PSYART

PSYART is a magazine focusing on Arts

Articles

January 2011

Are Women Really Focalized?
abstractThe aim of this paper is to find a way how a psychoanalytic-feminist abstraction and cinematographic-visual facts can interact each other. The goal is to examine the correspondence between the concept of male gaze and focalization, and to find...
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The Monstrous Brain: A Neuropsychoanalytic Aesthetics of Horror
abstractPsychoanalysis touches many aspects of the 'two cultures' which seem so hard to reconcile and some analysts oppose neuropsychoanalysis as a dangerous biologizing of the mind (Blass and Carmeli 2007). It may seem that psychoanalytic applications...
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It's Hard out Here for an Immortal: Angst and Ennui in Interview with the Vampire and the Television Series Highlander
abstractThis paper explores the ambivalence of psychological reactions to immortality. Immortal characters seem to assuage existential anxiety, by facilitating the desire for death transcendence, while simultaneously arousing concerns about the feasibility...
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Chopin's "The Awakening": A Semiotic Novel
abstractA most popular novel among feminist critics in the last forty years, Kate Chopin's "The Awakening", though obviously about the mistreatment of women by the patriarchy, has more often invited a psychoanlytic approach. Edna Pontellier's motherlessness...
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"SOMETHING IS ROTTEN..." in Hamlet's Denmark: Claudius as Perverse and Psychopathic Character
abstractThis paper presents a late-20th century interpretation of Shakespeare's Hamlet using Bruce Fink's account of the Lacanian theory of character structures, the work of Robert Hare on white-collar psychopathy, Lucie Cantin on the pervert-hysteric...
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Greek Tragedy as a Challenge to Modernism: A Depth Psychological Perspective
abstractFar from being a recent invention, depth psychological thinking already features extensively in classical Greek mythology, more specifically in the stage plays of the great Athenian tragedians of the fifth century BCE. In this century large parts...
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Black Magic and White Guilt: Voodoo in Angel Heart
abstractOn first viewing, Alan Parker's 1987 film Angel Heart may seem like just another in a long line of films that equate voodoo with Satanism, blacks with the black arts. However, the film also struggles toward an acknowledgment of white guilt, an...
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Trauma and Narration in David Cronenberg's Spider
abstractTrauma points to the Real, to that which - for instance, in the shape of an overwhelming situation capable of flooding its victim with pain and panic - fractures the integrity of reason and of the psychic shell. It quite literally wounds the...
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Situating the "Real," Discovering Desire
abstractGerhard Richter grew up during the war and Soviet occupation of East Germany. After working briefly in the East, he moved to the West in 1961 to develop his career as an artist. I examine Richter's work through the prism of Lacanian theory. Lacan...
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A Matter of Shared Knowledge
abstractThe link connecting a reader to a text is so strong that we cannot consider the one without also looking at the other. All too frequently, literary reception is studied by focusing either on the textual features or on the reader's dispositional...
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Boundaries of the Soul: Failure to Acknowledge the Separateness of Others as a Sign of Evil in Oscar Wilde's the Picture of Dorian Gray
abstractBefore the 1983 publication of M. Scott Peck's People of the Lie, the diagnosis of evil had never entered the psychiatric lexicon. To allow for this designation within the medical sphere, Dr. Peck's case histories illustrate the salient characteristics...
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Post-Traumatic Parataxis and the Search for a "Survivor by Proxy" in Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"
abstractIn light of works by Primo Levi, trauma theory (Herman), psychoanalytic criticism (Hartman, White), and criticism concerned with the poem's dialogism (Macovski, Wheeler), this article reads Coleridge's "Rime" as a post-traumatic, paratactic narrative...
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Deviant Desires: The Queerness of the Fetish in Adalbert Stifter's Kalkstein
abstractReading Adalbert Stifter's Kalkstein through the lens of psychoanalysis and markedly, yet cautiously alongside Freud's essay on "Fetishism," there is an uncanniness that resides in our recognition of the multiplicity of gestures towards queer...
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Giving Birth to Ourselves
abstractThis paper presents concepts about women's self development, closely connected to the issues of time, and also demonstrates these women's issues through certain poems of Sylvia Plath (Lady Lazarus and Tulips). It is discussing birth-giving -...
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The Rock Opera Tommy by the Who Illustrates the Psychodynamics of Conversion Hysteria
abstractThis article demonstrates how the rock opera Tommy, written primarily by Peter Townshend of The Who, illustrates the psychodynamics of conversion hysteria. Although the validity of conversion hysteria as a unitary clinical entity is rejected...
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The Non-Duality of Self-Expression
abstractThis article explores the non-dual nature of the creative act in its essentially unitive or unifying aspect, based upon the revelations which can arise from an earnest self-inquiry. This unifying creative action then is viewed as a response of...
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Some Remarks on the Nature of Trochees and Iambs and Their Relationship to Other Metres
abstractTheoreticians from Aristotle and Horace through Jespersen to Halle and Keyser noted that the iambic metre is felt to be more natural than the trochaic, even in Hungarian, where stress falls invariably on the first syllable of a word. Most explanations...
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January 2010

