Freud's Theory and Its Use in Literary and Cultural Studies: An Introduction
Rarely has a single figure had as much influence on Western thought as Sigmund Freud. His ideas permeate our culture to such a degree that an understanding of them is indispensable. Yet many otherwise well-informed students in the humanities labor under misconceptions or lack of knowledge about Freudian theory. There are countless introductions to Freudian psychoanalysis but, surprisingly, none that combine a genuinely accessible account of Freud's ideas with an introduction to their use in literary and cultural studies, as this book does. It is written specifically for use by advanced undergraduate and graduate students in courses dealing with literary and cultural criticism, yet will also be of interest to the general reader. The book consists of two parts. Part one explains Freud's key ideas, focusing on the role his theories of repression, conscious and unconscious mental processes, sexuality, dreams, free associations, "Freudian slips," resistance, and transference play in psychoanalysis, and on the relationship between ego, superego, and id. Here de Berg refutes many popular misconceptions, using examples throughout. The assumption underlying this account is that Freud offers not simply a model of the mind, but an analysis of the relation between the individual and society. Part two discusses the implications of Freudian psychoanalysis for the study of literature and culture. Among the topics analyzed are Hamlet, Heinrich Heine's Lore-Ley, Freud's Totem and Taboo and its influence on literature, the German student movement of the late 1960s, and the case of the Belgian pedophile Marc Dutroux and the public reactions to it. Existing books focus either on Freudian psychoanalysis in general or on psychoanalytic literary or cultural criticism; those in the latter category tend to be abstract and theoretical in nature. None of them are suitable for readers who are interested in psychoanalysis as a tool for literary and cultural criticism but have no firm knowledge of Freud's ideas. Freu
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