16th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

IN LITERATURE & PSYCHOLOGY

URBINO, ITALY

JULY 8-12, 1999

Abstracts

 

Alice Adams, Miami University of Ohio

"Anti-Oedipal Biomythographies in Audre Lorde, Dorothy Allison, and Cherrie Moraga"

This essay traces two intertwined strands in the literature of women's sexuality: biomythography and feminist psychology in the United States. Feminist psychologies are marked by ambivalence in regard to psychoanalysis, attempting to use and simultaneously resist its terms and concepts, often without acknowledging the role of psychoanalysis in the history of their development. This paper focuses on the currently influential concept of individuation/separation. A lack of healthy "personal boundaries" and a sustained threat of the loss of self are the typical symptoms feminist psychology identifies in women. The U.S. writers whose autobiographical myths I analyze - Audre Lorde, Dorothy Allison, and Cherrie Moraga - move beyond the concept of "personal boundaries" in narratives richly textured by differences of race, class, and culture. I argue that their art suggests ways of radically transforming theoretical perspectives on separation and individuation.

 

Elaine Baruch, New York, NY

"Manon Lescaut: The Impossible Object in Literature and Opera"

The figure of Manon Lescaut continues to fascinate women as well as men, in both Prevost's eighteenth-century novel and the even more popular operatic treatments by Massenet and Puccini. Freud's essays in "Contributions to the Psychology of Love" provide illumination, as do Lacan and Jung. Recent feminist literary and psychoanalytic theory helps elucidate Manon's conflict between pleasure and love, and contributes to our understanding of the woman as masquerade and the female gaze. This new criticism has also considered different aspects of male psychology, such as the hero's desire to be a mother himself.

Particularly provocative are the overturns or reversals of gender polarity, especially in Massenet. Manon, the "ultra feminine" woman, the "siren" and "sphinx" turns out to embody traditionally male values and behavior, at least until the end of the work. Why does the audience respond to this so favorably and given that it does so, why does the heroine have to die at the end?

 

Shuli Barzilai, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

"Accountable Malignity: Three Kitchen Scenes in Atwood’s Fiction"

Ellen Moers notes that in 1790s Ann Radcliffe firmly set the Gothic ways in a novel in which the central figure is a young persecuted woman. Another chief component in this configuration is a man. Her protagonist-narrator Joan Foster recalls passages from her previous works. Joan's relationship with the reporter begins when she turns from the Gothic romanced and confuses him with the persecutor of her unhappily married heroine. Joan, still immersed in the predicament of Lady Felicia Redmond retaliates in defense of the fictional Felicia by hitting the stranger with a Cinzano bottle. Joan's perception, seemingly irrational, is part of a patterned response in her own life as well as in her best-selling Gothics. The popularity of the genre poses a question for Atwood herself. People aren't interested in pop culture books, rather they connect with something real in people's lives." In my paper I will try to present some provisional answers.

 

Nancy Blake, University of Illinois

"Deconstructing the Muse: Surrealism's Child-Woman and Hans Bellmer's Dolls"

Bellmer deconstructs his fears and desires in his creation of the Dolls which become a materialization of his nostalgia for childhood and a rejection of the idealized precepts of health upheld by the Nazi Third Reich. In 1933, after the death of his wife from tuberculosis, Bellmer began construction of his Doll and the first series of erotic photographs of his creation. Influenced by the Surrealist movement and by Lewis Carroll's photographs of young children, Bellmer's work explores the many facets of perversion and gives an added dimension to Breton's concept of "convulsive beauty."

 

Sylvie Blum, University of Florida

"Memento Mori: Boltanski's Monuments to Mourning and Loss"

My presentation interrogates mourning and loss in the photographic work of Christian Boltanski, a French photographer, writer, filmmaker, and ethnographer of the "everyday life." Boltanski is a postwar Franco-Jewish artist haunted by the memory of World War II and the holocaust. My reading focuses on his latest exhibition and installation work: "Christian Boltanski: Les Dernières Années" (Paris Museum of Modern Art, summer 1998). The beginning of Boltanski's photographic (identity) quest stems from a psychoanalytical cure when he admitted that he did not remember his childhood. He subsequently attempted to reconstitute his childhood and engaged diverse art forms. Eventually, Boltanski moved from the attempted fictional reconstitution of personal memories to collective memory. Freud's analysis of mourning and loss as well as Kristeva's approach in Soleil noir, dépression et mélancholie inspire this essay.

 

Virginia Blum, University of Kentucky

"Imitating Mother: Allegories of Race and Space in Imitation of Life"

In the story of the biracial daughter passing as white in the two film versions of "Imitation of Life," the story of mother-daughter attachment and separation is grafted onto the story of racial difference. What I call the "melodrama of object relations" happens throughout the bound up in extra and intra-familial structures of anxiety about self/object boundaries. The danger seems to be located in the relationship of parental spaces. As both film versions of the Fannie Hurst novel illustrate, what holds the near-white daughter back is her noticeably black mother. Metonymically, the appearance of the black mother unveils the daughter as "related" to her black body. At the same time, the near-white daughter "kills" the black mother--not only by her rejection but, as I will argue, by her "difference".

 

Antal Bokay, Janus Pannonius University

No abstract.

 

Elena Bonelli, University of Siena

"Abject Bodies and Disseminated Remains in Titus Andronicus"

In Powers of Horror, Julia Kristeva explores different aspects of abjection, not only from a purely psychonalaytic point of view, but in literary texts; in particular, what characterises the `abject' is strictly connected with the experience of `borders', or `margins', and my aim is to show the numerous associations between Titus Andronicus and a strong sense of rejection.