Finding Fantasia: Leonardo Da Vinci, Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein, and the Aesthetic Subject
abstractLeo Bersani's contribution to the fields of psychoanalysis, aesthetics, and queer theory has recently received renewed attention. Relying upon Bersani's theory of the "aesthetic subject," my study reexamines Freud's infamous "psychoanalytic novel,"...
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"Inception" and the Cinematic Depiction of Dreams
abstractThe paper uses the film INCEPTION as a taking off point for discussing the representation of dreams in cinema, and problems associated therewith. A history of dream depiction from the silent era until today is given. The development and nature...
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Jung and the Fairy Tale, or Nosce Te Ipsum
abstractThe fairy tale or folk tale is the most widespread and possibly oldest form of literature: an unpretentious, dreamy type of story, without an identifiable author, recounting miraculous events that are set in some indefinite place and time. Simple...
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Homage to Guillevic: The Poet of Atavistic Nostalgia for the Primeval
abstractThis essay provides a brief account of the phenomenological and psychoanalytic descriptions of nostalgia for the primeval and its poetics. It considers the primeval as an originary mode of the "thing-in-itself" (Das Ding an sich) of German philosophy...
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Where Do Melodies Come From?
abstractThis is the first of two articles studying unconscious creativity. In creativity, conscious and unconscious capacities are mostly intermingled, because in addition to creative inspiration the artist requires a wide range of specific talents,...
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Why Wendy Does Not Want to Be a Darling: A New Interpretation of "Peter Pan"
abstractThis paper proposes a new reading of J.M. Barrie's famous children's book Peter Pan (1911), and more specifically the Disney adaptation that is so deeply engraved in the collective consciousness of recent generations. The interpretation focuses...
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"Let the Impressions Come": H.D., Illness, and Remembrance of the Traumatic Past
abstractOne frequently finds that identity - personal, social, national - is built on the idea that histories and narratives constitute an entity of Self such a postulation drives much of the current memoir market along with the scandalous nature of...
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The Letter or Its Traces in Discourse
We already know that my discourse tells who I am as a subject. And by « subject » I mean the subject of an unconscious desire. The « Letter » would then be what designs an « object, » provided we manage to read it or, rather, to analyze it, for it cannot...
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Trauma, Reference, and Media Technology in Postmodern American Poetry: The Testimonies of Language Writing
abstractMy paper studies trauma as an epistemological disruption - an event that due to its sudden and unanticipated nature has failed to be integrated in the structures of the mind, thus remaining "unspeakable" (at best, pictorially representable)....
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Narrating Grief in Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room and John Banville's the Sea
abstractThese novels reveal how loss can both challenge narrative expression and help a person or community to live with loss. Studies of bereavement, along with contemporary iterations of psychoanalytic conceptions of mourning and melancholia, help...
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Enjoying Equus: Jouissance in Shaffer's Play
abstractThis article takes a new look at Peter Shaffer's Equus, which, as its recent remounting in London and New York would attest, remains as popular today as it was in the 1970s. Through an examination of the Lacanian objet a and its relation to subjectivity,...
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January 2009

