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The oneiric in representations of trauma

Exploring the status of the oneiric beyond psychoanalysis, Dreams and atrocity synthesises interdisciplinary perspectives from literary criticism, medical humanities, memory and cultural studies, history and art practice. The volume sheds new light on the relevance of dreams as modes of psychic resistance and historical witness as well as symptoms of trauma in modern and contemporary representations of atrocity. Central to the book is the articulation of the oneiric’s potential to awaken us to the pervasive violence of our contemporary world – providing us with the means not only of diagnosing but also of responding to historical episodes of atrocity, from twentieth-century genocide to contemporary racism and transphobia. The contributors develop new ways of reading the dreamlike in cultural works, foregrounding its power as an aesthetic mode and political tool. Organised into three parts – ‘Dream images’, ‘Dreams as sites of resistance’, and ‘Violent states’ – the book conducts a timely enquiry into the role played by the unconscious in processing and illustrating atrocity in an increasingly violent world. In so doing, it attends to the significance of dreams in dark times, illuminating the triangulated relationship between dream life, memory and trauma.

Insook Webber

LaCapra’s concept of ‘empathic unsettlement’ – which entails ‘being responsive to the traumatic experience of others’ ( 2001 : 41), while resisting ‘full identification with, and appropriation of, the experience of the other’ ( 2001 : 79). Keeping this in mind, I will analyse Ladivine in light first of Freud’s theory of the dream and repetition, followed by Lacan’s concept of the real as it is

in Dreams and atrocity
The (un)homeliness of Gainsbourg’s persona
Felicity Chaplin

figure’ in the film ‘as she was playing a demonic wife [in Antichrist ]’ . Despite the strange location Gainsbourg ‘exudes a sympathetic, matter-of-fact naturalness’. Holden here points to another important contradiction in Gainsbourg’s persona, which is brought into play particularly during this stage of her career: she is both ‘striking’ and ‘natural’, both out of place and at home. It is a strange familiarity one experiences watching Gainsbourg during this period, which the German term unheimlich or ‘unhomely’ describes well and which, as Freud points out in his

in Charlotte Gainsbourg
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The tattoo as navel in Louisa May Alcott’s ‘V.V.: Or, plots and counterplots’
Alexander N. Howe

problematises any final marking – and thus knowing – of the woman. Virginie’s tattoo in fact serves as the navel of the story, in the sense spoken of by Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Shoshana Felman and others – that is, a tangled knot of signification that remains impenetrable to interpretation. The navel marks that point where signification traumatically touches the body, yet in this tangle the body likewise speaks through its disruption of narrative. Alcott engages this disruption by embodying Virginie incessantly and inscrutably throughout the story, thus proleptically

in Tattoos in crime and detective narratives
John Gibbs

the characters can openly express themselves in dance or decisive action – we encounter both the bond between character psychology and visual style, and the metaphorical use of psychoanalytic terms and concepts which underlie much of Elsaesser’s argument and find particular expression in the second of his models of melodramatic mise-­en-­scène. Character into décor Elsaesser argues that one factor in the development and reception of the postwar family melodrama was America’s ‘discovery’ of Freud: ‘the connections of Freud with melodrama are as complex as they are

in The life of mise-en-scène
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Kate Ince

the hermetic, predictable and phallocentric frameworks on which psycho analytic criticism has often relied – Freud’s Oedipalism and Lacan’s concept of the Symbolic order. In this context, it should perhaps not be forgotten that Franju was a lifelong depressive who regarded psychoanalysis as an art rather than a science (70). However, it was not analysis he depended on to keep him going, but his work: ‘if I don’t work I’m down and if I do I’m up

in Georges Franju
Le Diable probablement and L’Argent
Keith Reader

We have often enough seen how important the death-drive, Thanatos, is for Bresson’s work. Freud’s Civilisation and its Discontents describes ‘the struggle between Eros and Death, between the instinct of life and the instinct of destruction’ as ‘what all life essentially consists of’ (Freud [1930] 1961 : 82), and Bresson’s last two films foreground that struggle with particular

in Robert Bresson
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Sam Rohdie

Bodies Two 1964 paintings by Francis Bacon are reproduced in the credit sequence of Bertolucci’s Ultimo tango a Parigi (1972) : Portrait of Lucian Freud (1969) and Study for a Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne (1966). The portraits in the film first appear separately, then, towards the close of the sequence, are framed together. Both Freud and Rawsthorne were painters, and, like Bacon, concentrated on portraiture and figures. Their paintings are expressionist, distorted by colour, light, line and position, at once realistic because figurative, and unrealistic by

in Film modernism
Phil Powrie

also the giraffe referred to by Durand in his conversation with Zlibovic, and which he retrieves at the end of the film; it lies beneath the couch as he and Hélène make love on his couch. It is a reference to a famous case of Freud’s, Little Hans, and represents the penis, as it did for Freud’s patient, and beyond that, the acquisition of an apparently unproblematic heterosexual masculinity (Taubes 2001 : 12

in Jean-Jacques Beineix
Orientalism and the erotic in L’Immortelle and C’est Gradiva qui vous appelle
John Phillips

scenes and locations that appear at once familiar and strange, of the fetishistic and sadomasochistic elements in male–female sexuality, of the mythic nature of man’s perceptions and representations of the feminine. There is in Freud’s notion of the uncanny a tension between the familiar and the strange that is identifiable in all of Robbe-Grillet’s films, but particularly so in L’Immortelle . In the very

in Alain Robbe-Grillet