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Jay Garcia

The intellectual connection between James Baldwin and Lionel Trilling, and the resonances across their criticism, are more substantial than scholarly and biographical treatments have disclosed. For Trilling, Baldwin’s writings were notable for their deviation from most humanistic inquiry, which he considered insufficiently alert to the harms and depredations of culture. Baldwin’s work became for Trilling a promising indication that American criticism could be remade along the lines of a tragic conception of culture deriving from Freud. This essay concentrates on a relevant but neglected dynamic in American letters—the mid-twentieth-century tension between Freudian thought and American humanistic inquiry evident in fields like American Studies—to explain the intellectual coordinates within which Trilling developed an affinity for Baldwin’s work. The essay concludes by suggesting that the twilight of Freud’s tragic conception of culture, which figured centrally in the modernist critical environment in which Baldwin and Trilling encountered one another, contributed to an estrangement whereby the two came to be seen as unrelated and different kinds of critics, despite the consonance of their critical idioms during the 1940s and 1950s.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
Intimacy, Shame, and the Closet in James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room
Monica B. Pearl

This essay’s close interrogation of James Baldwin’s 1956 novel Giovanni’s Room allows us to see one aspect of how sexual shame functions: it shows how shame exposes anxiety not only about the feminizing force of homosexuality, but about how being the object of the gaze is feminizing—and therefore shameful. It also shows that the paradigm of the closet is not the metaphor of privacy and enclosure on one hand and openness and liberation on the other that it is commonly thought to be, but instead is a site of illusory control over whether one is available to be seen and therefore humiliated by being feminized. Further, the essay reveals the paradox of denial, where one must first know the thing that is at the same time being disavowed or denied. The narrative requirements of fictions such as Giovanni’s Room demonstrate this, as it requires that the narrator both know, in order to narrate, and not know something at the same time.

James Baldwin Review
Abstract only
Author: Nicholas Royle

This book provides a lucid, wide-ranging and up-to-date critical introduction to the writings of Hélène Cixous (1937–). Cixous is often considered ‘difficult’. Moreover she is extraordinarily prolific, having published dozens of books, essays, plays and other texts. Royle avoids any pretence of a comprehensive survey, instead offering a rich and diverse sampling. At once expository and playful, original and funny, this micrological approach enables a new critical understanding and appreciation of Cixous’s writing. If there is complexity in her work, Royle suggests, there is also uncanny simplicity and great pleasure. The book focuses on key motifs such as dreams, the supernatural, literature, psychoanalysis, creative writing, realism, sexual differences, laughter, secrets, the ‘Mother unconscious’, drawing, painting, autobiography as ‘double life writing’, unidentifiable literary objects (ULOs), telephones, non-human animals, telepathy and the ‘art of cutting’. Particular stress is given to Cixous’s work in relation to Sigmund Freud and Jacques Derrida, as well as to her importance in the context of ‘English literature’. There are close readings of Shakespeare, Emily Brontë, P. B. Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Lewis Carroll, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, for example, alongside in-depth explorations of her own writings, from Inside (1969) and ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’ (1975) up to the present. Royle’s book will be of particular interest to students and academics coming to Cixous’s work for the first time, but it will also appeal to readers interested in contemporary literature, creative writing, life writing, narrative theory, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminism, queer theory, ecology, drawing and painting.

Naomi Booth

). The most famous vampire text, Dracula (1897), coincides with the early development of psychoanalysis; its swoon-states express deep anxieties about interference and thought transference, anxieties that also dogged the development of psychoanalysis and Freud's treatment of swooning hysterics. I propose a set of correspondences between the vampiric swoon-states of Dracula , the early hypnotic treatment of hysteria, and psychoanalysis's anxious relation to telepathy and occult modes of thinking. I argue that the swoon iconises a pleasurable softening into

in Swoon
Abstract only
On sitting down to read a letter from Freud
Nicholas Royle

I wake up awash in the cries of herring gulls, not yet light, and am thinking what an extraordinary thing, in 2017, to have received a letter from Freud, fresh this morning, written in English. It’s the ever-odd of the hypnopompic, how much can be held, recalled, cradled before the great tsunami of oblivion called ‘everyday life’. I know that there were several sentences, already receding in a great silent sucking motion, passed all tensions, all tense past, but the only words that survive the experience of being hauled up out of the quicksands of sleep

in Hélène Cixous
Nicholas Royle

enchantment and enchancement, fate and (in Freud’s phrase) ‘a kind of magic’, perhaps, and above all the fairy or demon of literary fiction . 1 As Derrida comments, with respect to the fort-da movement of Beyond the Pleasure Principle : ‘ “literary fiction” … already watches over, like a fairy or demon [ comme une fée ou un demon ], the structure of the fort:da , its scene of writing or of inheritance in dissemination’. 2 It watches over everything, it watches, it wakes, to awake: fairyground analysis. They’re not interested in resting inter or transitioning, in

in Hélène Cixous
Open Access (free)
Sara Haslam

chopped up in bits’, posed The narrative push 21 a model of the self divided into three components: material, social and spiritual – and he said to Freud in 1909 that ‘the future of psychology belongs to your work’.4 Psychoanalysis emerged as simply ‘a psychology that emphasised the unconscious mind’,5 rather than its conscious counterpart. Indeed, Richard Slobodin has claimed that ‘in the pre-war years there was no great gulf between psychoanalysis and the experimental forms of neurology and psychology’, reminding us that Freud had been a neurologist.6 But the

in Fragmenting modernism
Gerry Smyth

and the Hero’) with which I commenced this book. Besides the usual points relating to Judas’s role in expediting the act of sacrifice upon which the Christian myth is based, Borges proposes that, in so far as he’s the one who takes on the burden of irredeemable suffering and unforgivable guilt throughout history, Judas, rather than Jesus, is God’s manifestation on Earth. The traitor as saviour: now, there’s a thought to conjure with. Sigmund Freud and the betraying animal What was going through Judas’s mind when he opted to hand his master over to his enemies? We

in The Judas kiss
Open Access (free)
Chantal Chawaf ’s melancholic autofiction
Kathryn Robson

position of a melancholic: ‘La blessure que je viens de subir’ (p. ; my italics) (‘The wound I have just suffered’ (p. )). In speaking as a melancholic, rather than as an analyst, she seems to suggest that melancholia demands a first-person subject position.  Rewriting the past Yet psychoanalytic theories of melancholia following from Freud repeatedly emphasise that melancholia precisely cannot be spoken in the first person. In this chapter, I focus on the figure of the female vampire in Vers la lumière in order to explore what it means to ‘write melancholia’ in the

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
Charles Olson, Susan Howe, Redell Olsen
Will Montgomery

_Herd_Printer.indd 166 21/11/2014 12:39 Charles Olson, Susan Howe, Redell Olsen 167 Call Me Ishmael makes explicit use of psychoanalysis as a critical tool. One means of explicating the repressed savagery in Melville lies, for Olson, in an adaptation of Freud’s theory of the primal horde, as expressed in Moses and Monotheism, in which the founding moment of the institution of society is the murder of the father/leader by his sons. (Olson wrote Call Me Ishmael before he came under the sway of Jung.)26 Moby-Dick is for Olson a book of the ‘old dispensation’, predating the feminising

in Contemporary Olson