ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA
JULY 3-6, 1998
Kansas State University
Hänsel and Gretel and Auschwitz
At the beginning of my presentation I will describe a scene from Edgar Hilsenrath's bestselling novel "The Nazi and the Barber" in which a Nazi mass murderer is maltreated by the Polish version of the Hänsel and Gretel witch. y paper asks why a contemporary text on the Holocaust deals with this sinister thee in such a way. What are the links between Auschwitz and the romantic fairy tales? Since the H and G witch had a house full of gingerbreads why does she need to bake little children? Where does the motif of burning people originate and is it a specifically German motif? Surely not, since in the Middle Ages people, women in particular, were burnt right, left and center. Women were burnt because they were healers but men considered them witches. H and G end up shoving the old witch into the oven because she was evil. Throughout history those who are considered most evil burn, as if those who burn what they do not fathom could cleanse themselves of what they fear most.
Department of English
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
A Brief History of The Origin of the World: Courbet and Lacan
A visitor to "La Prévóté," the country home of Jacques Lacan situated near Mantes-la-Jolie, might be shown to a large room called the "studio" or "atelier." Among the objects that could have engaged the privileged visitor's gaze was a "strange dyptich" in a loggia overlooking the room. However, rather than side-by-side panels, this double painting consisted of a wooden screen that concealed the oil painting behind it. A secret mechanism enabled the screen to slide back. The screen reproduced in abstract form the elements of the recessed work: "a Courbet canvas representing a female sexual organ (une toile de Courbet, représentant le sexe écarté d'une femme).
In thus briefly identifying the painting-behind-the-painting, Elisabeth Roudinesco could be said to describe the essential. She also discloses, in her 1986 history of the French psychoanalytic movement, the identity of the painting's owner and its exact location, a carefully guarded secret from the time that Lacan purchased it in 1955. But it is no less accurate to note that Roudinesco leaves out or forgets (as her translator omits the word "écarté, opened, spread out") the essential by neglecting to mention the title: L'Origine du monde. The title contributes to the scandal as well as to the representational status of Gustave Courbet's painting. For while the canvas seems intended to image an object of male desire--"ale sexe écarté d'unne femme, the title ambiguates or opens up the question of this object: what might man want? Nevertheless, the partial disclosure just cited may be deemed highly, if unintentionally, appropriate. The Origin not only has accrued a series of critical descriptions in which Roudinesco's passage takes prt, but also is known for the history of concealments that have accompanied its exhibition by various owners. After citing a few more descriptions of the canvas and how it was displayed, I turn in my paper to some implications of the ways that Lacan himself concealed The Origin of the World from an audience avid for his revelations.
University of Melbourne
Desire as Capital: Sex, money and subjectivity in the writings of Freud, Bataille and Lawrence
It is commonplace today to speak of sexual and mental energy in monetary terms, as something that can be spent, saved, wasted or profitably invested. This paper examines Freud's role in elaborating this economistic view of the libido and the psyche, and traces its influence on images of sexual liberation and transgression in the writings of D.H. Lawrence and Georges Bataille. Critics of a market-dominated society, all three writers advocated libidinal `expenditure' as an antidote to civilization's discontents, but they continued to deploy a vocabulary of economic metaphors to describe the psychical `investments', `returns' and `losses' that characterize the sexual freedoms they variously advocated. Through interlinked readings of Freud on the unconscious, Lawrence on pornography and masturbation, and Bataille's studies of eroticism, the paper traces the emergence of the `sovereign spender' and the uncanny complicity between the so-called `sexual revolution' and the `consumer revolution' in the modernist period.
Department of English
Royal Military College of Canada
Kingston, Ontario K7K 7B4
Why are Readers Angered When Narratives Deceive Them? A reader-response approach to Irvin Yalom's When Nietzsche Wept and John Fowles's The French Lieutenant's Woman
There is a striking similarity in these two novels. In each, the protagonist enters a dream state in which he is able to try an experiment, as it were, in abandoning his martial commitment. Subsequently, in his real life, he choose the opposite course of action. While the dream is being narrated, however, the reader is led to believe that the action of the dream is actually occurring in the character's waking life. In the case of Yalom's novel, I felt outraged by this deception. In The French Lieutenant's Woman, I accepted the deception without difficulty. In this paper I will explore the basis for these two opposite reactions, and develop a general theory explaining them.
James N. Brown
Macquaire University, Sydney
Independent Scholar, Sydney
See(k)ing Ophelia: A Subjective Case Study
This paper will interrogate the possibility or impossibility of a feminine subjectivity as represented in three characterizations of Ophelia-in Shakespeare's Hamlet (briefly), in Heiner Müller's Hamlet maschine, and in the 1995 fiction of Justine Ettler, The River Ophelia. The move in these texts of Ophelia, from Ophelia as Hamlet's Other to a dominant but possibly abject identity will be discussed in terms of Freudian, Lacanian, Kristevan and Irigarayan theoretical paradigms, and Deleuze and Guattari's rhizomatic theory. While it can be argued that Shakespeare and Müller reveal interest in Ophelia as a contrast to Early Modern and Modern concerns with subjectivity, Ettler's text presents a vision of femininity beyond individualism, a fluid feminism which is both provocative and heretical in its postmodernity.
Georgiana M.M. Colville
Université Francois Rabelais
The Northern Irish Conflict Filmed as a Freudian Fable: Joe Comerford's High-Boot Benny (1994).
