Freud and literature
in Literature and psychoanalysis
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This chapter contains examples of attempts at criticism inspired by Sigmund Freud. The first uses Freud to consider a poem by William Blake, the second to interpret a familiar Sherlock Holmes short story. Freud compares Oedipus with Hamlet, and with Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, for the significance of parricide; but, in Blake, aggression toward the parents seems equalled by a perception of the parents' aggression. Freud discusses the ambivalence of people's feelings about themselves and each other, liking to hate and hating to like, having unconscious emotions ('affects'), and in doing so, follows Blake. The coincidence of dates between Holmes and Freud and the similarity of their methods are significant: detective and psychoanalyst both work by looking for clues, traces of the past.


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