulative trauma. In the violation and annihilation of Jewish life space by the Nazis, five
overlapping phases in the psychology of destruction can be conceptualized. First comes
the usurpation of Jewish cultural space. The second stage is a movement from symbolic
living to a psychotic reality. The third stage is the Auschwitz universe, in which power and
survival replace symbolic meaning. Fourth comes the world of the "dead mother," a rupture
in the continuity of being. The fifth phase extends over generations as an economy of
mourning and its limits. In condensed form, the paper attempts to view the Holocaust as
both a unique experience and as a model, a "perfection," of the destruction of psychic identity.
New York, USA
"The Pressure to Do Great Things and the Impulse to Resist It"
In this paper, I plan to examine the painful dynamic of jealousy as it appears in Shakespeare's
Othello. Viewed in relationship to hate, I will try to demonstrate how lago is the primary
subject of jealousy who manages, through introjective identification, to transmit this feeling
to Othello and in a minor way to others in his orb. In order to make this dynamic accessible,
I will look at the machinations of lago as akin to the operations encountered in sibling rivalry.
The interpersonal theory of mental disorder as laid out by Harry Stack Sullivan provides the
frame for this study through his basic premise that all human beings begin to seek satisfaction
and security in early life and continue to do so throughout their lives. A sense of self develops
only through interactions with others responsible for one's well-being and growth, and
mechanisms of coping, or dynamisms, become part of that self system. When an inadequate
sense of self develops, dynamisms take over which only serve the emotional warp that has
occurred. Among these dynamisms are jealousy and hate.
"'Double Voice in Concaue Wombe Re-Worded': Archaic Subjectivity and/as Controversy
in Psychoanalytic Theory and in Shakespeare's 'A Lover's Complaint'"
In December 1979, Lacan's school dissolved, following quarrels over the work of a group of
thinkers, including Francoise Dolto, Denise Vasse, and Michele Montrelay. "De-parting"
from Lacan's work, these thinkers had risked "advancing personal thoughts and clinical
practices" (Montrelay 1999, 90, my emphasis). Their personal thoughts, diverging from
Lacan's orthodoxy, concerned the nature of the feminine, and an elemental, pre-natal
subjectivity termed "umbilical" or "placental." Montrelay, the most original and controversial
among the three, articulated dense poetic prose unfolding complex conceptual interrelations
between the umbilical, placental, or elemental subjectivity, a subjectivity of origin, and the
Shakespeare's "A Lover's Complaint" traces the formal contours of an archaic voice which
Lacan would insist cannot be heard. This paper will unfold the controversy concerning
archaic subjectivity within Lacan's psychoanalytic school through a formal analysis of
Shakespeare's staging of the primal scene in the poem. And it will try to hear the voice
of archaic subjectivity in its formal specificity as what speaks through the umbilical/placental
seams and folds of the debate between Lacan and Montrelay instead of in the contents of
Montrelay's formulations which serve as the organ-hole, the point of entrance into the
thinking of this controversy about /as the archaic subject.
Myoung Ah Shin
Kyung Hee University, KOREA
"A Defense of the Lacanian concepts of the Symbolic and the Real against Judith Butler's
Judith Butler professes that a new critical perspective which can speak for the excluded in
a dominant discourse should not present the naive possibility of an overthrow of a
hegemonic discourse which accompanies the expansion of the discourse to the degree
that the discourse itself demolishes its own goal. Despite similarities between her theory
and those of other Lacanian theorists such as Slavoj Zizek, she criticizes the Symbolic as
historical and the Real as transcendental. Her critique of them is groundless, in that the
Symbolic is the linguistic network of a culture of a given time and history and the Real is
a product of the missed encounter with the cultural Symbolic. Her distorted views result
from her need to distinguish herself as a feminist from the Hegelian male follower.
Université de Paris 7
"The Paternal Metaphor: Two Case Studies"
In "Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego" (1921) Freud, discussing the
prehistory of the Oedipus complex, devotes a chapter to the identification of the child
with his or her father, showing how this becomes the precursor of something not unlike
an object relation. This is where Lacan takes up the theory, continuing Freud's reflection
on the difference between the sexes and naming the phallus as what will henceforth
become the center of the child's evolution, designating as normal in the identification
process this passage from the mother to the father and using it to describe what he
calls "the Order of the Law." Having clarified the notion, I will discuss two cases to find
out whether the theory still applies when each parent is not at his or her "normal" place
regarding the phallus.