Emotional Rescue: Shame and the Depressive Posture in George Eliot
Vulnerability to both shame and the longing for approval and love is the core of what Silvan Tomkins has called the "depressive posture," one that is found frequently among certain types of highly creative personalities. As Tomkins describes the depressive's...
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Cultural Androgyny and Gendered Authorship in Don't Look Now
This article will examine gender identification and authorship in the film adaptation of Don't Look Now. The short story and film adaptation question the nature of gender, positing a bisexuality where male and female co-exist within individuals, where...
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The Enigma of Desire: Salvador Dalí and the Conquest of the Irrational
The life-work of Salvador Dalí is a great challenge for the psychology of art from a psychoanalytic point of view. According to my theory, the inner experiences that were expressed and concealed in his works were formed by family secrets and related...
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"No People Are Cold!": On Young Children's Rejection of Metaphorization
As a classic study shows, very young children forcefully refuse to envisage even the possibility of certain conceptual metaphors. The traditional explanations of this phenomenon are inadequate. The present paper proposes two psychoanalytic explanations....
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'White/ Godiva, I Unpeel': Destructive Jouissance in Sylvia Plath's 'Ariel'
In this essay I offer a reading of Sylvia Plath's 'Ariel' in terms of how it subverts signification through the instability of the 'I' persona. Taking the notion of jouissance (as a destructive excess beyond language), I explore how 'Ariel' and other...
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'A Warning to the Curious' : The 'Nicely Managed' Mind of M. R. James
The ghost stories of M. R. James, considered by many to be the best in the English language, are currently enjoying critical attention. Yet despite their richness in imagery suggestive of modern critical concerns - sexuality, cultural/political anxieties...
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January 2008

A Post-Kleinian Model for Aesthetic Criticism
This paper presents a piece of writing by the Kleinian art critic Adrian Stokes as a model for aesthetic criticism in general. First the limits of psychoanalytic interpretation are considered, with regard to the definition of an 'art symbol' made by...
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At a Loss for Words: Writer's Block in Britten's Death in Venice
Based on Thomas Mann's story about an aging novelist's fateful obsession with an adolescent boy, Benjamin Britten's opera Death in Venice artfully dramatizes Mann's story of repressed sexuality masked as creative inhibition. Aschenbach's introductory...
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The Dramatic Presentation of Inner Turmoil: Shakespeare and John Berryman's Dream Songs
This paper examines John Berryman's Dream Songs from a psychoanalytic perspective. The paper formulates a means of discussing three factors that impinge on Henry's construction of himself: the heteroglossic nature of thought one's relationship to power...
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Franz Kafka's « the Metamorphosis » : A Case Study
After reviewing the central strategies of psychoanalytic literary criticism, this paper engages in a detailed textual analysis of the German language of Kafka's "Metamorphosis," showing how the language of the story reveals unconscious fantasies about...
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Nachträglichkeit
In this paper, I show that Derrida is indebted to psychoanalysis as the Freudian concept of Nachträglichkeit (translated into English by Jones as 'deferred action) is central to Derridean concepts, such as 'Différance'. To do so, I first define the notion...
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Like Two Skins, One Inside the Other": Dual Unity in Brokeback Mountain
By focusing on the specific language of Annie Proulx's story - with some references to the Ang Lee film - I speculate that the sources of imaginative production (writing) and popular reception (reading) lie in memories and evocations of early (infantile)...
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Poetic Conventions as Fossilized Cognitive Devices; the Case of Mediaeval and Renaissance Poetics
In mediaeval and Renaissance poetry the use of genres is conventional. The first person singular is frequently regarded as a rhetorical device rather than as evidence of personal experience. We should not, therefore, take for granted that we have explained...
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Swiss Cows and an English Poet: Empathic Nostalgia in a Sonnet of Wordsworth's
The traditional Swiss cowherds' melody called the "Ranz des Vaches" has been famous for centuries for its uncanny ability to evoke extreme nostalgia. This paper analyzes a sonnet of Wordsworth's about his encounter with the "Ranz" in Switzerland in 1820....
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That Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Boy: An Amazing Psychoanalytic Journey
Freud pioneered psychoanalysis as his method for investigating the conscious and unconscious psychic apparatus. Psychoanalysis is an avenue by which the analyst can explore the individual's compromises and conflicts in adaptation to the demands of social...
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Time, Memory, and the "Uncertain I": Transtemporal Subjectivity in Elizabeth Bowen's Short Fiction
Key to the psychological realism of Elizabeth Bowen's short fiction is her insight into human subjectivity via depictions of what I term "transtemporal subjectivity": the destabilized "I" as existing in a fluid realm comprised simultaneously of past...
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January 2007