The numerous mutilations and the presence of severed limbs in Titus produce a dissemination of the body - the body of the characters, the body of Rome, the body of the text - that reaches its climax in the final banquet scene in which Tamora, Queen of the Goths, unwittingly eats the bodies of her sons in a pie baked by the Roman general Titus. This final incorporation, which is the last of a series of metaphoric and physical incorporations I intend to examine, gives this tragedy a sense of corporeality based on abjection and disgust.

 

Joan Byles, University of Cyprus

"Shakespeare and War"

Why is it that Troilus and Cressida has become the anti-war play for our times? After all, Shakespeare wrote other plays about war, such as the Henry VI trilogy dramatizing the so-called Wars of the Roses in England in the 14th century, in which there is a particularly harrowing scene of civil war where a father unknowingly kills his son, and a son his father, and then there is the vastly popular Henry V dramatizing the English victory at Agincourt. Yet it is Troilus and Cressida that holds the stage with over 63 productions since 1945.

As I hope my paper will suggest the answer lies in our changed and changing attitudes to war, to the military and to militarism; our healthy suspicion of heroes, our distate of any glamour or glory associated with battle, and our general and collective sense of guilt for the atrocious military history of our own century.

 

Chapman Chen, Polytechnic University of Hong Kong

"A Psychoanalytic Interpretation of Bai Xiannnyong's Death in Chicago"

In this paper, psychoanalytic theories will be used to analyze Wu Hanhun, the hero of Bai Xianyong's Chinese short story, "Death in Chicago." The psychoanalytic theories used will include Freud's theories about melancholia, M. Klein's about paranoid-schizoid position, manic-depressive position, bad other imago, and homosexuality, Marie Bonaparte's about vagina dentata H. Segal's about art and reparation. Pathological mourning of the dead mother and the mother country triggers off Wu's mother complex -- metaphorically expressed as IMPLICIT sadistic necrophilia, coprophilia, claustrophobia, and sexual inversion. Wu's mother complex may be related to his author. Bai was mourning his own mother and other country when composing the story. Bai's fear of and hostility towards the bad mother are shown in his other stories. Bai is also known to be a homosexual. Nonetheless, Wu drowns himself in Lake Michigan while Bai successively sublimated his mother complex into art.

 

Georgianna M. M. Colville Université de Tours

"The Tragic Trajectories of Three Surrealist Sphinxes: Frida Kahlo, Kay Sage and Unica Zurn"

Much has been done to rehabilitate numerous women artists and writers who participated in the surrealist movement. In a recent article, I used psychoanalysis and myth to define their double position as subjects and objects. I will use those same tools to examine the parallel cases of the Mexican Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), the North American Kay Sage (1898-1963) and the German Unica Zurn (1916-1970). These three women were all connected with the surrealist movement at some point in, had difficult childhoods with problematic, frequently abusive mothers. Each chose a major painter as her partner, produced an autobiographical text as well as a variety of interdisciplinary work, and finally committed suicide. I will begin by examining the bio-bibliographic elements in the light of psychoanalytic theory and use the myth of the Sphinx to show how emblematic these three extreme cases are of the "enigma of woman" in the surrealist context.

 

Anca Cristofovici, Université de Caen CANCELED

"An Aesthetics of Aging"

I am currently engaged in a book-length project concerning representations of aging in contemporary American culture. Focused on the art photography my study contrasts the artificial aesthetics of old age fostered by current cultural practices with the more subtle discourse proposed by certain artists who address the complex realities of aging in compelling ways.

The paper I propose is based on the work of American artists coming from various traditions. I see in recent visual works representing the changing body and the complex psychological aspects accompanying the possibility of a progressive shift in aesthetic categories. A conventionally "negative" category might thus be integrated into a new aesthetic vision. My focus is on the psychological, "invisible" aspects of aging rendered in these visual art works.

Although many find my research topic depressing, I would like to advance the exhilarating hypothesis that we can stay fit and beautiful without a lifting.

 

Richard Currie, City University of New York

"The Role of the Unconscious in Detection in Wilkie Collins's The Law and the Lady"

Wilkie Collins employs Freudian and Jungian concepts of the unconscious in order to solve the question of who poisoned Sara Macallan in his novel The Law and the Lady. Principally focusing on the characterization of Misierrimus Dexter and a missing letter that reveals the murderer (but which is torn and buried in a dust heap), Collins uses the unconscious to bring to light the facts of the case.

 

Emil Draitser, Hunter College of CUNY

"Psychological Underpinnings of Russian Proverbs on Violence Against Women"

No abstract.

 

Czeslaw Dziekanowski University of Bialystok

"Between Internal Experience and Artistic Form"

I would like to present the phenomenon of transition from psychoanalytical discourse to a literacy story.

A case of the patient who responded to his individual and family crisis writing an autotherapeutic text serves as a basis here. The patient with some writing ambitions was willing to transfer his text on the literacy surface.

My analysis is based on three spheres. The first one is my record of a certain psychoanalytical session. The second one is a para-literacy record of the patient. The third one is a co-operation between the analyst-writer and patient-author directed to transform therapeutic text into a literacy text.

I am going to analyze the difference between record of authentic experience and the literacy text. My intention is to show the strategy of the literacy text. Creation basing on the spontaneous record that assumes an artistic form after undergoing a literacy treatment. I want to trace the role of the internal experience, the dream, and the unconscious fantasy before becoming an artistic material.

 

Eva Ekselius, Stockholm, Sweden

"Angel in the underworld: Aspects of a love story"

Downfall is the English title of a strange novel by the Swedish author Per Oliv Enquist. It's the story of a man found in a dirty mine shaft in the underground. His head is wrapped with filthy rags, in order to hide the shameful tumour in his forehead that has transformed him into a monster. The disfigured man is brought up to the light, the rags are unwrapped -- and the growth on his forehead is revealed to be a woman's face. When he meets his image in a mirror, he is moved by love for the woman in his forehead.

