Psychoanalytic Terms: Places and Processes in the Unconscious and Conscious Mind

        The originator of modern psychoanalysis is, of course, Sigmund Freud, and his terms of art tend to be used by most later theorists.  Students of Freud who made important contributions to the use of psychoanalysis to interpret art and literature include Karl Jung and Jacques Lacan.

Psychoanalytic Agents and States of Mind--

Ego Superego Id
Conscious Mind Censor Unconscious Mind (12-13)
childhood family as foundation of adult eros (13-14) Conflicts Libido

Domain Attributes of Erotic Identity--

Core Issues/"life themes" (N. Holland and D. Bleich) including "Oedipal fixation"  (14, 17) Anxiety (16) Fear of Intimacy, Abandonment, or Rejection (16)

Freudian Psychological Processes (Erotic/Thanotic)--

Repression (of painful events ("trauma") and of forbidden events) Selective Perception/Memory (15) Return of the Repressed
Denial (15) Avoidance (15) Regression (15)
Displacement (15) Projection (15) Compensation
Resistance (esp. to process of Analysis) Neurosis/Neurotic Repetition Transference (Analysand to Analyst)

Freudian "Dream-Work" (mainly Eros) and Literary Creativity (18-21)--

Primary Content: male and female imagery Latent Content Dream-As-Art
Primary Revision Secondary Revision Dreamer-As-Artist
Displacement Condensation Male/Female Imagery

Freudian Death-Work (Thanatos, 21--24)--

Self-Destructive Neurotic Behaviors (individual/collective) Fear of Betrayal/Abandonment (16) Fear of Inadequacy, Low Self-Esteem, Unstable Sense of Self (16) Fear of Intimacy (16)

Lacanian Psychoanalysis (Jaques Lacan, 1901-81, Écrits: A Selection [N.Y.: Norton, 1977] Tyson 26-34)--

I.  Language as a socio-psychological catastrophe for the pre-verbal Infant Mind

 Imaginary Order (27)  Mirror Stage (27)  language acquisition & entry into the Symbolic Order (28)   loss & lack in the Symbolic Order (I/you, ♀/♂)
 "le petit objet a [autre / "other" w/small "o"]" (28)  Desire of the Mother & "primary dyad" (27)  the "lost object of desire" (28-9)  words as representations of things in the Imaginary Order

II.  Verbal unconscious in the Symbolic Order as a linguistic system, ruled by "Nom-du-Père" and "desire of the Other," but haunted by the "trauma of the Real"

"the unconscious is structured like a language" (29) metaphor / condensation of quality upon a symbolic thing ("love is a rose . . . ") (29-30) metonymy / displacement of function upon a symbolic thing (king or queen = "the Crown") (30)
desire for the Mother (31)  "name of the Father" (31) "phallus" as sign of lack and Symbolic Order (31)
immersion in the Symbolic Order (31)  "Nom-du-Père" / "Non-du-Père" (31) "desire is always the desire of the Other" (31)
the Other and the origins of our subjectivity (31)  misinterpretations, misunderstandings, errors of perception as irruptions of the Imaginary (32)  the Lacanian / Freudian "slip"
 the Real (32)  the un-interpretable dimension of existence (32)  the "trauma of the Real" (32)

Do you want to test your ability to use psychoanalytic critical methods?

Do you want to explore ways psychoanalytic theory might overlap with other theories of interpretation?

Do you find Freudian "intuitionist" assumptions about human psychology too weakly grounded in evidence but you still want to explore the mind's role in making and experiencing literature?  Click here for a short introduction to newer experimentally based psychological studies that offer better evidence for their theories about how the mind works with literature.