"Containing Beckett's Molloy: The Frustration of Psychoanalysis"
This paper seeks to question the efficacy of psychoanalytical models of interpretation
when applied to the work of Samuel Beckett. Although Beckett himself has been
examined psychoanalytically both professionally (he was treated by Alfred Bion in the
1930s), and critically (most notably in Deirdre Bair's biography), the focus of the paper
is on the attempts made to interpret Beckettian texts through the prism of psychoanalysis.
Beckett's texts have proved to be fecund for the psychoanalytical approach. The texts
are littered with the local and structural resonance of both Freud and Jung. However,
the paper argues that, as with other hermeneutic models, applications of Freud and/or
Jung fail to account for the texts themselves. By focusing on two articles by J.D. O'Hara,
"Jung and the Narrative of Molloy" and "Freud and the Narrative of Moran,'" the paper
demonstrates how the openness of Beckett's novel frustrates the rigidity of the critical
system which is applied. It is argued that such frustration is not only to be felt by criticism
based on psychoanalysis but is rather common to any systematically developed hermeneutic
attempt. It is further suggested that this frustration arises through a fundamental difference
between the critical enterprise and the works of Beckett. Whereas criticism tends to seek
for unity (figured in psychoanalysis as the tracing of lines of displacement to an original
incident), Beckett's art is one of disunity in which disjunction repeatedly interrupts sameness,
resulting in the collapse of hermeneutic models. As with other interpretative models, therefore,
Beckett both calls for and rejects psychoanalytical exegesis.
National Taiwan University
Taipei, Taiwan ROC
"Aesthetics of Disappearance: Gaze and the Sublime in Paul Auster's The New York Trilogy"
Paul Auster's The New York Trilogy, the anti-detective stories from 1985 to 1986, have shared
an odor of postmodern jouissance in terms of narrative absurdity. What makes Trilogy fit into
the postmodern sublime is that the detective becomes befuddled by language and eventually,
there arrives a disintegrated identity of the detective himself and thus, the whole quest is not
only a failure but also a step into a sublime void and death. I propose that Kantian-Lacanian
theories, especially the concepts of the real, the gaze and the sublime, provide a good analytical
insight to approach this sublime literary text. And also in figuring out what the real and the
sublime are in its pure aesthetic of emptiness and disappearance, we would understand
better that the subject, our thinking being, in relation to Otherness is fundamentally empty,
as well as the "objective" social dimension which is also founded on the groundless ground
Annelies van Hees
Universiteit van Amsterdam
"A Literary Dream by H.C. Andersen"
In The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud mentions literary dreams as a kind of dream that
must be interpreted symbolically, as a whole, contrary to the normally preferred mode of
interpretation which he calls the "Chiffriermethode." In my paper I will consider the rather
linguistic character of the Chiffriermethode as contrary to the symbolic, rather literary
mode of interpretation.
In another context, however, Freud utters his respect for dreams met in literature since
these are formed "exactly as dreams dreamt by real persons." This statement is questioned
in my paper: literary dreams seem to be rather more coherent and to respond rather more
to narrative laws than dreams dreamt by real people, judging by Freud's own examples.
I shall use a dream told in a Hans Christian Andersen tale as an example of a wish fulfillment
dream of revenge, where the key to the interpretation, however, is not to be found in the dream
itself, but in its literary and biographical context.
"'You know Too Much': The Possibilities of Non-Oedipal Subjectivity in My Own Private Idaho"
The paper examines Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho using psychoanalytical tools.
The movie no doubt invites a psychoanalytical reading. It displays Oedipal relations in the
form of Scott's, the secondary protagonist's, relationship with his biological father (based on
Shakespeare's prince Hal), and Mike's, the main protagonist's, search for his mother. Yet
the movie at the same time problematizes Oedipal relations. The origin of Mike is one in
which the father and brother are one. Looking at Mike's character, we find an individual
stranded in a psychic situation which exceeds the Oedipal. His situation makes any
encounter with a female figure unbearable, resulting in a narcoleptic fits. His relationships
with male figures, though actual, lack depth and are based on the exchange of sex for
money. With female figures, he is unable to establish even that kind of relationship.
The paper takes the movie as a point of departure for the exploration of these fundamental
psychoanalytical questions, using the tools given by Freud, Jacques Lacan, Michele
Montrelay and Denis Vasse.
Buffalo NY USA
"'Goats and monkeys!': Cyprus in Othello"
A sketch of ways in which pre-verbal elements -- including sound and syntax --
arouse primitive fantasy and perturb psychic integration, in the cases of (1) Othello,
the character, and (2) readers of the play, Othello. My brief analysis will be framed by
recent personal anecdote, and by past readings of the play by several other members
of the "Buffalo School" of psychoanalytic Shakespeareans.