of the ‘creative genius’ in
psychiatry and psychoanalysis
In Victorian society, admiration for the ‘creative genius’ abounded. It was
based on stereotypical notions of the Romantic artist, who, ‘by the neat
and necessarily contradictory logic of aesthetic elevation and social exclusion, [was] both a great genius and greatly misunderstood’.1 In Germany
the propensity to idealise the artist as a creative genius was further
propelled by intellectuals’ and writers’ contribution to imagining the
German nation throughout the
James Baldwin and Melanie Klein in the Context
of Black Lives Matter
David W McIvor
Recent killings of unarmed black citizens are a fresh reminder of the troubled state of
racial integration in the United States. At the same time, the unfolding Black Lives
Matter protest movements and the responses by federal agencies each testify to a not
insignificant capacity for addressing social pathologies surrounding the color line. In
order to respond to this ambivalent situation, this article suggests a pairing between the
work of James Baldwin and that of the psychoanalyst Melanie Klein. I will argue that we
cannot fully appreciate the depths of what Baldwin called the “savage paradox” of race
without the insights provided by Klein and object relations psychoanalysis. Conversely,
Baldwin helps us to sound out the political significance of object relations approaches,
including the work of Klein and those influenced by her such as Hanna Segal and Wilfred
Bion. In conversation with the work of Baldwin, object relations theory can help to
identify particular social settings and institutions that might allow concrete efforts
toward racial justice to take root.
This essay proposes that we turn to James Baldwin’s work to assess the cost of, and think alternatives to, the cultures of traumatization whose proliferation one witnesses in contemporary U.S. academia. Beginning with some recent examples, the essay briefly places these cultures into a genealogy of onto-ethics whose contemporary forms arose with the reconfiguration of diasporic histories in the idioms of psychoanalysis and deconstructive philosophy in 1990s trauma theory. Baldwin speaks to the contemporary moment as he considers the outcome of trauma’s perpetuation in an autobiographical scene from “Notes of a Native Son.” In this scene—which restages Bigger Thomas’s murderous compulsion in Native Son—he warns us against embracing one’s traumatization as a mode of negotiating the world. In foregoing what Sarah Schulman has recently called the “duty of repair,” such traumatized engagement prevents all search for the kind of “commonness” whose early articulation can be found in Aristotle’s query after “the common good” (to koinon agathon). With Baldwin, the present essay suggests the urgency of returning to the question of “the common good”: while mindful of past critiques, which have observed in this concept’s deployment a sleight-of-hand by which hegemonic positions universalize their interests, we should work to actualize the unfinished potential of Aristotle’s idea. Baldwin’s work on diasporic modernity provides an indispensable archive for this effort.
This book looks at sovereignty as a particular form of power and politics. It shows that the fate of bodies in the transition from life to death can provide a key to understanding fundamental ways in which sovereignty is claimed and performed. The contributions analyse (post-)conflict as well as non-conflict contexts, which too often are studied in isolation from one another. Focusing on contemporary issues rather than the equally important historical dimensions, they all grapple with the questions of who governs the dead bodies, how, why and with what effects. The book analyses how dead bodies are placed and dealt with in spaces between competing, overlapping and nested sovereign orders, under normal as well as exceptional conditions. It looks at contributions that draw on psychoanalysis, critical theory, the structuralist-functionalist anthropology of burial rituals and recent ideas of agency and materiality. The book first explains the efforts of states to contain and separate out dead bodies in particular sites. It explores the ways in which such efforts of containment are negotiated and contested in struggles between different entities that claim the dead bodies. The book then shows how entities that claim sovereignty produce effects of sovereignty by challenging and transgressing the laws regarding the legitimate use of violence and how dead bodies should be treated with dignity.