This love story is interpreted in terms of conflict and reconciliation, on a mythical as well as an in-depth psychological level. The conflict forms an antagonistic structure between feminine and masculine, dependence and independence, emotion and thought, religious faith and scientific knowing

 

Maria Ferreira, University of Aveiro

"The Eternity of the Same: Human Cloning and Its Discontents"

In this paper I want to look at the idea of human cloning and examine from a psychoanalytic point of view some of the reconfigurations and retheorizations that a society that includes cloned persons will necessarily entail.

Questions of identity, the relation of the cloned person to his/her genetic parent, family ties and dynamics, all need to be rethought. I will explore these issues in selected science fiction novels, all written before the possibility of cloning became foregrounded: Naomi Mitchison's Solution Three (1975), Pamela Sargent's Cloned Lives (1976) and Kate Wilhelm's Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1976).

In order to analyse the structure of relationships in the social network the cloned brothers and sisters live in I will use Freud's theories in Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921) and "On Narcissism: An Introduction" (1914) and Baudrillard's incursions into the psychoanalytic enterprise. This essay will expand upon these and other related topics.

 

Sue Finkelstein, Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Conrad as Trauma Survivor: Reflections on His Narrative Method"

Conrad's use of modernist, "impressionist" narrative technique marks him as a member of his literary generation. However, in Conrad's case, it also serves to express his personal history of major traumata in that modernist narration is remarkably similar to the experience of trauma and traumatic memory. The paper will identify some characteristics of trauma and its sequel, and, using examples from Conrad's work, will show how remarkably similar they are.

 

Greg Forter, University of South Carolina

"Modernism, Manhood, and Melancholia: Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises"

My paper explores Hemingway's modernism in relation to questions of mourning and masculinity. I will reconsider the meaning of castration in The Sun Also Rises. I argue that this castration represents Hemingway's paralyzing identification with two different, lost, and incompatible forms of masculinity. On one hand, the war wound embodies Hemingway's sense that modernity has undermined our culture's myths of invulnerable masculinity. But on the other hand, castration serves the defensive function of saving Jake Barnes from the related perils of sexual pleasure and affective connections. My argument is that these contradictions result from Hemingway's incapacity to relinquish male sentiment or male power. This incapacity has intimately to do with the meaning of his modernism. In Hemingway's work, is the cultivation of a style that renounces male sentiment and the direct expression of male power, but that remains fixated on them in a way that prevents men from moving forward to reconstitute masculinity on less defensively narcissistic ground.

 

Cynthia Fortner, Purdue University

"An Unbounded Symbolic: Julia Kristeva's (re)Writing of Lacan for Women; or, Who Was That Phallic Mother?"

My recent address to the writings of Julia Kristeva looks at her issues of language use and the construction of women. Kristeva seems to be addressing more than an implicit rescripting of her phallic mother in her latest writings, including throughout her most recent novel, Possessions.

Kristeva's opening image is that of a decapitated woman, a publisher, someone with words in her control. The image is troubling, and creates emotional ranges from euphoria, to anxiety, to despair. This phallic mother of Kristeva's functions differently from her phallic mother of Revolution in Poetic Language. While appearing as the "gate-keeper of the Symbolic", the realm of language, Kristeva's more recent phallic mother is castrated, "manque sa tete." I argue that Kristeva's phallic-mother metaphor begins to function as a psychic shape-shifter. Kristeva's fictional publisher, "manque sa tête," can and does "shift" her role as a changed linguistic construct in relation to the Symbolic realm.

 

Elizabeth Fox, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"A Theory of Mothering Implicit in the Work of Joan Riviere"

Joan Verrall Riviere's mother was "rather strict" with her two daughters, writes the editor of Riviere's Collected Papers: "For instance, they were not allowed to go to a dance because a drop of candle wax had marked a table, and their mother held them responsible." This paper traces the effects of such mothering on Riviere and her evolving sense of mothering apparent in her private and professional writings. Not a very successful mother to her only child, Diana, Riviere's study and practice of analysis led her to a more generous attitude about maternity, as revealed in letters of 1935-36 and in Riviere's writings. She used not only her experience as a daughter and as a mother, but also her roles as an analyst, as colleague of Melanie Klein (who analyzed children in London), and as Klein's defender during the Controversial Discussions, the debate between Klein's and Anna Freud's followers, to theorize mothering.

 

Andrew Gordon, University of Florida

"Racism as Project: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?"

An examination of Sartre's concept of project (Search for a Method) as a methodological guideline for the analysis of film. Sartre writes, "The most rudimentary behavior must be determined both in relation to the real and present factors which condition it and in relation to a certain object, still to come, which it is trying to bring into being. This is what we call the project." Illustrations will be taken from our on-going work on Sincere Fictions of the White Self in the American Cinema.

 

Geoffrey Green, San Francisco State University

"`Conjuring up a piece of real life': David Mamet's Representation of the Compulsion to Repeat and its Transformation into Remembrance by Means of Transference in his film, Things Change"

Freud presents the compulsion to repeat in "Remembering, Repeating and Working-Through" as a neurotic alternative to memory. Through the transference, the individual is able to effect a "working-through," a transcendence of neurotic conflict utilizing an "intermediate region...between illness and real life." In David Mamet's film, Things Change, Jerry, a low level gangster, on "probation" because he "can't follow orders," agrees to redeem himself by accepting an assignment to babysit Gino--a shoe repair man who has consented to do prison time in exchange for cash--until his court appearance. True to Freud's formulation, Jerry reenacts his repressed conflict by his repetition compulsion: he defies his instructions and takes Gino to Lake Tahoe. It is only through the symbolic dimension of his transference to Gino and his use of the "intermediate region" that Mamet dramatizes Jerry's ability to work-through his conflict into a satisfactory state of resolution

 

Marcia Green, San Francisco State University

"’Girl of My Dreams’: Harry Angel’s Epiphany from Johnny Favorite’s ‘Haunting Melody’ in Alan Parker’s Angel Heart"

Freud, in The Future of an Illusion, speaks of "estimating a civilization's value" in terms of "the extent to which [its] precepts have been internalized." "Art offers substitutive satisfactions for the oldest and still most deeply felt cultural renunciations...it serves as nothing else does to reconcile [us] to the sacrifices...made on behalf of civilization." In the film, The Fifth Element, a crucial scene takes place in an opera house. As the Diva appears on stage to sing a segment of the made scene from the opera, Lucia di Lammermoor, we also find out that she is literally carrying the four stones or elements needed to save humanity inside her body. Why is the Diva entrusted with the four stones? What does she hope to communicate by singing the made scene? This essay examines how music is used as a psychological force which subliminally links past, present, and future.

