English 4400N Literature and Psychoanalysis (2009)

ENGLISH 4400N  *  Psychoanalysis and Literature  *  TH 18:00 – 20:50  *  Dr. Kiki Benzon  *  kiki.benzon@uleth.ca  *  office hours W 14:00 – 15:00

In this course, we will consider how psychoanalytic theory has influenced literary work and practice since the early twentieth century. While Freud’s foundational concepts—the unconscious, neurosis, repression, transference, the Oedipus complex, and others—will be particularly pertinent to our analysis of modern texts, later psychoanalytic theories of Lacan, Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari will problematize the indeterminate identities we’ll encounter in postmodern fiction. Specific sites of critical interest in the course include: trauma and bereavement, psychic topography/architecture, autonomy and continuity of the subject, narcissism and projection, mental illness vs. neurosis, and the psychological bases of narrative.

Texts: Camus, Albert. The Stranger; Danielewski, Mark Z. House of Leaves; DeLillo, Don. The Body Artist; Gay, Peter. (ed.) The Freud Reader; H.D. Tribute to Freud; Nabokov, Vladimir. Pale Fire; Palahniuk, Chuck. Fight Club; course pack

Week 1:    Sept 4
Course description; introduction to theories and practices of psychoanalysis; literary applications.
Freud, “The Aetiology of the Neuroses” (56-60)*
Freud, “Project for Scientific psychology, “Draft K,”  “The Aetiology of Hysteria” (86-110)
Week 2:    Sept 11
Freud,  from The Interpretation of Dreams and “On Dreams” (130-172)
Freud, “The Ego and the Id” (628-658)
Jung, “The Eros Theory” CP*
Freud, “The Unconscious”

Week 3:    Sept 18
Freud, “Creative Writers and Day Dreaming” (436-443)
Trilling, “Freud and Literature” CP
Mollinger, “A Review of psychoanalytic Criticism” CP
Brooks, “Freud’s Masterplot: A Model for Narrative” CP
**We might attend the Naomi Wolf Lecture at 7pm

Week 4:    Sept 25
Freud, “The Uncanny” (handout)
E.T.A. Hoffmann “The Sand-Man” (handout)
Freud, “The Theme of the Three Caskets” (515-522)
Holland, “Shakespearean Tragedy and the Three Ways of Psychoanalytic Criticism” CP

Week 5:    Oct 2
H.D., Tribute to Freud
Freud, “Observations on Transference-Love” (378-387)
Freud, “Recommendations to Physician Practicing Psycho-Analysis” (356-363)

Week 6:    Oct 9
Screening: The Trial (Welles, 1962)

Week 7:    Oct 16
Freud, “On Narcissism” (545-562)
Freud, “Repression” (568-572)
Camus, The Stranger

Week 8:    Oct 23
DeLillo, The Body Artist
Freud, “Mourning and Melancholia” (584-589)

Week 9:    Oct 30
Screening: Persona (Bergman, 1966)
Lacan, “The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I” (handout)
Hartman, “Psychoanalysis: The French Connection” CP

Week 10:    Nov 6
Palahniuk, Fight Club
Freud, from Civilization and its Discontents (722-772)

Week 11:    Nov 13
Nabokov, Pale Fire
Freud, from The History of an Infantile Neurosis (“Wolf Man”) (400 – 426)
Cohen, “My Potential Patients: Origins, Detection, and Transference in Pale Fire and Freud’s Case of the Wolf-Man
.” http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/cohen1.htm

Week 12:    Nov 20
Nabokov, Pale Fire
Foucault, “Preface.” Deleuze and Guattari. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia CP; Deleuze Gilles and Felix Guattari. “Psychoanalysis and Familialism: The Holy Family” CP

Week 13    Nov 27
Danielewski, House of Leaves

Week 14:    Dec 4
Danielewski, House of Leaves

*CP refers to the course pack; Freud texts are in Gay’s Reader, except where noted otherwise.

Evaluation: attendance/participation 15%; presentation 25% paper 35%; final exam 25%

Presentation Dates and Topics

Date      Topic
Sept 25    The Uncanny and “The Sand-Man” / Freud’s Shakespeare
Oct 2    Time and Memory in A Tribute to Freud / Transference and the Psychoanalytic Situation in A Tribute to Freud
Oct 9    Welles’s The Trial: A Dramatization of the Unconscious
Oct 16    The Stranger: Repression and Neurosis
Oct 23    The Body Artist: Mourning and Melancholia / Psychology Made Physical: The Body and the House
Oct 30    Identity and Desire in Bergman’s Persona
Nov 6    The Ego and the Id in Fight Club / (Un)Civilized Discontent in Fight Club
Nov 13     Freud’s “Wolf-Man” / Pale Fire: A Freudian Parody
Nov 20    Analyzing Kinbote / Against Oedipus
Nov 27    Schizoanalysis in House of Leaves / The Family Romance in House of Leaves
Dec 4    Unheimlich and the Navidson House