Department of English, Jadavpur University

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Literature and Psychoanalysis

Literature and Psychoanalysis (Eng/PG/2.2.69)

Course coordinator: Santanu Biswas

Aims of the course

  1. To introduce candidates to a fairly large set of psychoanalytic terms and concepts from the works of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan so as to equip them to read psychoanalytic literature on their own.
  2. To study some of Freudʼs and especially Lacanʼslandmark readings of works of literature.
  3. To explore the ways in which literature and psychoanalysis have historically overlapped, and the 
ways in which the two disciplines may be read together today.

Some of the terms and concepts

FREUDIAN: Affirmation(Bejahung), primal foreclosure(Urverwerfung), negation(Verneinung), primal repression(Urverdrängung), foreclosureand repression; unconscious-formations (dream, wit, error, symptom); Oedipus and castration complexes of boys and girls; wish (Wunsch) and dream-work; repetition compulsion and death instinct.

LACANIAN: Real-Symbolic-Imaginary, logical time, the Thing(das Ding), Name(s)-of-the-Father, the barred subject,the barred Other, language, signifier, phallus, desire, identification, fantasy, the clinical structures (psychosis, neurosis, perversion), symptom, unconscious, repetition, transference,drives,objet petit a, letter, semblance, littoral, erasure,jouissance, logic of sexuation, sinthome andlalangue.

Background texts

Daniel Paul SchreberʼsMemoirs of my Nervous Illness.

Sigmund FreudʼsThe Interpretation of Dreams, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious, essays on sexuality, the case studies, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Civilisation and its Discontents,Totem and Taboo, Analysis Terminable and Interminableand a few other works.

Jacques Lacan’s The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Books I, II, III, VI, VII, VIII, XVIII & XXIII, Écrits (complete edition), My Teaching, Autres écritsand Lacan’s lectures in Italy, USA & Japan.

Primary texts

FreudʼsʻDream of IrmaʼsInjectionʼ and the ʻDream of the ButcherʼsWifeʼ from The Interpretation of Dreams, selected essays on sexuality, selections from The Psychopathology of Everyday Life and Beyond the Pleasure Principle, and remarks on Hamlet in different works.

Lacanʼs seminar(s) &/or essay(s) on: ʻLogical Time and the Assertion of Anticipated Certainty’, ʻThe Dream of IrmaʼsInjection’, PoeʼsʻThe Purloined Letterʼ, Hamlet, Antigone, ClaudelʼsCoûfontainetrilogy (The Hostage, Crusts, The Humiliation of the Father), ʻLituraterreʼ& Joyce.

Study material on Lacan shall be provided by the Co-ordinator.

Mode of evaluation

Two class tests and end-semester examination.

Santanu Biswas(Co-ordinator)

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