 

Laszlo Halasz, The Hungarian Academy of Sciences

"Reception of Different `Genres' of Freudian Texts"

While some scholars in humanities are tolerant towards Freud's unusual position between fiction and nonfiction, some consider it totally unacceptable. Hungarian undergraduates judged Freud to be a great scholar to an extraordinarily high degree. Their idea of Freud's scientific merit was more unambiguous than that of the experts. This did not prevent a number of the subjects from thinking Freud as a great writer.

We do not see what happens when `naive' readers read different Freudian texts. Four text-excerpts were chosen. Each excerpt formed a separate entity. Two of them were short, the other two were descriptive texts. The paper reports about a study in which secondary-school students read one of the narrative and the descriptive texts without any information about the author and text, they described three key-words. The genre and the quality, the readability, evocativeness, emotionality, fictionality, and the informative, aesthetic, expressive, entertaining, conative characteristics.

 

Yana Hashamova, Bowdoin College

"Beckett's Winnie: The Woman Who is No-All?"

Lacan's statement `woman is a symptom of man' has offended feminist scholars. Is Winnie a symptom of Willie or is, actually, Willie a symptom of Winnie? What is the gender significance behind these two characters from Beckett's "Happy Days?" Are their roles interchangeable? This paper addresses all these questions and presents Beckett's play in the light of Lacan's theory of the symptom, its connection to jouissance, and the synthome. It also questions some feminists' readings of the play and revises the notion of `the woman who is not-all.'

 

Gordon and Louella Hirsch, University of Minnesota

"Cognitive Behavioral Psychology and the Case of Pride and Prejudice"

Cognitive behavioral psychology is probably the dominant treatment modality in American clinical practice today. Viewing personality structures as cognitive schemata, it is solution-oriented rather than historical, seeking to modify dysfunctional cognitions and cognitive errors derived from core beliefs. Is this method of looking at personality and change useful in elucidating literature? Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is a text very much concerned with cognitive errors and distortions, on the part of both its characters and its readers. The modification of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors is represented in the book's readers by the narrative structure. This process of cognitive change in character and reader exemplifies the cognitive behavioral method.

 

Norman Holland, University of Florida

My Shakespeare in Love

John Madden's film itself follows a Shakespeare pattern of love breaking through barriers, but the film adds a parallel: Shakespeare has writer's block. Parallel to both is this viewer's delight in the film, which turns out to be based on his own experience of blocked writing. His response shows how a spectator uses comedy to build up or restore defenses (here, repression or denial).

 

Dianne Hunter, Trinity College

"Hamlet’s Hysterical Form"

This paper examines feminist stagings of hysteria in England, France, Australia, and the USA from 1975-1989, including Helene Cixous's Portrait de Dora, Anna Furse's Augustine (Big Hysteria), and Dr. Charcot’s Hysteria Shows, the collaborative performance work created at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, USA, at the end of the 1980s.

 

Helen Jaskoski, California State University

"I always knew you were singing": The Search for Parental Ground in the Poetry of Wendy Rose

This presentation has two purposes: it introduces the poetry of Wendy Rose, a distinguished contemporary American Indian writer, to a wider audience, and it examines a major theme in her work: the archetypal search for the father. Wendy Rose, child of a Hopi father and a Caucasian mother, has said of her poetry that "nothing is more brutally honest and, at the same time, more thickly coded." Raised in the urban Bay Area with no contact or knowledge of Hopi tradition, she has spent much of her life validating identity as a member of a matrilinear culture she has no traditional ties to. The search is complicated by memories of childhood brutalization and abuse. My discussion focuses on poems from her most well-known works, The Halfbreed Chronicles and Going to War with All My Relations and on her autobiographical essay, "Neon Scars"; my biographical approach is based on personal interviews, conversations and correspondence.

 

Earl Ingersoll, SUNY College at Brockport

"James Joyce's `The Dead' and the Dilemma of Identification"

The paper I propose offers me the opportunity to revisit James Joyce's early masterpiece "The Dead" several years after writing about it in my book Engendered Trope in Joyce's "Dubliners" where I argue that the story demonstrates Joyce's self-transformation as an artist in part because he brings together in the final scene the polarities of metonymy and metaphor operating in the earlier Dubliners. Within a framework of the gender associations of tropes, Gabriel's identification with Michael seemed to me a representation of the "feminine" in the fact of Furey's vulnerability in a patriarchal structure where to be positioned as vulnerable is to be "feminized" (following Barbara Johnson's suggestion in her discussion of Poe's "Purloined Letter"). This "genderizing" of metaphor and metonymy has its roots in the writing of Luce Irigaray, who sees metaphor as associated with "masculinity" and freedom, and metonymy as associated with "femininity" and confinement.