Arabic Poet Al-Mutanabbi: A Maslovian Humanistic Approach
This paper is concerned with the Maslovian "real self" of al-Mutanabbi, a great poet of the Abbasid period (750-1258 AD). I have made an effort to discover the deeper aspects of al-Mutanabbi's personality, which constitute an important aspect of his...
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Caravaggio and the Physiology of Schizophrenia
Caravaggio has long enjoyed a reputation as an anti-social and tempestuous individual. The following argues that Caravaggio was in fact suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Following Wilhelm Reich's argument that schizophrenic symptoms and delusions...
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Holden Caulfield as Castrated Hero
TThis essay discusses Catcher in the Rye as a vehicle for Holden Caulfield's psychological session with the reader, as well as the latent signs this analysis reveals. Using Freud's own interpretations of dream objects, the reader can unveil the psychological...
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Literature and Happiness
It has become a commonplace to insist that literature has an evolutionary value in allowing us to try out solutions to life situations. Or that literature allows us to empathize with other humans. Or that literature makes us better morally. Or wiser....
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Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Creative Art-The Case of Paul Gauguin
The personal excesses of Paul Gauguin are relatively well-known. This paper argues that Gauguin was suffering from a disorder known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder and that this directly impacted his creative work, particularly in the later years....
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On the Aesthetic Structure of Sublimation: Re-Reading Marcuse V. Brown through the Birth of Tragedy
This essay will reread the debate between Herbert Marcuse and Norman O. Brown in terms of each author's conceptualization of the aesthetic structure of the psychoanalytic process of sublimation, using as a starting point Brown's association of sublimation...
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Poetry as Right-Hemispheric Language
Though the brain's left hemisphere is commonly believed to be the "seat of language," the right hemisphere processes a number of subtle linguistic functions. This paper will argue that the degree of right-hemispheric involvement in language is what differentiates...
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Resituating Freud's Hamlet
Hamlet's inner conflict, though rich in oedipal imagery, is dramatized as the product of his immediate situation rather than of childhood trauma. It revolves around the old chivalric code of blood revenge and honor-at-all costs, and is implicit in the...
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The Waters of the Mind: Rhetorical Patterns of Fluidity in Woolf, William James, Bergson and Freud
At the beginning of the 20th century, writers such as Virginia Woolf and thinkers such as Sigmund Freud, William James and Henri Bergson were trying to give a novel account of our inner and psychological life. The aim of this article is to compare Woolf's...
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"This Petty Reasoning Mind": Pauli, Jung, and Psychic Fission in the Physicists
While set in a sanatorium and figuring a psychologist who corresponds with Jung as a major character, Dürrenmatt's The Physicists has surprisingly never been methodically examined from a Jungian perspective. This paper explores the previously unrecognized...
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January 2006