Comerford's Benny, an articulate overgrown delinquent from the North on the run, evocative of both Faulkner's Benjy and Steinbeck's Lennie, has taken refuge in a strange school, just over the Southern Irish border, run by an odd middle-aged couple, he a catholic ex-priest, recently returned from working with Native-Americans, she a protestant nurse. The camera frames Benny in womb-like spaces and fragments of his body, as he evolves in a regressive pre-linguistic no-an's land among animals (hunted prey, cattle or pets) and orphan children chanting Indian music, caught between both sides' hidden silent perpetrators of death: the IRA and RUC (Royal Ulter Constabulary). The film, structured around the other's body and an aborted primal scene, is also punctuated by shots of a beautiful but bleak maternal sea beyond the local village. When his substitute parents are savagely murdered by the RUC, Benny joins the silent, asked IRA. My talk will show how Comerford represents political violence in terms of pre-oedipal, pre-symbolic arrested development.
Max Day, M.D.
108 Lake Avenue
Newton Centre, MA 02159-2108
From the story of Jung and Spielrein, it seems that in certain cases, several elements are necessary for one kind of healing encounter to take place despite or because of an affair between a patient and a therapist during psychotherapy. They include a congruence of family history, early developmental traumata and probably of certain types of borderline character structure, which include the capacity to split intra-psychically and inter-personally and concomitant efforts to heal the splits, a general inhibition, which reinforces a need to act out to avoid dealing with aggression, a capacity for intuition and expressiveness and difficulty in being in a unified mature relationship with one love object. These tendencies to split begin early in life in an effort to deal with intolerable coldness in the mother. The splitting is repeated then between the mother and the father and later still in relation to the father. Such people may be the sort, who need two men or two women to remain psychically stable in order to deal with old dissatisfactions with the mother. This need to split spreads then to other fields of endeavor. An overlapping current traumatic situation for both partners summons up affect memories of old losses or deprivations, so they turn to each other for solace and engage in a sexual affair.
Why can some of these people turn out to be productive. It may be that the innate strength of the participants helps them bear these further stresses and yet remain productive and even creative. These factors taken together may represent the "unconscious symmetry" in patient and therapist, when an affair takes place during therapy. Of note, too, is the possibility that such a relationship may have lasting constructive after-effects for both participants, despite the problems the relationship and affair create. Does this creative work occur because of or despite the affair? In the case of Jung and Spielrein, it seems to have occurred in both participants because of it. In the case of Anna O., creative work occurred later one, despite the abrupt conclusion of the relationship and the lack of a sexual affair. In the case of Gottieben, we don't know. Blumhardt and Jung grew in their fields; Breuer abandoned it. One swallow does not make a summer. This case may demonstrate one kind of symmetry and its effects. Others will have to study other swallows.
Why Art Trumps Love: On Henrik Ibsen's Last Play: When We Dead Awaken
A central theme in Henrik Ibsen's authorship is the role of so-called "ground projects" in human life, i.e. individual projects which are of such importance for the person in question that life would lose some of its meaning if one had to give them up. In his last play, Ibsen introduces us to an artist who has pursued his ground project, and has become a very successful and famous sculptor. His love life, however, is lousy, even though he has met the woman of his dreams and she is more than willing to share her life with him. This paper will discuss different psychoanalytical approaches to the play, and their candidates to explaining why art - in the world of Ibsen - triumps love.
Melancholic Reading or Reading Melancholia:
Psychoanalytic Criticism and Text as Score
What is this thing called text? A subject or an object? My point of departure is the concept (by Paul Ricoeur) of text as score. The author left the place, his text is "like a musical score" waiting for the Reader for the re-enactment.
What is then the aim of psychoanalytic literary criticism? To explore the inner world of the author? Or of the reader? I will argue that the text itself should be the main object of the investigation, where the textualized experience of the author meets with that of the reader "particularly unique and personal, partially universal. This common realm is the object to be treated as (if it were) a subject.
By combining the methods of French thematic criticism with psychoanalytic theory I will pursue the theme of melancholia and depression in the writings of the Swedish author Per Olv Enquist.
Department of Comparative Literature
New York, NY
Siting Freud for the Millennium: A response to Deleuze's Anti-Oedipus
No theorist has enjoyed more attention of late than has Gilles Deleuze, the brilliant French social philosopher who committed suicide two years ago. This popularity/notoriety has many contributing factors, not the least of which is Deleuze's spectacular "millennial" death, preceded by a lyric reflection on velocity and the preciousness of life and breath. But in this paper I will focus on two of the most controversial facets of this thinker's work: the "cyber" aspect of Deleuze, typified by A Thousand Plateaus, a futuristic reflection on probe heads, living geological formations, and quantum physics, all discussed in a style which seems to move at the "warp speed" of the information age; and the argument, in Anti-Oedipus, that Freudian theory is atavistic, not viable for the new age, and even a heinous agent of repressive social structures. I argue that while Deleuze gets Freud wrong, consistently underreading him in a facile and reductive fashion, his "future" theory of the abstract machine nonetheless remains a fascinating philosophical picture of things to come. Moreover, and more to the point, Freud's theory-- when read through millennial perspectives taking into account the advances in communication and technology and the new social order--is both consistent with and necessary to Deleuze's own futuristic notions of "the abstract machine" and the "machinic phylulm". Finally, rather than being dismissed as a reactive formation of Capitalism, Freud's theory, reread through Deleuze, can suggest "human" responses to the "post-human" age, and serve to facilitate progressive social formations in the next millennium.
Andrew Gordon/Hernan Vera
University of Florida
Amistad, a Sincere Fiction of the White Self
A critical examination of Steven Spielberg's film about the Amistad revolt and its judicial aftermath. Using Pierre Bourdieu's concept of "sincere fiction" we examine the image of the "white self" represented in the film. Although Amistad (1997) purports to be a historical film, its symbolic labor involved in creating and maintaining the ideological scaffold for race relations in the United States. Hailed by some as doing for African Americans what Schindler's List (1993) did for Jewish Americans, Amistad is an important document on contemporary American psycho-social identity.