 

Cheryl Johnson, Miami University of Ohio

"The Language of Servitude"

When Africans were forced from their homelands and brought to America to serve as slaves, the denial of freedom and forced servitude were facilitated by a language that clarified their position and possibilities in this country. Forced to abandon their African languages, the slaves learned a new language whose lexicon (re)constructed words that redefined the slaves' very identities. But the language of social interactions between blacks and whites achieved another, more devastating function. The slaves were forced to adopt the language of servitude. Although many slaves used such language and forms of address as a mask, others internalized the meanings and associations of inferiority and second-class citizenship embedded in the language. My presentation, then, reveals the ways in which language can be used to construct and maintain self perception not only for individuals but also groups. I will use excerpts from both slave narratives and black women's historical novels as illustrations.

 

George Johnson, Cariboo University

"Well-remembered Voices: Mourning and Spirit Communication in First World War Narratives"

In 1921, Sigmund Freud wrote that "If I had my life to live over again (Jones, Freud, vol. III, 419). Though Freud wavered in his attitude to the empirical investigation of phenomena not detectable to the five senses, he was powerfully influenced by it. Freud shows himself to be a man of his times, as psychical research had an enormous impact on Western culture.

This paper examines the ways in which psychical research, and telepathic communications with dead soldiers, were used as a means of coping with the trauma of loss. It compares three writers' responses to the loss of their soldier sons in the war: psychical researcher Sir Oliver Lodge, in his popular "Non-fictional" work, Raymond; Rudyard Kipling, in his short stories, and J.M. Barrie in his play, "A Well-Remembered Voice." The paper demonstrates how these responses have been at least partially shaped by the writers' patterns of response to mourning in earlier life.

 

Claire Kahane, State University of New York at Buffalo

"The Maternal Scream"

Can gender be considered a relevant category for thinking about the representation of Holocaust trauma? This paper suggests that it can. Focusing on a problematic and nearly ubiquitous feature of Holocaust narratives, the recurrent representation of mother-child separation to figure the trauma of Holocaust experience, I use object relations theory to argue that there is a gendered difference in the representation of that trauma and the voicelessness that underlies it. "At grief so deep the tongue must wag in vain: /the language of our sense and memory/lacks the vocabulary of such pain."

 

Maria Kardaun, Maastricht University

"Jacob and the Angel: On Genesis 32, 22-31"

The biblical story of the fight between the patriarch Jacob and an unnamed adversary - traditionally referred to as `the angel' - is well known: after 20 years of exile, at the border of a small river which separates him from home, Jacob gets into a fight with a stranger. The fight takes all night. The stranger does not prevail, but neither does Jacob. The stranger hurts Jacob at his thigh, and then wants to leave because of the daybreak. But Jacob holds him back, refusing to let him go and demanding to be blessed. He gets his blessing, as well as a new name. The story will be interpreted from the Jungian point of view as a symbolic representation of an important cultural achievement.

 

Ulrike Kistner, University of the Witwatersrand

"Crowds at hangings, at revolutions, in media events - Mutations of the social tie?"

Remarkable correspondences can be observed between Kant's observations on spectators' sympathetic to the cause of political revolutions, and Freud's contention that modern psychopathological drama is pivoted on identification as a form of passive engagement of the spectators.

This paper will bring both of these sources to bear upon one another, highlighting the psychoanalytic dimensions of Kant's ethics, and the ethical subject of psychoanalysis. In as much as both rely on notions of sympathy, empathy, and identification, they can be jointly read to contribute insights on the nature of affect, and on the primal social tie.

Finally, this paper will investigate the ascription of the `waning affect' for modern media and digital information technology, and its consequences for the psycho-social fabric.

 

Marvin Krims, Harvard Medical School

"Cruelty in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew"

In this essay, I reverse my usual modus operandi of applying psychoanalysis to texts and instead use a text to explore a psychological problem. Accordingly, I use Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew to explore what is arguably humankind's most important psychological problem: cruelty. the particular approach I use is to examine the reader's response to the knock-about comic cruelty in The Taming in order to understand more about the unconscious cruelty that I believe to be a problematic presence in all people. I argue that the more we learn from a reading (or any other resource) about our inner cruelty, the less damaging this dangerous trait becomes-less damaging to others and ourselves.

 

Jane Kupersmidt, New York, NY

"Reticent Representation: Forms and Uses of Silence as Enactment"

When a Jane Austen character announces, "I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible," the irony stretches beyond the undermining of pretensions. The range of implications extends to the entire construction of revealing and hiding versions of the self and perception through what is not said. In this paper, I examine the manifestations of reticence as a subjectively expressive, literary and psychoanalytic forms of contradiction, negation and misreprentation.

Freud, Lacan and many since emphasized the assertive power of negation; much thinking on perversion centers on the symbolizing or embodying of these powerful refusals. The signals of reticence call for elaboration and development. In fiction and in psychoanalysis, scenarios shift, mental states and intensities change during elliptical moments in dialogue. I focus on these processes in narrative and speech structures, aiming at the rich and fugitive meanings of absent presences.

 

Marcia Landau, University of New Mexico

"Amy Levy – Poetic Reflections of Object of Love"

This paper will present an analysis of two poems by the Victorian poet Amy Levy utilizing an object relations approach. "A Minor Poet" and "Xantippe" are both long and complex poems by Levy written in the first person. They provide excellent examples of the dynamics and defenses of two speakers diagnostically identifiable along the narcissistic-borderline continuum. Defenses such as splitting, projective identification, idealization, and devaluation are evident in the voices of the narrators in these works and evoke strong countertransference (reader response) reactions in the reading. The psychoanalytic writings of Klein, Kernberg, and Mahler will be used as resources for this discussion. The paper will carefully scrutinize the texts of these poems relating and contrasting them to the characters found in Levy's novels, articles, and other poetry. The relevance of her triple minority status as a Jewess, lesbian, female poet in Victorian England will be integrated into the discussion.

