ELCS4021 - An Introduction to Psychoanalysis
Value: 0.5 course units
Tutor: Professor Mairéad Hanrahan
Assessment: 3 hour desk examination (Term 3)
Over the century of its existence, psychoanalysis has had an immensely important influence on artistic production – verbal and visual – and on its interpretation. While psychoanalysis originated as a clinical practice, its status in scientific circles remains controversial still today, although the significance of its contribution to the humanities is beyond question. This module will offer an introduction to some of the key texts which have proven most relevant to the study of literature. It will privilege the main insights which have helped to illuminate how literature works: in particular, the structure of desire, the discovery of the unconscious and the role played by language. It will consider texts by Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan, the two analysts whose ideas have found the greatest resonance in literary production and discussion. This is not a module about the application of psychoanalysis to literature; space will not permit us to explore in detail specific literary texts from a perspective informed by psychoanalytical thinking. However, in addition to developing a command of the theory, students will be encouraged to consider how the works they are studying function themselves as texts.
- Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, any edition (available online) but a copy will be needed in class)
- Sigmund Freud, Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (any edition)
- Sigmund Freud, ‘The Uncanny’ (downloadable on Moodle)
- Sigmund Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle (any edition)
- Jacques Lacan, ‘The Instance of the Letter in the Unconscious, or Reason since Freud’, in Ecrits: A Selection, translated by Bruce Fink (Norton, 2002) ((downloadable on Moodle)
- Jacques Lacan, Seminar on ‘The Purloined Letter’, translated by Jeffrey Mehlman, "French Freud" in Yale French Studies 48, 1972, 39-72 (downloadable on Moodle)
Initial Secondary Bibliography:
- Anthony Storr, Freud: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2001)
- Richard Wollheim, Freud (Fontana/Collins, 1971)
- Sean Homer, Jacques Lacan (Routledge, 2005)
- Bruce Fink, The Lacanian Subject: Between Language and Jouissance (Princeton University Press, 1995).