Dr. Geoffrey Green
Department of English
San Francisco State University
`The Symbol of that which constrains us': David Mamet's Homicide, Paranoia, and the Ambivalence of Cultural Identity
David Mamet's Homicide, explores the ambivalence of cultural identity. Gold, Mamet's protagonist, is a Jewish cop. His primary identity is institutional: he constructs a family unit within the borders of the urban police department. But he finds out, while investigating a murder case involving anti-Semitism and racial antipathy, that his primary loyalties are unstable: is he a Jewish cop? or a cop who recognizes himself primarily as a Jew? An unfolding conspiracy that may or may not include neo-Nazi violence and Israeli/Palestinian commandos pressures Gold to choose: institutional affinity or religious/cultural identity? Gold's choice, for Mamet, indicates that choosing solves nothing: the ambivalence remains as a human condition. Freud viewed paranoia as a defense against homosexuality. Within a cultural perspective, love of the self and love of the object take on intriguing new meanings. Mamet's film challenges us to define identity within a cultural psychoanalytic framework.
Dr. Marcia Green
San Francisco State University
Creative Virtuosity: The Uncanny Voice in the Films of Frankenstein
In Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein, Victor, inspired by the words of his mentor, M. Waldman, realizes he is fated to "pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation." When he realizes his creative mission he is infused with musical analogies to describe this emotionally charged defining moment. "[O]ne by one the various keys were touched which forced the mechanism of my being; chord after chord was sounded, and soon my mind was filled with one thought, one conception, one purpose." Why is his primary conception of himself as creator sounded in purely musical terms?
In representing the creation scene in the film versions of Frankenstein, how do the composers cope with the "sound" of creation? What combination of musical notes, keys and chords represents the psychological atmosphere of both science and magic? What does our inner "creative voice" sound like? What might be the similarities that exist between scientific creation and musical creation? How do both science and music seek to "unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation?" When do both science and music become magical?
Institute for Psychology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences/Budapest
Psychoanalysis and Literature, as seen by Undergraduates
Freud remarked of his first case histories that they could be read like short stories, which he found rather problematical from the scientific point of view. And at the end of his "Leonardo" he realized that what he had written could be regarded as "merely a psychoanalytical novel". Recently, attention has been drawn to the fact that the paramount Freudian work, "The Interpretation of Dreams", was influenced by the narrative literary tradition and that the work was simultaneously a general theory of dream interpretation and an autobiographical novel. In my two earlier papers based on "Gradiva" and "Moses" I have pointed out Freud extraordinary position between fiction and nonfiction, and to the Freudian text as a psychological, literary and historical text at one and the same time.
This paper reports on some findings of an empirical study in which humanities undergraduates were asked things, about what they associated with Freud's name, their knowledge of Freud's works on psychology of art, and their opinion on the role of psychoanalysis in psychology, sociology, historigraphy, literary theory and culture in general. At the same time, the subjects responded the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with the following propositions: - there is much fiction and little fact in psychoanalysis, - artists, especially poets and writers, know more about mental life than psychoanalysts, - psychoanalysis is closer to literature than to science, - interest in pathology connects psychoanalysis with today's arts, - psychoanalysis, like any fashionable phenomenon, exerts an influence on the arts only temporarily, - Freud is one of the greatest writers of our century, - Freud is one of the greatest scientists of our century, - Freud is a great story-teller of our life inasmuch as he makes each of his patients a great story-teller of his or her own life. In this way the educated layman's mental representation of Freud and psychoanalysis, especially concerning the characteristics outlined above, can be contrasted with the standpoint of the specialists.
Department of Art History
This paper, which has the name of a chapter of my forthcoming book, Inside Picture Books (Yale University Press, 1999), from which it is taken, will closely examine four picture books written and illustrated for American children in the 1970s-1990s. All are still in print and selling in US bookstores.
In an age when children witness media images of violence and unmourned death, this presentation seeks to valorize efforts to represent for young children both the passive process and the active work of mourning by means of cultural experiences that are encountered in the presence of adults and that invite questions of conversational reading.
Modern warfare has been kept outside USA territorial borders, and aging grandparents often live far away from their grandchildren; thus, under these conditions, death, for many young American children, comes close first in the form of the loss of an animal, often a cherished household pet. These first exposures to death are ones that may be re-evoked in the future under altered circumstances, thus, a 20 year old picture book, such as The Accident (1976), which we shall examine in detail, may serve as a source of solace in the present as well as of deep understanding to be drawn on in the future. Stores about animals are not limited by their ostensible subject matter but can open paths to reflection and lay foundations for dealing with the succession of griefs from which no human life is exempt. For each young child, the stage is narrow; what he or she knows and feels IS the real world. In this presentation, I shall attempt to show how beautifully crafted picture books work to prepare young children for the tasks of mourning.
University of Groningen
Writing as the Art of Taking the Right Distance
In this lecture I wish to examine how concepts of distance and of changing distances are present in the writing and reading of literary texts.
This playing with distance in space in time or in the abstractions of our minds sends us back, not only to the story of King Oedipus, but also to numerous literary figures or practices, from irony to deconstruction, but above all, to the central notions of metonymy and metaphor.
To illustrate my purpose, I'll read parts of Beckett's short story, First Love, which has as its central theme the famous `fort/da' movement of Freud's grandchild . . .
Dr. John Higgins
Department of English
University of Cape Town
`Fitter for Bedlam than Civil Conversation': The Disturbance of Dialogue in Hitchcock's Psycho
This paper examines a certain circulation of dialogue in Hitchcock's film Psycho, focusing on the famous exchange between Marion Crane and Norman Bates over a sandwich-dinner late at night in the Bates Motel. `Civil Conversation' (the phrase is taken from John Lock's Essay concerning Humane Understanding) has long been the very figure, in philosophical discourse, f a successfully cohesive social order. What about the psychic underpinnings of conversation? Taking Michel Foucault's observations, in his early work, Mental Illness and Psychology as my starting-point, I examine how the film plays on the capacity to dialogue as a way of identifying and embodying any definition of mental normality. The encounter between Marion and Norman reveals and exemplifies the ways in which conversation and dialogue seek to mediate the irruptive forces of unconscious desire, threatening the irruption of Bedlam into Civil Conversation.
