Unspeakable Secrets and the Psychoanalysis of Culture

Unspeakable Secrets and the Psychoanalysis of Culture

by Esther Rashkin

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Unspeakable Secrets and the Psychoanalysis of Culture by Esther Rashkin

Esther Rashkin argues that psychoanalysis galvanizes, as no other discipline can, an understanding of texts in their social, historical, and political contexts. Demonstrating that close reading can be a radical political practice, she exposes heretofore unseen ideologies concealed in works of film and literature, from Last Tango in Paris to The Picture of Dorian Gray, from Barthes's Mythologies and Balzac's Sarrasine to Babette's Feast. Psychoanalytic concepts such as identification with the aggressor, the crypt, cryptonymy, illness of mourning, and the phantom allow Rashkin to reveal how shameful and unspeakable secrets propel the narratives she examines. In the process, she convincingly makes the case for a new practice of psychoanalytic cultural studies, a practice that fully engages with the politicized discourses-anti-Semitism, racism, colonialism, censorship-that mark a text's location in history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780791477977
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 09/18/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Esther Rashkin is Professor of French and Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Utah and a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice. She is the author of Family Secrets and the Psychoanalysis of Narrative.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction Vexed Encounters: Psychoanalysis, Cultural Studies, and the Politics of Close Reading 1

Chapter 1 Devouring Loss: A Recipe for Mourning in "Babette's Feast" 25

Chapter 2 Tortured History: Crypts, Colonialism, and Collaboration in Last Tango in Paris 47

Chapter 3 Haunted Children, Cultural Catastrophe, and Phantom Transmissions in the "Dirty War" and the Holocaust 91

Chapter 4 Religious Transvestism and the Stigma of Jewish Identity 113

Chapter 5 Anticipating the Final Solution: Symbolism and the Occulted Jew in Villiers de l'Isle-Adam's Axëet;l 137

Chapter 6 Imperial Legacies and the Art of Abuse in The Picture of Dorian Gray The Picture of Dorian Gray 157

Conclusion The Ghost of Cultural Studies 201

Notes 207

Index 253

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