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Psychoanalysis, Literature, and Film: Culture and Psychoanalysis

ENGL 292.402
also offered as: CINE 202
TR 9:00-10:30

ENGL 292.402 will count toward the new Minor in Psychoanalytic Studies




This class will introduce students to the links between psychoanalysis, literature and film. We will take Sigmund Freud’s works on the arts and literature as a point of departure, studying Freud’s integration of literature as a tool in the training of psychoanalysts. Literature and film offer crucial examples with which one can test, verify or question the points of insertion of psychoanalytical concepts such as hysteria, transference, paranoia and the Oedipus complex. Using several novels and films across different genres, we will also consider deferred action, fantasy, sublimation, the uncanny, trauma, and perversion. We will see that, despite recent controversies, psychoanalytic approaches to literature and film provide a dynamic method of interpretation.




Requirements: one oral presentation (15 minutes, with a handout), 12 film journals (2-3 pages each), and one research paper (12 pages).




1/14  Survey of  Introduction to Literature and Psychoanalysis


 1/19 Freud’s Oedipal Hypothesis: the case of Hamlet


 1/21 Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh, 1996) and other versions of Hamlet.


 1/26 Freud, Dora.Hysteria and Augustine (Alice Winocour, 2012).




 1/28 Hysteria and Augustine (Alice Winocour, 2012) (Film journal 1).




 2/2 A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg, 2011) (Film journal 2).


 2/4 Freud, The Ratman.


 2/9 Freud, The Wolfman (1).




 2/11 Freud, The Wolfman (2).


 2/16 Dogtooth (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2009) (Film journal 3).




 2/18  Freud, Phobia in a five year old.


 2/23 The Blue Angel (Josef von Sternberg, 1930) (Film journal 4).




 2/25 Freud, “A Child is Being Beaten” (handout)




 3/1 Venus in Fur (Roman Polanski, 2013) (Film journal 5).




 3/3 Freud, The Uncanny: “Screen Memories, The Creative Writer, Family Romances.”






Spring Break




3/15 Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958) (Film journal 6).


 3/17 Freud, The Uncanny: “Leonardo da Vinci.”




 3/22 Caravaggio (Derek Jarman, 1986) (Film journal 7).




 3/24 Freud, The Uncanny: “The Uncanny.”




 3/29 Pet Sematary (Mary Lambert, 1989) (Film journal 8).




 3/31 Freud, The Uncanny: “The Sandman” and the modern Uncanny.




 4/5 The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014) (Film journal 9).


 4/7 Freud: The Schreber case.




 4/12 Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky, 2010) (Film journal 10).




 4/14 Pynchon, Crying of Lot 49 (1).




 4/19 Thomas Pynchon, Crying of Lot 49 (2) and Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2014) (Film journal 11).




 4/21 The Life of Pi  (Ang Lee, 2012) (Film journal 12) and Yann Martel’s novel.




 4/26 The debate about trauma: Freud, Caruth, Leys and Trezise, and conclusion.




Final paper due.








Sigmund Freud, The Schreber Case andThe Uncanny (Penguin, 2002 and 2003).


The Dora Case (Norton).


The Wolfman and other cases (Penguin).


Yann Martel, Life of Pi (Mariner, 2003).


Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 (Harper, 1999).


Jean-Michel Rabaté, Introduction to Literature and Psychoanalysis (Cambridge U. P., 2014)

fulfills requirements
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major