Hartford, CT 06106
Shakespeare's Continuity Through the Daughter
By focusing on the theatricalization of mourning in Hamlet and Twelfth Night, one may read traces of Shakespeare's responses to loss. In the first play, death is figured as a walking shadow in the figures of Hamlet and Hamlet Sr. These images fuse in identification father and son. Hamlet as a mourner is split in the play into the counterparting mourning children Fortinbras Jr., Laertes, and Ophelia. Suicidal grief is marked feminine in the play; revenge, masculine. Survival is a matter of displacing aggression while identifying with an old-fashioned feudal ideal of martial masculinity--the father in armor as he appears in the opening act of Hamlet. A variation of this spectral solution to loss appears in Twelfth Night.
English Department/306 Clemens Hall
Amherst, NY 14260
Mourning the loss of loss
In this paper I want to suggest that the current fascination with issues of mourning and loss, and the apparent cultural imperative to confront the Holocaust and its effects is a call to confront as well our own attachment to melancholia, and to question whether we can turn that melancholia into an act of mourning, of working through. However, this melancholia is not as Freud had defined melancholia, a question of an attachment to a lost object which I refuse to give up; it is not based on a negation of loss; rather it is an attachment to the loss itself, to the empty space, to the void. Acknowledging my debt to Andre Green's paper on The Dead Mother, Kristeva's Black Sun, and Louise Kaplan's No Voice is ever Wholly Lost, my paper will examine the erotics of melancholia as a perverse attachment to loss as it is manifest in Cynthia Ozick's "The Shawl".
A Fondness for Fictions
The con man is the seducer who pursues acceptance not of himself but of his fictions--of the capacity to produce fictions. Frequently these endeavors are "published" as an invitation to join in a mythologized commonality--a bond that will create something magical to obscure the isolation and separation inhabited by the con man's target. In these relationships, which offer an ephemeral attempt to deny difference of gender, power or history, the prize is a found identity. What is a delusional identity to one (for the con man finds the fiction more real than its absence) may take on the character of salvation to the other. Ironies multiply as identity is differently defined for the sometimes tragically complicit partners. The one who submits frequently believes that the complicity will overcome anonymity and confer status; the one who shapes the scenario attempts to defeat time through repetition. The victim slides from euphoria to unspeakable doubt in the effort to keep the tantalizing object, while the perpetrator, who cannot tolerate the other's integrity of being, strives to obliterate the threat such a reality would oppose to an omnipotent fiction. The repetition of the lie allows the con man to locate his own authenticity; acceptance of the lie forecloses the victim's ability to decipher meaning.
We are perhaps painfully accustomed to hearing these paradoxes explored in the case of child abuse, particularly as in Ferenczi's classic paper "The Confusion of Tongues Between Adult and Child," or in the work of later analysts, from Winnicott to Chasseguet-Smirgel. The child who bears the imprint of such a sado-masochistic relationship (the only available alternative to exclusion or annihilation) has no expanded vocabulary with which to read the data of emotional connection. But if, in the fictions adults too inhabit, and as case material demonstrates, we talk about a bruising of reality, rather than a destruction of it, about perplexity rather than paranoia, about oblique rather than direct apprehension of data, we can negotiate con man territory. A capacity to love formed in the shadow of sadism provides the central focus of a case in which the patient's fantasized knowledge bears out the con man's fiction. Literary portrayals, for example Maisie's fascination with Mrs. Wix's glasses, or Lafcadio's personal system of registering lapses from success on his body, give related thematic elaborations of a structure that has a long and engrossing development.
An Epigenetic Approach of Dr. Faustus
Erikson's Ages of Man as Applied to Faustus
This paper deals with an Eriksonian approach to the character structure of Faustus in Christopher Marlowe's play Dr. Faustus. The paper attempts to show evidence from the text that Faustus is functioning with deficits in three levels of Erikson's "Eight Ages of Man." Following the epigenetic model, we find Faustus trapped as a middle-aged scholar with developmental failures in "Initiative versus Guilt" (oedipal-preschool) Stage III, in "Identity versus Role Confusion (adolescence) Stage V, and in "Generativity versus Stagnation (adult-midlife) Stage VII. The result is a highly complex character who struggles vainly to constructively plan his post-graduate career. His contract with the devil reflects the fallacious thinking of a man who has "graduated" but never matured. Oedipal, adolescent, and mid-life issues intrude on his problem solving.
U of Amsterdam
Rear Window and Manhattan Murder Mystery: Two Primal Scene Fantasies
Woody Allen's Manhattan Murder Mystery has a lot in common with Hitchcock's Rear Window. In these films, both murder stories or -applying Tzvetan Todorov's classification of "black novels" to film- "black movies", we watch someone who is reduced to a state of passivity and suspects a neighbor of having killed his wife. Eventually he/she solves the murder. The "detective's" passionate curiosity about the mystery, his/her determination to find the victim and expose the crime, may be interpretated as a fantasy related to the primal scene. But what both films also demonstrate is a changing attitude towards psychoanalysis. The alienating fear and suspense which had characterized Hitchcock's movie give way to Allen's irony and humour.
Judith Lütge Coullie
University of Durban-Westville
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Keeping the Natives in their Place: Literary Theory and Subject of Psychoanalysis at South African Universities
This paper will focus on the adoption of psychoanalytic theorisations of subjectivity by poststructuralism, specifically as it informs literary theory in English department syllabi at South African universities. I shall ask: what are the epistemological and broader political implications of the employment of psychoanalytic theories in literary studies in South Africa?
