Towards Reading Freud: Self-Creation in Milton, Wordsworth, Emerson, and Sigmund Freud / Edition 1

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Overview

When most critics were using Freudian theories to study literature, Mark Edmundson read Freud’s writings as literature alongside the works of poets grappling with the heady issues of desire, narcissism, and grief. Towards Reading Freud weighs the psychoanalyst’s therapeutic directives against his more visionary impulses in a magisterial comparative study of such writers as Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Emerson, and Keats. Cross-fertilizing psychological doctrine with the literary canon, this richly informed volume forges a new understanding of Freud’s writings on the self.
 
“Marvelous. . . . Edmundson’s book offers an extraordinary challenge both to practicing analysts and to a scholarly community which all too uncomplainingly inhabits and reinforces the Freudian paradigm of interpretation. Edmundson reinvents an adventurous and dissident Freud as an antidote to . . . weary psychoanalytic commonplaces.”—Malcolm Bowie, Raritan
 
“This book takes a distinguished place in the ongoing effort to recontextualize Freud by stressing the literary, rather than the scientific roots and character of his theory.”—Virginia Quarterly Review

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Editorial Reviews

Raritan - Malcolm Bowie

“Marvelous. . . . Edmundson’s book offers an extraordinary challenge both to practicing analysts and to a scholarly community which all too uncomplainingly inhabits and reinforces the Freudian paradigm of interpretation. Edmundson reinvents an adventurous and dissident Freud as an antidote to . . . weary psychoanalytic commonplaces.”

Comparative Literary Studies - John Neubauer

"To deflate exaggerated praise on dustcovers is a critic's pleasure. This time, however, I join the praise."
MLR - David Hillman

"Practising analysts would do well to heed this book's warning against becoming the Super-egoic subject who is not only supposed to know but comes to believe that he does know; literary critics can find here a brilliant model of how to read literary texts side by side with psychoanalytic theory. . . Edmundson's book shows how literature can, and psychoanalysis should, help rein in one another's desire to know."
Booknews
Edmondson (English, U. of Virginia) reverses the usual practice of using Freud to analyze literary texts. Instead, he reads Freud by analogy with major imaginative writers for whom the figuring and refiguring of the self is a central activity. His readings expose a dialectic between the therapeutic Freud and Freud the author and challenge the normative role of psychoanalysis both in society and in literary criticism. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226184616
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 1,030,374
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Edmundson is the Daniels Family Distinguished Teaching Professor of Romantic Poetry and Literary Theory at the University of Virginia. He is the author of numerous books, including The Death of Freud and Why Read?.
 
 
 

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Table of Contents

Preface 
Introduction
Reading Freud
 
Chapter One
Freud's First Self-Genesis: "The Interpretation of Dreams," 1900
 
Chapter Two
New Thresholds: "On Narcissism, An Introduction," 1914 
 
Chapter Three
Therapeutic Exchanges: Papers on Psychoanalytic Technique, 1911-1915
 
Chapter Four
The Work of Melancholia: "Mourning and Melancholia," 1917
 
Conclusion
Freud in the Future

Index

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