THE WEDNESDAY BOOK: A Daughter of Freud Gets to Grips with Shame ; on Not Being Able to Sleep: Psychoanalysis and the Modern World Jacqueline Rose Chatto & Windus, Pounds 20
Padel, Ruth, The Independent (London, England)
WITH BOOKS on Peter Pan, Melanie Klein, Sylvia Plath, and war theory, plus a novel rewriting Proust in Albertine's voice, Jacqueline Rose sparkles at the heart of British feminist debate over the roles of psychoanalysis in literary criticism and in cultural and political critique.
The papers and reviews collected here demonstrate brilliantly the delicate links she creates between apparently unassociated fields. A study of lost belief and reason in Virginia Woolf sheds new light on "the death of modernism"; another, on novelists Mary Butts and Elizabeth Bowen, relates English middle-class self-deceptions over class and anti-Semitism to Freud's influence on the novel. An interpretation of Ted Hughes's furious letters to her about Plath sets reviews of Plath's Journals and Hughes's own Birthday Letters in an importantly personal context. Reviewing Adrienne Rich's poems alongside an analysis of women's biology by scientist Natalie Angier, Rose reassesses the questioning feminism still needs to do in relation to scientific knowledge.
The directly psychoanalytic essays interact with a point Rose makes in the literary pieces: the creative mind often "goes beyond" Freudian theory. The title essay, revisiting Freud's Interpretation of Dreams, focuses on the creativity of sleep. Others examine the possibilities for psychoanalysis in Aboriginal culture, and attempts by Freud and Lacan to stop psychoanalysis entrenching itself as established knowledge. Finally, she considers the role of two embarrassing figures in modern society, the celebrity and the intellectual; then she relates South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission to JM Coetzee's Booker-winning novel Disgrace. …