In the implicit endorsement of psychoanalytic theories of the subject, South African academics are implicitly subscribing to a value-laden conception of the self. Psychoanalysis rejects as "primitive" notions of self such as those circulating amongst indigenous South African cultures while it privileges the individualized psychological person who emerges in the early modern period in the West. In this way, psychoanalysis reinforces Western individualism and participates in imperialist knowledge-making structures.
Thus, however fruitful psychoanalytic theories of the subject may be, if they are not made accountable to local thought systems then their complicity with intellectual imperialism may render them at best suspect, at worst incapacitating to South African students. What is needed is a kind of theorising which involves a dialogue with alternative models, models such as traditional Zulu philosophy and its attendant literary forms. If students are, for example, exposed to Zulu auto/biographical practices, and are encouraged to consider the philosophical underpinnings for such practices, then they will be able to question the implications of the adoption of theories like psychoanalysis. This would mean an engagement with theory which does not depend on the evacuation of the very social subjects who have to grapple with it.
Sherry Lutz Zivley
Department of English
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77024-3012
One Little Room, Its Walls, and Its Windows
Various writers have presented either normal or psychotic characters who spend extended periods of time in a room which is isolated from the normal living quarters.
My paper will consider the symbolic and psychological implications of such rooms, their walls, and their windows. Some characters are greatly changed--for better or for worse--psychologically by their stay in such rooms--a stay which may be self imposed or imposed by others. Other characters emerge unchanged.
Although it is highly unlikely that any of them knew of others' works, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, in "The Yellow Wallpaper," Doris Lessing, in "To Room Nineteen" and Four-Gated City, and Ingmar Berman, in Through a Glass Darkly, present similarly troubled women in similar rooms. Both Gilman and Lessing present a psychotic woman circling her room trying to get out--and bloodying the walls from where she bumps it with her head. Both Gilman and Lessing present women who hallucinate that they have broken through the wall to free someone from inside. Both Gilman's and Lessing's characters see hallucinations outside the windows. Lessing also presents, in Memoirs of a Survivor, a very different character who goes through the wall and develops psychological wisdom because of her experience.
To support my assertions about isolation, rooms, walls, and windows, I will utilize examples from Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour," Margaret Drabble's The Waterfall, Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man, John Fowles's The Collector, John Gardner's October Light, Katherine Mansfield's "The Tiredness of Rosabel," Melville's "Bartleby," and James Baldwin's Go Tell It on the Mountain, and, perhaps, Albert Camus's The Stranger.
If I have space, I may also consider the implications of isolation in bedrooms by couples, giving examples from Lessing's Four-Gated City and The Golden Notebook, James Joyce's "The Dead," Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, and, perhaps, Manuel Puig's Kiss of the Spider Woman and the movie, Midnight Cowboy.
Unconscious Inference from Metaphor: What Follows from Mothers' Being Soft and Warm
This paper first demonstrates in some detail how inferences drawn from the conceptual metaphors HARD IS COLD and SOFT IS WARM color much of our thinking and influence certain prejudices and folk-ideas, including ideas about gender difference. The paper then points out that in a purely cognitive sense, these inferences can be said to be unconscious in that (like all language use) they result from cognitive processes of which we are unaware. But, the paper demonstrates, they also operate unconsciously in a more Freudian sense, since they are bound up with unconscious infantile memories having to do with our earliest caretakers and with our own bodies. The paper concludes by considering some of the implications of these facts for the interpretation of poetry, for deepening the understanding of everyday speech, and for psychoanalytic theory.
Moby Dick: "Jouissance" at work
Moby Dick is the story of the hunt for a white whale by a sea captain from Nantucket. The question put to us in association with Freudian theory is: does the voyage of the Pequod, an aggressive fantasy among other things, make sense? Special attention will be given to Melville's fascination for Moby Dick, for this frantic pursuit to which everything is sacrificed. I my paper, I analyse how Melville, obsessed by possession and dominance, describes the complexities of identity, unconscious compulsion, isolation and guilt. I explore the territories of past and present and point out that they do not exist simply side by side, but rather destroy each other. At the end of the novel, the boat, the crew, are scattered at the bottom of the ocean, but Moby Dick survives. Captive of Desire, the "subject" finds "itself" at a loss in front of the while whale, a metaphor of an association of the pleasure of the ego destroying itself, which is simultaneously recognised and repressed.
Department of English
University of Florida
Urga and the Metapsychology of Postnational Identity
This paper will argue that the metapsychological implications of Nikita Mikhalkov's film Urga make it possible to theorize how narratives work to reconfigure what Bataille calls a general economy of a culture at a moment of significant historical change, and that a post-Lacanian psychoanalytic context allows us to read some of the ways this occurs.
Figurations of the uncanny and of a visual mise-en-abime in this film ark the psychic intensities through which a transition from one mode of cultural identity transforms into another. I also expect to discuss such other post-Glasnost films from Russia and Eastern Vitaly Kanevski's Freeze Die Come to Life and Jan Svankajer's Conspirators of Pleasure to address the representation of trauma and depression linked to the crisis of historical change.
Caliban and the Suitors from Hell
Recent criticism of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" has stressed the play's relevance to current debates about colonization and the culture of colonialism. The play's main focus, I will stress, however, is its engagement with the family romance and more particularly the reinstatement of patriarchy. In a world that makes "trafficking with women" a sign of patriarchal control, guiding the marriage choice of a beloved daughter becomes a template of true power. It is generally recognized that "the Tempest" forms an "echo chamber" (Greenblatt's phrase) for numerous precedent Shakespeparean dramatic situations, character types, and motifs. I wish to show how with the figure of Caliban and Prospero's dominance of him, in uncanny ways Shakespeare retrieves and redefines many fathers' fears and anxieties about the suitor from hell, and through anamorphic distillation creates a final "ideal" image of father triumphant.