 

Astrid Lange-Kirchheim, Albert-Ludwigs Universitaet

"De(con)struction of a Lady's Portrait: Mme Chauchat in Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain"

Feminist criticism has not only turned its attention to fictionalised images of women such as angels, it has also worked with the female portrait versus the female model as a paradigm. `To kill women into art' is the way in which women may be denied their status as subjects and at the same time be turned into containers for castration and death. The X-ray picture of Mme Chauchat's upper body, which Hans Castorp cherishes - a kind of skeletal-portrait and of course without head or facial expression, confirms this connection and, at the same time, it makes it transparent: as a Memento mori it nullifies gender difference, exposes phallic monism and signals homosexuality. This paper attempts to make Thomas Mann's ironic anatomy of gender visible and to make a link to his own critique of the `dismemberment of the soul' ("Seelenzergliederung") in "The Magic Mountain".

 

Solange Leibovici, University of Amsterdam

No abstract.

 

Claudia Liebrand, Albert-Ludwigs Universitaet

"Lulu: ‘The Wild, Beautiful Animal’ - Rereading Wedekind"

From the point of view of gender it appears that everything has been said that needs saying about Wedekind's Lulu dramas, "Erdgeist" and "Die Buechse der Pandora": the text shows, according to the communist opinion of research, the protagonist Lulu as a "wild, beautiful animal". This finding is to be contested. A cursory glance at the prologue makes it clear, that the metaphor of the wild, beautiful animal is one that transcends itself, slides away from the protagonist, and does tarry with her. The monster, as the male characters in the Lulu dramas, attempts to identify her. The last scene presents the real monster: and it doesn't have the face of the protagonist Lulu, but that of a man: Jack the Ripper. This paper will show, that Wedekind's Lulu-plays also deconstruct an inherently psychoanalytic discourse of femininity, for which they have been used as a referent for so long.

 

Pierre Met, Université de Paris Sud

"Henry James and Loss: The Europeans"

In this presentation I propose to study how the concept of loss may be apparent in Henry James' The Europeans.

The text will be analysed symbolically from the Freudian point of view. The analysis will demonstrate how the text as a whole includes themes of incestuous desire and masochistic fantasy that repeat at intervals and are the representation of an unconscious desire.

The descriptions of the great beauty of New England Puritan atmosphere, of the dead or silent mother, of women who are simultaneously a blessing an a curse can be interpreted as a struggle against transgressive desires.

In addition the novel provides a powerful description of a complicated oedipal relationship between the author his birthplace and his family who have put him in an unhappy position.

 

Rene Morel, City College of San Francisco

"A Telling Show: Self and Specularity in the King Caudaules Myth"

Lydian King Candaules was so proud of his wife's beauty that he showed her naked to his lieutenant, Gyges. Outraged, the queen offered the voyeur to kill her husband or be killed by him. Without much hesitation, Gyges chose the queen and her throne.

Authors as diverse as Herodotus, Ciero, Boccacio, Jacob Cats, Brantome, La Fontaine, Andre Gide, and Mario Vargas Llosa have all reinterpreted this tale. So have artists, for the myth, a striking metaphor for spectatorship, involves the seductions and subversions of representation.

The perverse triangulation in Candaules' story corresponds to the impossible dream of seeing, through another, that which cannot be seen: one's own desire. Like Painting, Candaules' insane gesture gratifies a viewer, yet frustrates the visual impulse (vision wants to possess its object). But since the essence of desire is never to meet its object--this would signify its death--what it ultimately produces is infinite pleasure.

 

Stephanie Ortega, Southwest Texas University

"Bachmann's Style of Posturing Dying in Malina"

Ingeborg, the protagonist of Ingeborg Bachmann's Malina, hangs out endlessly in the cafes of a timeless Vienna, suffering, chain-smoking and eating Sachertort--the favorite in suspension for moments with her Hungarian lover Malina whose relation to her is styled one of casual disregard. The protagonist thus seems to construct her life as nothing but the instrument of Malina's sometime pleasure. Yet Ingeborg the protagonist is a woman of style, privilege, and of considerable literary fame and, this reader argues, a writer, like the author of the story, of a great artiface.

Bachmann has fashioned her female protagonist as a contemporary Leopold von Sacher-Masoch: a dreamer who dreams of scenarios of control in moments of surrender. And the workings of the dynamics of this nouvelle masochism, play out Sacher-Masoch's ploy.

This paper looks at Bachmann's style in writing of masochism and offers a reading of female masochism not captured by psychoanalytic writing.

 

Frederico Pereira, Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada

No abstract.

 

Jennifer Predock-Linnell, University of New Mexico

"The Closeted Swan Emerges"

The intention of this paper is to compare Marius Petipa's 19th Century ballet, "Swan Lake" to Matthew Bourne's contemporary all-male recreation of this classic work. The paper will examine contrasting elements inherent in each work such as: intrinsic otivation of characters expressed in Bourne's choreography contrasted to extrinsic narrative apparent in Petipa's work dissimilarities between Bourne's creation of eclectic non-traditional dance form to Petipa's formal and traditional elegance psychodynamic complexity of role portrayal evident in Bourne's interpretation versus Petipa's rigid and contained depiction of characters flamboyant and sexually provocative body language and plot apparent in Bourne's work to restricted formalism inherent in traditional 19th C. "white" ballets Bourne's choices of theatrical settings that include a bedroom, bar, and dance floor in opposition to familiar pastoral scenes utilized by Petipa. Finally, the profound contrast in sexual tone from Bourne's highly erotic homosexually oriented ballet to Petipa's conventional heterosexual oriented ballet to Petipa's conventional heterosexual presentation.

