This paper looks at structure and subject, and tackles what do we know of Oedipus’ desire. It also advances the proposition that the idea of ‘structure and subject’ can be said to represent a short history of psychonalytical thinking in itself.
Simon Baron Cohen formulated mindblindness as a theory to explain the deficits existing in the autistic brain. These deficit metaphors, while deeply cognitivist, belie significant figurative and metaphorical techniques of persuasion of both lay and scientific audiences. Given the cultural currency of the theory, other scholars from humanities backgrounds applied it to literature studies. Lisa Zunshine is the most poignant case of a cognitive literary theorist applying mindblindness theory to the reading of narrative. Despite the seductive allure of applying cognitive neuroscience to literary texts, a rhetorical and ideological analysis indicates that the reliance upon deficit metaphors raises some serious concerns about autistic identity. because it raises doubts about autistic understanding of narrative. Psychologists concerned with these cognitive theories argue that mindblindness erodes the idea of communicative negotiation implicit in all human dialogue. What is truly fascinating is that because of the mindblindness theory, we now have more instances of interdisciplinary discussion about the phenomenon of autism than we had previously, an unanticipated benefit based on a dubious theory.
In the Middle Ages it was only natural to believe in a celestial, absolute, eternal, non-material world beyond our everyday experiences. Yet for many medievals, theologians and philosophers alike, the existence of such a transcendent reality posed a problem, for how can human beings, who after all belong to the world down here, ever get in touch with that splendid reality high above? While conceding that it is possible to have some sort of knowledge of the divine realm, the thirteenth-century theologian Henry of Ghent (1217(?)-1293) warns us that rational thinking is of limited use here. Instead he suggests another, more direct approach. Like his great predecessor Plato, Henry of Ghent seems to be aware of the, albeit limited, value of artistic inspiration as a means to connect with eternity. As I hope to show, some of his accounts on this elusive subject bring to mind the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and are surprisingly similar to the views of the psychologist Carl Gustav Jung.
William Faulkner’s classic Southern Gothic novel As I Lay Dying is more than just an experiment in modernist techniques: it is a novel that expressly examines its characters’ minds, a work containing great psychological depth. This paper will examine the psychological reactions of five members of the Bundren family to the death of Addie, their mother or wife. This examination will utilize Freudian psychoanalytic techniques to address the characters’ psychological complexities: developmental stages, defense mechanisms and their mourning processes. Proceeding from that psychoanalysis, this article will argue that Faulkner is using the minds of the characters to impart a message, a comment on the human experience. Faulkner is saying that humans’ minds are complex, and that humans, when faced with tribulations, are self-centered.
Within this essay, we argue that The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym by Edgar Allan Poe suggests the nascent United States was gripped by a great anxiety and that the novel functions as a gothic alternative to the traditional American bildungsroman penned by Cooper or Melville. Looking at Pym psychologically and thematically, we tease out a number of apparently unrelated themes within the novel, including masculine sexuality, feminine reproduction, racial and sexual hybridity, and human appetites for violence to show how the story mirrors national and cultural fears at the same time that it addresses those issues humorously and functions as the unconscious does. Taking our cues from Freud, we contend that in a non-linear fashion, Pym conveys anxieties about the future of the nation, particularly fears of domination, mass violence, and destruction.
This essay proposes that Shakespeare’s Cleopatra is a male fantasy of a love object for Antony. She is an extravagantly feminine construction of a character who effects a transformation in Antony that enables him to finally perceive himself as a heroic lover as well as a heroic warrior. A fluidity of gender roles in the passionate relationship between Cleopatra and Antony elevates their mutual love, making it both transformative and transcendent. An examination of key passages in the play will demonstrate that Cleopatra’s empathic mirroring of Antony’s love is facilitated by her comfort with the “phallic” aggressive components in her own sexuality. The interpenetration of this mirroring helps Antony to expand the concept of his own masculinity in such a way as to resolve within himself the dichotomy of Rome/male/warrior versus Egypt/female/lover that underlies the dynamic of conflict in this play.
This UK-centric paper explores Freud’s theories of groups and the influence that they have had on contemporary horror fiction, using the British riots of the summer of 2011 as working examples. Initially drawing on Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, I explore the presentation of characters who, when faced with an external threat, form groups whose members abandon their individual ideals in favour of the group ego, as a means of survival. In the perusal of these group formations and dissolutions, this paper also draws on Beyond the Pleasure Principle and on Civilization and Its Discontents. The paper argues, furthermore, that while the group’s formation seems at first to have been the decision of its individual members, in fact this formation is the work of the external threat, and paradoxically it is the group that creates the threat. The paper also looks at leadership formation and destruction.
The aim of this article is to analyse the spontaneous drawings of houses produced by 45 street children in Haiti after the earthquake of 12 January 2010. The drawings were made during workshops held in children’s homes and child reception centres. Given that over half of the random sample free drawings (n= 270), depicted houses, questions were raised in our minds about the expressive and projective value of drawings of houses for children deprived of such homes. We also sought to explore the symbolic and creative value of the act of drawing itself. Based on the theories of Winnicott (1975, 1984) and Anzieu (1984), analysis of the 161 drawings produced revealed that these street children seek a sense of inclusivity and healing for the envelopes weakened by their experience on the streets, alongside a desire for familial bonds and support, and a narcissistic fragility. However, the analysis also revealed evidence of a set of potentially creative resources – a targeted and contextualised capacity for expression; a quest for socialisation and interpersonal skills; an ability to ‘compensate’ for failure through attempts to construct. Drawing as a creative activity and play area, thus appears to represent a model of artistic activity with the potential to be a resilience factor.