Professor Suzanne R. Pucci
Department of French
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506
Incest and the Question of Domestic Intimacy
I will be talking about another way of discussing both incest and domestic intimacy, one which doesn't correspond to the Freudian paradigm. I am interested in the ways the formation of the bourgeois domestic family in 18th century. France uses incest to construct domestic intimacy and I will carry this notion into the 20th century to examine the contemporary manifestations and taboos of domestic intimacy. I will speak about some of the Jane Austen remakes to illustrate my point.
University of California/Davis
The Kreutzer Sonata: A Kleinian Approach to Tolstoy's Hatred of Sex
In the year 1888 Lev Tolstoy decided that human sexual intercourse should no longer exist. Tolstoy was, as he later admitted, "horrified" by this conclusion. Yet for the rest of his life he honestly believed that total sexual abstinence was best. Frequenter of brothels in his youth, father of thirteen children by his wife, and at least two children by peasant women before he was married, Tolstoy now had the arrogance to suggest that it would be a good idea if people stopped having children.
How can such a repudiation be explained? It was not merely a literary fact - although it was first revealed to the world in a literary work, titled The Kreutzer Sonata (1889). It was not a religious belief either, although Tolstoy did marshall quotations from the Bible to support his thesis. Tolstoy's repudiation of sex was, rather a fact of his particular biography, a strikingly personal declaration reflecting the state of his psyche at the time he made it.
While writing his novella Tolstoy was convinced of the need for total sexual abstinence, yet at the same time he was unable to desist from having sexual intercourse with his wife, as can easily be proven by the diaries. While preaching at this tie to his public and to himself about the importance of spiritual love, unmistakable signs of hatred for his wife and for women generally keep cropping up.
The misogyny is particularly important. Tolstoy's novella is, after all, about the brutal murder of a woman. Bluntly stated, the novella is about Tolstoy's misogyny. The murder Pozdnyshev reflects the murderous feelings which Tolstoy himself harbored toward women, especially toward mothers. Claims by some readers that Tolstoy is a "feminist" are untenable. The man who declared that "women are so bad that the difference between a good and a bad woman scarcely exists" - cannot be a feminist. But the man who asserted that "to marry a young lady means dumping on yourself the whole poison of civilization" might well want to commit uxoricide.
The fact that misogyny was a commonplace of late nineteenth-century Russian life did not lessen the intensity of Tolstoy's misogyny. Tolstoy lived in an environment that permitted, even encouraged him to explore his own personal motives for hating women. The Kreutzer Sonata, in all of its many draft variants, constitutes a pattern of associations leading back to early maternal loss. Tolstoy never forgave his mother for dying on him when he was about two years old, and he could never accept what he believed was the cause of her death, i.e., her sexual activity. The hatred of women and the hatred of sexuality cannot be disentangled from one another.
Much of the imagery surrounding the murder in the novella concerns mother-child relations. Breast-imagery is particularly prominent, and Pozdnyshev kills his wife by stabbing her "under the breast." The rage which Pozdnyshev feels strongly resembles the affective state which psychoanalyst Melanie Klein attributes to the pre-Oedipal child: "...the subject's dominant aim is to possess himself of the contents of the mother's body and to destroy her by every means which sadism can command." Drafts of the novella indicate cannibalistic fantasies regarding the wife's body. The drafts also represent the murder weapon as phallic, and equate sexual intercourse with murderous destruction of a woman's body. Tolstoy's Pozdnyshev, in other words, is a Kleinian infant. The only way to avoid stirring up the sadistic fantasies of such an infant is to avoid sexual contact with women - which is precisely what the aging Tolstoy advocated to the world.
Department of Literature
Doubling and the Postmodern Uncanny: Paul Austor's City of Glass
City of Glass, the first novella of Paul Auster's New York Trilogy, pivots on ideas articulated in Freud's central essay, "The Uncanny" and echoed in Auster's non-fictional meditations on father-son relationships and the mystery of identity. In its preoccupation with constructions and deconstructions of the self, the novella employs uncanny doubling and repetition as both psychological phenomena and postmodern literary strategies: not only characters but narrative trajectories double, mirror, overlap, and even appear to cancel each other out. The detective at the center of City of Glass is haunted by his own Oedipal anxieties about sons and fathers as well as by the uncanny narrative in which he is both implicated and complicated.
University of Groningen
On Literary Appellation
Why do most literary personages, even in modern and post-modern literature, have expressive names? In other words, these names almost always tend to convey, indicate, suggest or betray something of the identity of their bearer. And why is there, in almost every interpretation of a literary work, an attempt to uncover the significance of the names, via etymological derivation or by means of cultural historical reference?
The answer to these questions is linked to the issue of the anthropological function of the medium of literature. The question can be partly answered from a psychoanalytical viewpoint, which will put expressive names in literature in a new light.
Saundra M. Segan
144 West 86th Street
New York, NY 10024
Matthew Arnold's Struggle for the True Self
I would like to suggest that through Arnold's poetic stance, his critical attitudes, his humor, his humdrum work, his sharp critical attacks, his amiability, his generosity, etc., he found ways of being in the world, ways acceptable for a poet who privileged poetry and had a vision of himself as a failed poet to cope with his own emotional splitting. To demonstrate my notion, I plan to look at some of Arnold's poetry, particularly "The Buried Life," as well as some of his prose metaphors for imaginative life in an effort to find evidence that Arnold's writings represent his lifelong struggle to achieve a sense of his true self. Using notions of false self and true self as developed by the object relations theorists of the British School (Klein, Winnicott, Fairbairn, Bion) and by Sullivan and his followers on the American side, I plan to examine how Arnold developed into someone who feared and resisted imaginative life while promoting it.