 

Samuel Roll, University of New Mexico

"Cultural Variations in Oedipal Literature"

While Freud used Sophocles’ version of the Oedipal legend as the literary prototype of the universal family triangle, the incestuous, patricidal themes are found in the literature of many cultures. A review of tales from medieval Europe, the Near East, Modern Europe, Africa, and the South Pacific reveals the multitudinous ways in which Oedipal themes are interwoven into existing literature. This is combined with a review and analysis of various modes of hiding (and discovering) the Oedipal crimes. Differences in the range and quality of punishments, along with differences in the crime which foreshadows the eventual major taboo violations, are also reviewed. Of special interest are those specimens of Oedipal literature in which mother and son are able to effect a reunion.

 

Margret Schaefer, Berkeley, California CANCELED

No abstract.

 

Franziska Schoessler, Albert Ludwigs University

"Cross-dressing in Virginia Woolf's Orlando: A Biography"

Virginia Woolf's Orlando, the hero who turns into a heroine, transgresses the categories of time, space and gender and demonstrates, that identity is as much a hegemonic construction as gender is produced by acts of performative dressing, and not by a psychologically structured interior. Instead, psychoanalytic concepts are deconstructed. But not only the dualist matrix of gender is subverted by the frequent switch of dresses and pronouns, but "female" writing itself is shown to be a form of travesty. It puts on costumes of styles and deconstructs literary conventions by way of ironic quotation. Woolf sets up a sparkling play of fragments, ruptures and rhetorical slippages by questioning established coherences like biographical gender identity. Instead, the endless fluctuation of varying metaphors shows that "everything, in fact, is something else" (Orlando). The "escapades" (Woolf) of cross-dressing turn into a poetical theory of (d)rag. This paper will elaborate the connection between gender and poetics in Woolf's Orlando: A Biography.

 

Saundra Segan, Lehman College of CUNY

"Sullivan's Idea of Chumship and a Literature of Friendship"

If post-modern tells us that the self is not knowable except in context, current psychoanalytic theory and practice embrace some of this thinking as well. While diagnosis and interventions are made by the analyst, it is in the interaction with the patient that most of the work occurs.

Harry Stack Sullivan suggested in The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry that strengths can be reinforced and deficits can be corrected by relational exchange during any developmental stage. It is possible that literature can help us understand how the analytic exchange becomes a reparative when it attempts to create or describe something like a chumship. I will explore the meaning and value of Sullivan's idea of chumship by looking at literature of friendship. I will examine first the friendship of Achilles and Patroclus in The Iliad and move on to Hamlet and Horatio in Hamlet and to two modern poems, by Rilke and Adrienne Rich.

 

Robert Silhol, Université de Paris VII

"The Law of the Father"

The law of the Father, also called No/Name of the father (nom/non), describes the entry of the infant into triangulation, a passage from two--the dual relationship with the mother--to three, where the presence of the father creates a new situation and corresponds to the entry into a symbolic order. The notion undoubtedly represents one of Lacan's important contributions to psychoanalysis but also raises several questions which deserve discussion.

 

Robert Sprich, Bentley College

"Jumpin' Nights in the Garden of Eden": Sensuality in John Duigan's Sirens"

Sirens ostensibly deals with a journey by a young Anglican clergyman and his wife into the Australian Outback in order to convince a noted artist to withdraw one of his erotic paintings from an exhibit. But the artist's estate resembles a Garden of Eden (complete with snake), and the lifestyle of his extended family, including the voluptuous models, manifests a pervasive sensuality not found in conventional Christian theology.

Actually, Sirens deals with the seduction of the young clergyman and his wife into a fuller awareness of sensuality/sexuality such as Norman O. Brown outlined in Life Against Death. This transformation is handled with wisdom and good humor. As the film moves toward its high comic ending, it touches upon several psychodynamic themes which are explored in this paper.

 

William Spurlin, Columbia University

"The Absence of Language: Reading Scola's Le Bal"

Using Lacanian theories of signification and subjectivity, this paper critically analyzes Scola's 1983 film Le Bal. While not a single character speaks throughout the film, the audience is nonetheless able to read a broad range of political movements, social mores, and cultural forms in twentieth-century France through signifying practices that are non-linguistic such as mime, music, and period dancing. More important, as the actors in the film take on completely different characters in the periods represented Le Bal dramatizes not only the intersubjective constitution of the subject, but the effects of the imaginary and the symbolic on the audience as spectators. Carrying this further, it is argued that the audience undertakes a similar role of the analysand in the psychoanalytic situation insofar as the characters in the film, take on different roles in each of the seven vignettes, and incite awareness of our imagoes as structuring projections.

 

Reuven Tsur, Tel Aviv University

"The Death-and-Rebirth Archetype in Poetry (an Homage to Maud Bodkin)"

This paper contrasts two critical approaches to Jungian archetypes in poetry: the "this-stands-for-that" approach and the "emotional pattern" approach. The former turns the work into a shallow allegory; only the latter can account for the emotional appeal of archetypes in poetry. This approach foregrounds sequences and oppositions in the explicit meanings of poems, rather than reading into them "hidden meanings". "The death and rebirth archetype" underlies the theme of descending to Hell and ascending to Paradise. It contains three stages: (1) normal life, building up disturbing tensions; (2) descent to the depth of the sea, or the earth, or hell, already containing the seeds of "new life"; (3) ascent to a higher state, involving purification, self-assertion and refreshing. Elsewhere I suggested that this rhythm underlies Goethe's Faust. Baudelaire's sonnet "Receuillement" too enacts this pattern; Clarence's dream in Richard III enacts part of it.

 

Maureen Turim, University of Florida

"The Fantasy Image: Fixed or Moving?"

This paper will interrogate the notion of movment within both a Freudian and Lacanian definition of fantasy. If the scene of fantasy presents itself as visual, is it fixed, or does it move? Is it more like a tableau, a still, or a filmed scenario, a narrative image, a dream? This interrogation takes into account that in describing the fantasy, psychoanalysts use the term "fixed" in a metaphorical rather than a literal sense, but even this metaphor has very significant implications for a theory of desire and of visual imagination. I hope to open this question to its conjunction with theories of the image and visual representation. Key texts will be Freud's essay "A Child is Being Beaten" 1919, Laplanche and Pontalis, "Fantasy and the Origins of Sexuality," Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel, "Submissive Daughters: Hypotheses on Primary Passivity and Its Effects on Thought Mechanisms" and Lacan's Seminar IV: La Relation d'objet.