This book demonstrates that incest was representative of a range of interests crucial to writers of the Gothic, often women or homosexual men who adopted a critical stance in relation to the heteronormative patriarchal world. In repositioning the Gothic, representations of incest are revealed as synonymous with the Gothic as a whole. The book argues that extending the traditional endpoint of the Gothic makes it possible to understand the full range of familial, legal, marital, sexual and class implications associated with the genre's deployment of incest. Gothic authors deploy the generic convention of incest to reveal as inadequate heteronormative ideologies of sexuality and desire in the patriarchal social structure that render its laws and requirements arbitrary. The book examines the various familial ties and incestuous relationships in the Gothic to show how they depict and disrupt contemporary definitions of gender, family and desire. Many of the methodologies adopted in Gothic scholarship and analyses of incest reveal ongoing continuities between their assumptions and those of the very ideologies Gothic authors strove to disrupt through their use of the incest trope. Methodologies such as Freudian psychoanalysis, as Botting argues, can be positioned as a product of Gothic monster-making, showing the effect of Gothic conventions on psychoanalytic theories that are still in wide use today.
This volume tells the story of the case study genre at a time when it became the genre par excellence for discussing human sexuality across the humanities and the life sciences. A History of the Case Study takes the reader on a transcontinental journey from the imperial world of fin-de-siècle Central Europe and the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the interwar metropolises of Weimar Germany, and to the United States of America in the post-war years. Foregrounding the figures of case study pioneers, and always alert to the radical implications of their engagement with the genre, the six chapters scrutinise the case writing practices of Sigmund Freud and his predecessor sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing; writers such as Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Oskar Panizza and Alfred Döblin; Weimar intellectuals such as Erich Wulffen, and New York psychoanalyst Viola Bernard. There result important new insights into the continuing legacy of such writers, and into the agency increasingly claimed by the readerships that emerged with the development of modernity—from readers who self-identified as masochists, to conmen and female criminals. Where previous accounts of the case study have tended to consider the history of the genre from a single disciplinary perspective, this book is structured by the interdisciplinary approach most applicable to the ambivalent context of modernity. It focuses on key moments in the genre’s past, occasions when and where the conventions of the case study were contested as part of a more profound enquiry into the nature of the human subject.
from discussion in the Introduction, that consciousness alone
manifests multiple and distinct strands. When ‘the fathomless workings of the mind’ are introduced, the image becomes more complex
Psychology, psychoanalysis, literature
Psychology was the new science in this period. (It needed to be; Roy
Porter points out that ‘by 1900, it was fashionable to be neurasthenic’,
and that ‘eminent Victorians positively revelled in hypochondria . . .
and hysteria’.3) Even William James, who described consciousness as ‘a
stream’ that ‘does not appear to itself to be
York: Norton, 2007), pp. 696, 693, 697 respectively. For Lacan, of
course, the whole register of the ‘imaginary realm’ is
characterized by the visual, even if ultimately it is structured by
the symbolic realm. The imaginary is the seen yet unseen.
Dylan Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of
Lacanian Psychoanalysis (London: Routledge, 1996), p.
Lacan, Écrits , p. 696, emphasis
Lacan, Écrits , p
the ability to live with it in its utter
absence of reason [Grundlosigkeit]. Thus the neurotic, i.e. Everyman,
may declare with great seriousness and in all awe that there is
merely a minimal difference between God in heaven and a pain in
the stomach. Since both emanate from one source and serve one
purpose: to transform anxiety into fear.1
August 1936 was a particularly anxious time for Beckett. He had
been living in Dublin for about eight months, since returning from
London just before Christmas 1935, having broken off his two-year
course of psychoanalysis with
inside the glands, the metabolism’.27
After Vienna and Zurich, Berlin was rapidly becoming the third major
centre for psychoanalysis.28 Working in Berlin’s large clinics brought
Döblin into direct contact with many of the city’s sexologists and
psychoanalysts, who, under Karl Abraham, were to form the Berlin
∙ 162 ∙
Alfred Döblin’s literary cases about women and crime
Psychoanalytic Institute in 1923.29 Where Döblin writes that Sigmund
Freud’s theories were no revelation to him – ‘Freud was not a revelation
to me personally’ – this indifference must be taken with a