I have elsewhere addressed Arnold's attention to the young writer, early cultures, and young heroic characters as metaphors for incipient imaginative life. I will try to interweave some of these ideas into my current attempt to look at Arnold with a clinical/critical eye.
Montclair State University
Images of Illness in Katherine Mansfield's Short Stories
Susan Sontag in her discussion of the metaphor of TB has shown that "TB sufferers may be represented as passionate but are, more characteristically deficient in vitality, in life force." 1 She sees TB, as depicted throughout the nineteen century and into the early twentieth, as the prototypical passive death-- "the death of someone (like a child) thought to be too good to be sexual. 2 Her observations fit perfectly the case of Katherine Mansfield who, dying of TB, passively gave herself up to the ideas of the mystic, Gurdjieff, believing, "I must heal myself before I will be well." 3 Just before her death in July, 1922 at La Prieure in Fontainebleau, the institute run by Gurdjieff, her husband, John Middleton Murry, wrote of her:
have never seen, nor shall I ever see, anyone as beautiful as she was on that day: it was as though the exquisite perfection which was always hers had taken possession of her completely. To use her own words, the last grain of `sediment,' the last traces of `early degradation,' were departed forever. But she had lost her life to save it. 4
Thus did Murray turn his wife into the non-material being that was at the core of the mythologizing of TB, particularly when an artist contracted it. After her death, according to Jeffrey Meyers, Murray "took possession of her and turned her into the docile woman he always wanted her to be." 5 Meyers believes that Murray exploited Mansfield's death and created a "sentimental and idealized portrait which obscured her literary qualities." 6 In propagating this notion of his wife's purity, Murray ignored her varied and destructive sexual experiences, her abortion, her lesbianism.
But while Murray cosmeticized Mansfield's life and while Mansfield turned blindly out of despair over dying to a guru, Mansfield's work does not falsify reality. Her stories never lie about loneliness, suffering, fear of death, attraction to women, or bitterness and anger toward her husband who abandoned her when she needed him to live with her and to provide monetary support. Mansfield followed her friend, Virginia Woolf's advice to "kill the angel in the house" before writing and she produced work that confronted illness and dying without glorifying them.
In this paper I show how images of illness shape Mansfield's stories and how her fear of death shapes her mode of telling them. Specifically, I look at her frequent use of insect images-- the fly, the spider, which immediately suggest affinities with Franz Kafka, who also died from TB, as metaphors for the disgust she felt toward her illness, what she described as the horror of being ill. In her marriage stories I look at images such as the pear tree in "Bliss" to show her sense of betrayal in marriage and that she wasn't as pure as Murray wanted us to believe. I will demonstrate how the condensation of material in Mansfield's work is the reaction of an alienated invalid whose sense of self is diminished through exile to strange locales in search of health. As a consequence of her TB, Mansfield's world grew smaller and smaller as did her stories which finally, like Kafka's, became unfinished fragments, published
University of Paris 7
On the notion of the signifier
This paper will attempt to clarify the lacanian notion of signifier, showing that, although it was apparently borrowed from linguistics, it rapidly acquired a specific meaning of its own not entirely recognizable by linguists. The notion is an important one and has enabled Lacan to insist rightly on absence and on duality (spalting) while at the same time giving rise to controversial readings which I sometimes find it difficult to accept psychoanalytically.
Mieke A.M. Taat
Reading beyond the realistic fallacy. Freud's concept of "family-romance"
Freud's rather roughly designed commentary on Conrad Ferdinand Meyer's story Die Richterin / The Woman-Judge (cf. Letter to Fliess 20-6-1998), as well as his more elaborated essay The Family-Romance of Neurotics (1909), lead us to some interesting reflections on textual practices in general, and on psychoanalytic reading in particular. For, once we take into serious account the importance Freud attaches to the exploration of "family-romance" inscriptions in fiction, we come to feel suspicious about that very old and still most familiar Aristotelian conception of narrative and drama as "minesis", that makes us nearly automatically read as "realists", even nowadays. Thus we come to deconstruct the "realistic phallacy" carried out, not only by narrative techniques such as Conrad Meyer's, but also by the interpretative strategies on which Freud tends to fall back, when "reading" male neurotic's family-romance-inscriptions like Die Richterin. Indeed, what misrecognitions, what defenses are at work in the analyst's reluctance to venture his reading self into the revolutionary textual practice to which the concept "Familienroman" opens, theoretically at least, the way?
Homage to Sabina Spielrein, Between Love & War
The 29th of November, 1911, Mrs. Sabina Spielrein presented in the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society a paper entitled: Die Destruktion als Ursache des Werdens". We may try to translate it as "Destruction, a ground for life transformation", but, in fact, this seems rather impossible to translate properly. It was published in 1912.
In his 1921 text, "Beyond the Pleasure Principle", Freud mentioned this Sabina Spielrein's article as the anticipation of his death instinct theory; Sabina had called "destructive" the sadistic aspect of sexual drive. For her, the destruction drive belongs to the procreation instinct as a whole. She does not consider negative aspects of erotic life like anxiety or disgust as consequences of repression, but she interprets these affects as representations of a destructive drive, based upon the consciousness of the character ephemeral and transitory (das Ende, das Vergängliche) of such love fever.
We know the romantic affair she had with her therapist in the Burghölzi clinic, Carl Gustav Jung. We know as well how helpful was Freud for her, during this distressful experience.
Her destiny after this passionate relationship is less notorious. She became a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst and set up a clinic in Rostof on the Don (Ukrainia), based on psychoanalytic treatment for children. She edited a psychoanalytic review and resisted to the Stalinist repression as psychoanalyst in the late thirties. She was killed, as Jewish, with her two daughters, by the Nazi army, the 27th of July, 1942, in Rostof on the Don. I would like to present an homage to this heroic colleague and to her family.
