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Freud and After

ENGL 571.640
instructor(s):
W 6-8:40

 

It has been more than a century since Freud claimed that he had discovered the unconscious in his own dreams and the discourse of hysterics. We now can turn back and see why the last century has been called a "Freudian" century while we cannot be blind to the numerous controversies and "culture wars" that have followed. It seems that if we cannot deny a certain "obsolescence" of psychoanalysis as a "science", we also witness very creative offshoots, including original reformulations and advances made by theoreticians like Bion and Lacan. This graduate seminar aims at a systematic reading of Freud's works so as to examine his legacy, the practice of the "talking cure" in the wake of questions posed by Lacan when he criticized the institutions of psychoanalysis under the battle cry of a "return" to Freud's texts. I would like to address the issue of the channels through which Freudian ideas have permeated our culture. While Freud insisted on the international aspect of the movement he had founded, his successors have variously stressed the importance of the languages and cultures in which they have worked. Are psychoanalytic theories that claim to be universal really culture- and language-bound? In order to be able to answer these questions, we will first read Freud's major works, from his clinical essays -- Dora: An analysis of a case of Hysteria, The Wolf Man, The Rat Man, The Psychotic Doctor Schreber, The Sexual Enlightenment of Children -- to meta-psychological texts such as The Interpretation of Dreams, Leonardo da Vinci, Jokes, Civilization and Its Discontents, Moses and Monotheism. After which we will approach Lacan in the new and excellent translation of Ecrits: A Selection by Bruce Fink (Norton, 2002). The clinical dimension of psychoanalysis will be brought to us by presentations given by professional practitioners.