ENG 3589: Literature & Psychology
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COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course explores poetry and prose in relation to dreams, neurosis, psychosis, and the psychology of mystical experience and sexual difference; it also explores diagnostic narratives and narratives of recovery. These intersections of literature and psychology are structured along the following lines:¶ —Meaning-making and story-telling as the key to psychological coping with and perhaps recovery from trauma: the work of Viktor Frankl, psychologist and Holocaust survivor. Studies in individual and collective trauma and its aftermath. (Folman, Waltz with Bashir) —The psyche as “text”: literary analysis and psychoanalysis both work in language and attempt to make sense of “texts”: literary texts, on the one hand, and “psychic texts” (psychological make-up, symptoms) on the other. Freud showed us that psychoanalysis, like literature, is linguistically and narratively constituted. Language codifies and gives shape to our selves, and it is also through language that we develop and transform our lives toward freedom. In literary and psycho-analysis we “read closely” and interpret intuitively, but also concretely. Like literature, our psyches are verbal constructs open to interpretation; in both cases analysis may offer “relief.” (Freud, “Dora Case,” Lacan, tba) —Psyche and power; First-person narratives of insanity and recovery, and third-person “authoritative” narratives of “madness.” (Genet, The Maids; James, Turn of the Screw); Fromm on will-ing subjection to authoritarianism); (Sechehaye) Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Girl —Carl G. Jung’s work on collective unconscious experience in mythology and mystical texts: imagery, mythologems, and archetypes. (Shaffer, Equus; Cronenberg, A Dangerous Method [film])
Stewart, E. (2022, Fall). ENG 3589/PSY 4932: Literature & Psychology. Yeshiva College, Yeshiva University.
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