 

Donald Vanouse, State University of New York College at Oswego

"The Blighting of Love in J.M. Coetzee's Boyhood"

J.M. Coetzee's Boyhood: Scenes from Provincial Life (N.Y. Viking, 1997) records the pain and confusion in his childhood encounters with the physical, emotional and intellectual repressions in South Africa during the years of the Cold War. In addition to the vivid fragments showing socially constructed conflicts concerning race, religion, education, and language (English and Afrikaans), and the grim environment of the working-class suburb where he lived, Coetzee also depicts his childhood response to the emotionally-paralyzing relationship between his alcoholic father and his cold, distant mother. This memoir of boyhood includes events accessible to analytic interpretation, but the bleak irresolution of the narrative seems to exemplify Coetzee's depiction of a psycho-cultural entrapment in the false-self in White South Africa.

 

Annelies Van Mees, Amsterdam University

"The Lacanian Gaze and the Little Mermaid"

In H. C. Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" there is confusion going on, caused by looking and listening in inadequate ways. The mermaid's muteness is parallelled by the prince's deafness. Parallels can equally be found in blindness, etc.

 

Tamise Van Pelt, Idaho State University

"Psychoanalysis in Cyberspace: The Issue of Otherness"

First wave critics of literature written in the electronic medium suggest that technolit requires a less theoretical response than print literature. However, new media and especially the hypertext novels by women suggest that cyberspace is the place where ideas about radical alterity and gender's role in defining Otherness can be tested. This paper explores the challenge posed to the analytic reader of hypertext fiction by the use of randomness in Malloy's "Its Name Was Penelope" and by the necessity of mourning to the construction of gender in women's electronic literature more generally.

 

Susan Van Zyl, University of the Witwatersrand

"Why We Should Still Read Prospero and Caliban"

No abstract.

 

David Willbern, State University of New York at Buffalo

"’I Like to Watch’"

No abstract

 

Jerome Winer, University of Illinois at Chicago

"Panic in Literature"

Panic Disorder has been known since antiquity. A traveler's surprise encounter with the god of fertility and lustful satyr, Pan, produced the same overwhelming anxiety state coupled with severe somatic symptoms described in contemporary text books of psychiatry. In fact, it was Sigmund Freud, who first accurately described the syndrome in 1894. Freud originally thought of anxiety neurosis, as he called it, to be the result of unhealthy adult sexual practices. Later he came to regard it as the threatened emergence of derivatives of forbidden unconscious sexual wishes of childhood. The author contends that the realization that a forbidden wish has already been gratified inaugurates the panic symptoms in biologically susceptible people. This formulation will be illustrated using literary characters as well as clinical material from the author's practice.

 

Anne Wyatt-Brown, University of Florida

"The Rise and Fall of Jerzy Kosinski"

In 1982 the "Village Voice" claimed that Kosinski had accepted editorial assistance from the CIA, hired unacknowledged translators for The Painted Bird, committed plagiarism, and later hired people to write his books. Upon thorough investigation after Kosinski's suicide in 1991, James Park Sloan modified the complaints while insisting that the author's flair for storytelling was unsurpassed. My paper demonstrates that the ease with which Kosinski gained his reputation in America also contributed to his fall. His suicide was connected to: unresolved feelings about his adopted brother, his new unstable identity in America, and his fear of aging. Andrew Gordon has described the vindictive nature of Kosinski's writing. The novelist was, however, never separated from his parents during the war. His wound was caused by being displaced by an adopted brother whose blond hair made him less vulnerable to Nazi persecution. An uncertain identity and ignorance of aging added to his vulnerability.

 

Bertram Wyatt-Brown, University of Florida

"Poe's Raven: Influence, Alienation, and Art"

This paper first explores why Poe, an early modern existentialist, was significant in transatlantic letters, with his stress upon the perils of madness. Biographical factors help to explain his obsessions with death, doubling of personality, incest, and other gothicisms. His orphan status from age two, child and teenage unhappiness in a harsh and depressive foster-parent household in Richmond, Virginia, and acceptance of the bloodthirsty code of southern honor were all factors causing him both distress and inspiration. Overdrinking compounded his affective disorder--again sources of misery and epiphany. I examine Poe's publications to show interconnections of life and art, but most especially, I re-interpret "The Raven." It represents the poet's conception of his melancholy in beast-like form. Finally, Poe established a tradition in Southern letters that turned his successors toward psychological dimensions in which a mixture of realism and metaphor reflected an honor-bound, violent, and troubled regional culture.

 

Sherry Zivley, University of Houston

"The Depths of Evil: The Phenomenology of Fictional Subterranean Spaces"

Gaston Bachelard believes that, phenomenologically, houses represent interior human space and that cellars represent a morally and emotionally neutral unconscious. But I believe they are the loci of evil. Evil differs from mere sin and from bad things that happen to people. Primary evil involves a desire to cause suffering (The Vanishing, The Bad Seed, and Silence of the Lambs [Hannibal Lecter]). Secondary evil results from other selfish motivations (Paradise Lost, The Monk, The Collector, various Poe stories, Presumed Innocent, The Third Man, and Silence of the Lambs [James Gumb]). Some evil actions result from prejudice (The Invisible Man and Go Tell It on the Mountain). And some characters are in cellars as a result of their madness, which may suggest that our culture associates madness with evil (Four-Gated City, Through a Glass Darkly, and Plath's "Wintering"). The cellar is not perceived as positive or neutral, but as a negative place, associated with evil or madness.