Author: Jeremy Tambling

Not only did Sigmund Freud know literature intimately, and quote liberally from literatures of several languages, he has also inspired twentieth-century writers and philosophers, and created several schools of criticism, in literary and cultural studies. Freud was not just practising psychotherapy on his patients, helping them in difficult situations, but helping them by studying the unconscious as the basis of their problems. This book deals with Freud and psychoanalysis, and begins by analysing the 'Copernican revolution' which meant that psychoanalysis decentres the conscious mind, the ego. It shows how Freud illuminates literature, as Freud needs attention for what he says about literature. The book presents one of Freud's 'case-histories', where he discussed particular examples of analysis by examining obsessional neurosis, as distinct from hysteria. It analyses Freud on memory, in relation to consciousness, repression and the unconscious. Guilt was one of his central topics of his work, and the book explores it through several critical texts, 'Criminals from a Sense of Guilt', and 'The Ego and the Id'. The book discusses Melanie Klein, a follower of Freud, and object-relations theory, while also making a reference to Julia Kristeva. One of the main strands of thought of Jacques Lacan was the categories of the Imaginary, the Symbolic, and the Real, as well as paranoia and madness, which are linked to literature here. The book finally returns to Freud on hysteria, and examines him on paranoia in Daniel Paul Schreber, and the psychosis of the 'Wolf Man'.

Jeremy Tambling

’The Purloined Letter’ How do literature and psychoanalysis relate? The first produces the second; the second interprets the first, the first interrogates the second. Psychoanalysis, as an instance of critical theory, associates with Marx and Nietzsche in analysing modernity, while Marxism and Nietzschean philosophy both question psychoanalysis

in Literature and psychoanalysis
Anna Green and Kathleen Troup

One of the most controversial areas of historiography over the last century has been the use of psychoanalysis to aid our understanding of historical personalities, groups, or trends. Reactions to this approach have been diverse, from the belief of Peter Loewenberg (German-American historian and psychoanalyst) that it is ‘the most powerful of interpretive approaches to history’, to Jacques Barzun’s assertion that, ‘events and agents lose their individuality and become illustrations of certain automatisms.’ 1 Many historians apply some psychological

in The houses of history
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Freud’s Copernican revolution
Jeremy Tambling

Freud’s biography Before discussing psychoanalysis and literature, we must ask the question: who was Freud, creator of psychoanalysis, whose name, as an adjective – ‘Freudian’ – invokes unconscious thought and motivations, and sexuality? He was born on 6 May 1856, in Pribor, then called Freiberg, in Moravia, in the now Czech Republic, then part of

in Literature and psychoanalysis
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Jeremy Tambling

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

in Literature and psychoanalysis
Jeremy Tambling

William Blake (1757–1827), the second to interpret a familiar Sherlock Holmes short story. These are different, contrasted uses, one requiring reading a lyric poem in all its intensity, the second showing how understanding popular narrative, written as entertainment, requires psychoanalysis, which, in turn makes valuable the close reading of a large-circulation text. Both discussions invoke some Freudian concepts

in Literature and psychoanalysis
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Jeremy Tambling

Seminar XI – The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. Lacan’s biography is easily available (Roudinesco, 1994 , Schneiderman, 1986 , Clément, 1983 ), but reading Lacan necessitates taking in several intellectual histories, for he intersects with names and movements associated with French structuralist and post-structuralist (i.e. deconstructive) thought beginning in the 1960s

in Literature and psychoanalysis
The mother and creativity
Jeremy Tambling

the mother in literature; and psychoanalysis, especially that deriving from Melanie Klein (1882–1960), has responded to that. Her work provides the substance of this chapter. Wordsworth writes in an almost incantatory style. He repeats ‘blest’ and ‘nursed’ and ‘mother’ from line to line, speaking of the mother’s arms, breast, and eye, while rhyming ‘sinks’ and

in Literature and psychoanalysis
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Hysteria, paranoia, psychosis
Jeremy Tambling

psychoanalysis, as here a male discourse, pronounces on women (Frosh, 1999 : 183–205). Both ‘Irma’, co-opted into Freud’s self-analysis, and made to serve his reading of himself, and ‘Dora’ represent cases of the failure of the psychoanalytic method to reach, or help, these women. Freud would have agreed: there is the famous comment which Ernst Jones quotes him as making to Marie

in Literature and psychoanalysis
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Jeremy Tambling

‘Dostoevsky and Parricide’ (1928). That speculative essay begins calling The Brothers Karamazov (1880) ‘the most magnificent novel ever written’, outstripping psychoanalysis – ‘before [which] the problem of the creative artist analysis must, alas, lay down its arms’ ( SE 21.177). The murder of the father is central to it, and Freud sees behind the novel Dostoyevsky as criminal-like, as

in Literature and psychoanalysis