Her article about destruction, as well as some chapters of her Medical Dissertation, underline the ever-lasting "mysterium conjuctionnis" described by June in 1955 about alchemy, and by Freud (1910) about "opposite meanings of originary words". All these works may lead us to consider the oxymoric pattern of imago.
Department of English
University of Florida
`Let's Hope the Red Army isn't Listening in on Us': A Psychoanalytic Listening to the Unspoken in The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Much of my previous work (The Flashback in Film: Memory and History and The Films of Osima Nagisa: Images of a Japanese Iconoclast) looks at characterization and relations between characters in films and fiction as the representation of unconscious forces. The psyche is understood in a specific historical context, which allows me to explore how the function of desire is inscribed in narrative differentially. In this paper, I use this approach to investigate the Milan Kundera's Nesnesitalna lehkost byti (The Unbearable Lightness of Being, 1984) and its filmic adaptation in 1988 by Philip Kaufman from a script on which the director collaborated with Jean-Claude Carrire. The questions I address are how the phenomenology of being is presented through the function of desire, and how a post-Lacanian view of psychoanalysis can elucidate both the psychoanalytic and political/ethical questions of engagement here. I will place Kundera as a writer whose notion of art and politics is shadowed by a longing after substance and a rebellion against the State, yet whose anti-hero struggles with compulsive desires that include a desire to remain detached, to no speak, at least not directly, in either the personal or political realms. That it is a letter through which Tomas finally speaks words that commit and transform his being is not without significance for my psychoanalytic approach. I will be examining how sexual/gender politics affect these issues in both novel and film, a comparative approach that includes not only how literary representation differs from the filmic and visual one, but also how a Czech context differs from that sustained by a Euro-American, (U.S. French) production.
Annelies van Hees
Scandinavian Amsterdam University
Smilla's Sense of Ice
Although Peter Hoeg's novel is called Smilla's sense of snow, ice plays a more important role in it. I will speak about ice as the metaphor for Smilla's sense of distance, i.e. the geographical and social distance felt by the Inuit living in Denmark, Smilla's sense of distance in a sexual meaning and her mourning process regarding her Inuit mother and her Danish father. It would be nice if we could have the film available for showing on one of the evenings. My lecture, however, will be about the book, no the film.
Transference: The Impossible Relation
This paper is a contribution to the perennial debate on the question of transference. It begins with a brief historical survey of the theory of transference and its formations. It then engages with Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen's critique of Freud and Lacan by taking issue with his contention that suggestion is just as operative in transference phenomena as in hypnotic ones. At the same time the paper concedes that transference does incorporate a hypnotic effect as a necessary ingredient for analysis to take off and in the process discover that which is impossible in any relation. To that extent this rejected origin of psychoanalysis, hypnosis, is held to be worthy of some further examination in that the emotional tie touched on in hypnosis is the actual affective element in the analytic relationship, essential to the process, impossible in its total irreducibility.
The Story of a Poem
The paper will be an application to a poem of the theory of the Story that I gave at the IPSA conference two years ago. The aim will be to show that, first, at the level of the immediate rhetoric of the poem the Story structure can be discerned as contributing to a manifest interpretation. The structure is then applied to the poem as a whole in order to wrest from it with the help of Lacanian theory counter-interpretations and to demonstrate a theoretical generality which goes beyond deconstruction.
Program in Linguistics
University of Florida
Gender, Class, and Religion in Eastern European Immigrant Fiction
The psychological development of the children of American immigrants has usually been affected by the interplay of gender, class, and religion. All of these factors were important, but especially in the first half of this century, gender was the controlling factor. Partly because most of the accounts of immigrant life were composed by male children of immigrants, the problems facing girls were largely ignored. Anzia Yezierska's Bread Givers (1925), however, gives us the missing female perspective. Her novel challenges the omission of women from writers such as Henry Roth, who did not even reveal to his readers that he had a sister until the 1990s when he published a three volume sequel, Mercy of a Rude Stream (1994, 1995, 1996), to his classic Call It Sleep (1934). A comparison of Roth's and Yezierska's fiction suggests that both men and women experience guilt when they abandoned the religious heritage of their forebears, but that male characters developed more strategies for surviving the guilt than did the females.
Not surprisingly most of the accounts were written by male children of immigrants, and the few records of young girls did not receive the attention of the best known of the early twentieth-century immigrant novel, Henry Roth's. Roth focused so intently on his own experience that he did not reveal to his readers that he even had a sister until the 1990s when in his late eighties he published In Contrast to Ira Stigman, Roth's hero, Yezierska's heroine Sara must abandoned the traditional gender expectations of her family in order to complete her high school education. Her struggle causes her considerable guilt, the pangs of which cause her to choose a mate who will become the son that her father had longed to produce. At the novel's end, it seems reasonable to assume that Sara's unselfishness will not be rewarded. In contrast, self-centeredness allows Ira to flourish. Unlike Sara and her hapless sister,s who are forced into unsuitable marriages by their unreliable father, some of Ira's emotional distress is self-inflicted. Moreover, he marries to suit his own needs rather than those of his parents, and his wife becomes the self-sacrificing but energetically supportive woman of traditional Jewish culture.
Department of History
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611
Modern Southern Writers, Depression, and European and Russian Influences
So far as I am aware, no scholar has thoroughly identified and explained the reasons why such 20th century Southern writers as William Faulkner, Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, Peter Taylor and others were so struck by the innovations of nineteenth-century Russian and French writers as they began to craft their own fiction. One reason for an affinity between, for instance, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Walker Percy or between Faulkner and Gustav Flaubert was their parallel sense of alienation from their respective cultural norms and their similar personal difficulties with depression and sense of loss. The Southern intellectual was shaken loose from the literary parochialism of the past by the horrors of the First World War, and they found in these earlier foreign writers commonalities of spirit that proved inspirational.
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