Literature and Psychoanalysis

By Edith Kurzweil; William Phillips | Go to book overview

PREFACE

OUR AIM WAS to put together the best and the most representative essays, those that make a sophisticated use of psychoanalysis in the study of literature. Fortunately, we had many excellent essays on a broad range of topics and literary figures to choose from. Hence we are able to present the many different psychoanalytic and critical approaches at the highest levels of performance. Our own biases are evident in the balance of the selections but not to the exclusion of any legitimate points of view.

Notable contributions to the field have been made by analysts and literary critics, and we have tried to indicate this dual engagement by presenting examples from both professions, and by exemplifying how the same subject can be examined from different psychoanalytic perspectives. Some of the essays are theoretical, some are practical criticism of individual writers and works. We also thought it useful to divide the selections into several categories -- while keeping in mind the changes in psychoanalytic criticism from Freud to Lacan.

It is hardly necessary to point out that the writing on the subject is so vast that it was possible to include only the landmarks along with a few recent pieces by analysts and critics who are not well known but whose work is of a high caliber. However, we wanted this book to reflect the range, the variety, and the collective insight of this wealth of material that has been proliferating since Freud first wrote on the subject. Hence this book should be of value to analysts, to critics, and to intellectually curious laymen as a handy compendium of writing on the relation of literature to psychoanalysis.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the writers and the publishers of the contents of the volume for their gracious cooperation. We especially want to thank John Moore, editor-in-chief of Columbia University Press, for his encouragement. And we would like to acknowl-

-vii-

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