Getting the 'H' out of Jo(h)nson
The essay looks at characterization in the plays of Ben Jonson as phobic projective behaviors that can best be understood using theories of narcissism and Kleinian object-relations theory. Jonson exhibited what are today clear symptoms of narcissistic...
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Jokes and Their Relation to the Uncanny: The Comic, the Horrific, and Pleasure in Audition and Romero's Dead Films
This paper explores the relationship between Freud's theories of the comic and the horrific, as presented in Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious and The Uncanny. Freudian interpretation of horror films and literature generally involves the notion...
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Dr. C. G. Jung Visits the House of Mirth
Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth (1905) presents psychological disintegration in the characterization of the novel's beautiful heroine Miss. Lily Bart. This paper applies a Jungian analysis to study the causes and effects of Lily Bart's psychological...
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Mourning at the Mother's Breast: On Death and Weaning in Tennyson's in Memoriam
In Section 44 of Tennyson's In Memoriam, the poem's speaker evokes the image of an infant at the mother's breast, an image that is the key to an understanding of the link the poem makes between language and touch. The speaker's recognition of the inadequacy...
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"Kubla Khan": Genesis of an Archetype
At least partly dictated by a dream, "Kubla Khan," whose structure, in spite of appearances, is very coherent, constitutes a superb metaphor of language and heralds the advent of psychoanalysis. Its dramatic development-fusion, loss and hallucinated...
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Jesus and Object-Use: A Winnicottian Account of the Resurrection Myth
This paper accounts for the power of the resurrection myth in terms of Winnicott's theories of early development, particularly the "development of the capacity for concern" and the idea of "object-use" that grew out of it. The myth of the resurrection...
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Suicidal Risk in Lives of Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath
Both Woolf and Plath experienced depression during their life and were hospitalized in mental institutions, but still there is a lot of similar as well as different risk and protective factors in their lives forming the individual course of a suicidal...
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Literary Parallels Stemming from a Resemblance in the Authors' Creative Development: The Extraordinary Similarities between Amos Oz's the Same Sea and James Joyce's Finnegans Wake
This paper presents outstanding parallels between the books The Same Sea by Amos Oz, the well-known Israeli writer, and James Joyce's masterpiece Finngeans Wake. The parallels between the works - in terms of plot, structure, ideas, language, style and...
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Perspectivism-A Powerful Cognitive Metaphor
Perspectivism, a version of what Solms and Turnbull call "dual-aspect monism," denotes here the ability of individual persons to shuttle between objective and subjective points of view, positions represented by science on the one hand and by religion,...
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Integritas and the Aesthetic Appreciation of Incomplete Artworks
This paper examines how the notion of integritas, central to a Thomistic philosophy of art and aesthetics, applies to works of art which are corrupt or incomplete due to missing parts. Using the Laocoön as a primary example, the author argues that the...
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"The Truth of My Being in Gesture and Movement": The Ego and the Body in Modernist Writing on Dance in Isadora Duncan's My Life
The paper examines Isadora Duncan's revolutionary dance style in the context of modernism's backlash against the machine age. Duncan reached back to the Greek chorus and Greek mythology for a way of harmonizing the individual and society. Her autobiography,...
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Style, Identity, Free Association, and the Brain
Artists and readers demonstrate persistent styles. Previously, I have explained this phenomenon by a general model of humans' functioning. A theme-and-variations identity unique to an individual sets standards for physiological and cultural feedback...
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Literary Morphology: Nine Propositions in a Naturalist Theory of Form
Naturalist literary theory conceives of literature as an adaptive behavioral realm grounded in the capacities of the human brain. In the course of human history literature itself has undergone an evolution that has produced many kinds of literary work....
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Narratives of Disorder-Disorders of Narrative
What is order, what is disorder? Consecution of temporal events and causality are normally regarded as prerequisites for understanding narratives. What happens when narratives become disorderly by violating the principles of consecution? One approach...
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R.D. Laing's Language of Experience
The radical psychiatrist R.D. Laing (1927-1989) was an accomplished author with an extensive philosophical knowledge that informed his ideas on reading, writing, and interpretation. Laing argues that psychiatry should be modeled on skilful textual exegesis...
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The Silence of Madness in "Signs and Symbols" by Vladimir Nabokov
In this paper, I try to wonder about the way madness and literature can be linked and/or separated, through the analysis of a short story by the Russian American writer Vladimir Nabokov entitled "Signs and Symbols" as both literature and madness are...
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