Psychoanalytic Criticism
Hosanna Chang
January 4, 2000

  1. Introduction: The rise of psychoanalytic criticism has threatened New Criticism. Moreover, "Freud's discoveries help initiate the radical questioning of consciousness and its representations.... In decentering the Cartesian consciousness, Freud shows that we are not who we think we are and that we do not always mean what we say" (350).

  3. What does "psychoanalysis" mean?

  4. A. Freudian interpretation focuses on the repressed unconsciousness.
    B. New-Freudians go further back to the history of subject.
    C. Lacanian psychoanalysis aims at correcting misreadings of Freud.

  5. The differences among Freud's interpretation, neo-Freudians' assumption and Lacanian interpretation:

  6. A. "Both Freud and neo-Freudians share the assumption that transference is the manifestation of a self constituted by its material history in the body. They differ about which aspects of history are important" (352).

    B. Lacan's interpretation is similar to object-relations theorists, but they differ from the developing process.

    C. Taking Edgar Allan Poe's "The Purloined Letter" as an example, Meredith Skura explains the difference between neo-Freudians' interpretation and Lacan's.

  7. Conclusion: Psychoanalysis extends our view of interpreting literary works. Different divisions of psychoanalytic criticism form a process of repetition and refinement.

Work Cited:

Skura, Meredith. ¡§Psychoanalytic Criticism.¡¨ Reclaiming the Boundaries. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt and Giles Gunn. New York: MLA, 1992. 349 - 373.