Gothic Radicalism: Literature, Philosophy and Psychoanalysis in the Nineteenth Century

Gothic Radicalism: Literature, Philosophy and Psychoanalysis in the Nineteenth Century

by A. Smith
     
 

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Applying ideas drawn from contemporary critical theory, this book historicizes psychoanalysis through a new and significant theorization of the Gothic. The central premise is that the nineteenth-century Gothic produced a radical critique of accounts of sublimity and Freudian psychoanalysis. This book makes a major contribution to an understanding of both the

Overview

Applying ideas drawn from contemporary critical theory, this book historicizes psychoanalysis through a new and significant theorization of the Gothic. The central premise is that the nineteenth-century Gothic produced a radical critique of accounts of sublimity and Freudian psychoanalysis. This book makes a major contribution to an understanding of both the nineteenth century and the Gothic discourse which challenged the dominant ideas of that period. Writers explored include Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Bram Stoker.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
In light of contemporary critical theory, Smith (English, U. of Glamorgan, Wales) reconsiders the relationship between the 19th- century Gothic, theories of the sublime, and Freudian psychoanalysis. He identifies a specific Gothic history that rewrites the dominant intellectual history of the time. Among the writers he examines are Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Bram Stoker. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Smiths work is interesting because it is neither historical or biographical but rather a theoretical synthesis which demands that reader accept rather unconditionally the grounding assumptions of his analysis A thing I found difficult to do without addressing all of his sources in a very exacting manner which is really an impossible task for any reviewer.

He blends three major historical currents of the west together the Enlightenment, The Romantic, and the Modern with the historical the literary and the psychoanalytic and using contemporary literary theory to make his argument, which he concisely states in the preface page viii. . "The Subject of this study is the Gothic rewriting of the tradition of idealistic though one which begins with Burke and ends with Freud. A range of critical methodologies is used to draw out this Gothic History, which employs a range of writings from Marry Shelly to Bram Stoker."

I thought it useful to the inform the potential reader of the progression in Smith's argument by including is table of contents as follows which maps the structure of his argument

Acknowledgments Introduction—- The Gothic and the Sublime Frankenstein: Sublimity Reconsidered, Foucault and Kristeva History and the Sublime Utterance: Gothic Voyages, Going Public with the Private The Urban Sublime: Kant and Poe Textuality and Sublimity in Dracula Freud's Uncanny Sublime Afterword Notes Index. From my standpoint as a scholar I wish a separate bibliography were included with the text.

As an informed but resistant reader I found the work challenging. Because one must ask the following question. Is Smith Using contemporary literary theory in an appropriate, or an opportunistic manner. A colleague and myself spent an excruciating intense 45 minutes on Chapter II The Gothic and the Sublime Frankenstein: Sublimity pages 38- 39 trying establishing exactly what he was driving at as he developed a relationship Mary Shelly's characterization of the Sublime and Focault's conception of miss recognition. Leading to a very uncomfortable state of affairs for both of us.

I have since decided that this is not an effective approach to a critical text. Because in order to make any reading whatsoever it is necessary to grant the author some sort of Rhetorical license For me perhaps the greatest problem with the book was that perhaps Smith gave too little to the reader, and at the same time asked too much.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312230425
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Publication date:
09/29/2000
Edition description:
2000
Pages:
188
Product dimensions:
5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.02(d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Smith is Lecturer in English Studies at the University of Glamorgarr.

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