4 Freud’s medicine: from the ‘cocaine papers’ to ‘Irma’s Injection’ Mixing psychoanalysis and psychopharmacology In an essay titled ‘What Good Are Psychoanalysts at a Time of Distress Oblivious to Itself?’ the French psychoanalyst and cultural theorist Julia Kristeva provides a succinct and striking image of the modern city and the place of drugs within it: I imagine a huge city with houses of glass and steel, reaching the sky, reﬂecting the sky, itself and you. People cultivate their image, hurried and made up in the extreme, covered in gold, pearls and pure
Dora This chapter begins with three of Freud’s ‘case-histories’: Dora, diagnosed as hysterical; Schreber, a paranoid schizophrenic, and the Wolf Man (a case of infantile neurosis), in order to approach Lacan on paranoia and psychosis. The ‘Dora’ case turned out negatively. For the other two, Lacan has been one of the most significant commentators
This chapter strikes out on a pathway of charting how Freud considered memory, as one of the processes working through the subject, and I will do so through a specific ‘case-history’. Although Freud thought psychoanalysis was in the pursuit of truth, the speculative nature of his writing, and the different, irreconcilable models of thought, set side by side alongside each
’Criminals from a sense of guilt’ Macbeth Is guilt – like the ‘Rat Man’s’ – the primary theme of literature? In ‘Some Characters Met With in Psychoanalytic Work’ (1916), Freud discusses some ‘surprising traits of character’ ( SE 14.311) which he has detected in his patients: forms of resistance to treatment, ways in
Smith explores how Stoker‘s novel raises some complex questions about love through its use of a male love-struck narrator, who appears to be caught in a Female Gothic plot which casts him as its hero. In the novel ‘love’ becomes increasingly sinister as it turns into a destabilising and dangerously irrational emotion that ultimately aligns love with feelings of justified horror. Jewel (1903, revised 1912) thus develops a male reading of a Female Gothic plot in which the idea of female empowerment becomes defined as horrific. However, this idea of a pathologised love, Smith argues, is not unique to Stoker and can be linked to Freud‘s account of love, which reveals how issues relating to male authority appear within psychoanalytical debates about emotion at the time.
Not only did Freud know literature intimately, and quote liberally from literatures of several languages, he has also inspired twentieth-century writers, as well as artists and philosophers, and created several schools of criticism, in literary and cultural studies. This chapter contains examples of attempts at criticism inspired by Freud. The first uses Freud to consider a poem by
This essay investigates how H G Wells’s The Island of Doctor Moreau employs the gothic trope of the uncanny. Despite Wells’s use of ‘uncanny’ twice to describe humanized animals, prior critics haven’t explored what the uncanny adds to our understanding of the novel, perhaps because Freud’s famous essay ‘The ‘Uncanny’ was written in 1913, following The Island of Doctor Moreau by more than two decades. We argue, however, that both men were working from notions of the uncanny circulating in fin de siècle Europe and describing a larger colonial dynamic, so that even though Wells’s work preceded Freud’s, we can use Freud’s explanation of the uncanny to better understand what Wells was doing and why the animals in The Island of Doctor Moreau are so unsettling to readers in our time and in his. That is, the uncanny helps to explain how the novel works as a gothic. Moreover, by examining how Freud’s theories help us to understand Wells, we also see elements of Freud’s essay that we wouldn’t otherwise. We will argue that because Freud and Wells were describing the world around them, overlap is logical, even predictable, and certainly useful to understanding both projects.
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.
Trauma realities defy easy access to comprehension and thus require alternative discourses to understand them. This article looks at Pat Barkers employment of the Gothic tropes in the examination and explication of war trauma in her Regeneration trilogy. More pertinently, it scrutinizes the complex relation between Gothicized landscapes and trauma by analyzing three specific sites – Craiglockhart War Hospital, trenches and England as ‘Blighty’ – in the Regeneration trilogy. This article shows traumas destabilizing impact by examining how landscapes become imprinted with trauma. The physical disempowerment of landscapes is further complemented by a psychological disempowerment by examining traumatized patient-soldiers mindscapes and dreamscapes. It further examines how Barker employs tropes of haunting, dreams and nightmares, staple Gothic emotions of fear, terror and horror, Freuds Unheimlich to dispossess the owners control and locates trauma realities lurking therein. Thus Barkers Regeneration narrative bears witness to the phantom realities of war trauma by privileging the uncanny personal histories of traumatized soldiers.