Scholarship Terminable and Interminable: Some Thoughts on the Place of Literary Criticism in a Life of Finite Duration
In a famous late essay1 Freud conceded that his brand of psychotherapy might never lead to cure. Although the goal of treatment may be approached as the analyst descends through the ‘psychological strata’, it remains elusive: penis envy in females and castration anxiety in males are a bedrock beneath which the analyst cannot penetrate. This essay has not caused the embarrassment it should in the profession, perhaps because it has been thought that psychoanalysis is like education: a process of enrichment and illumination, of personal growth, a progressive, but always incomplete, adjustment to a world that offers only finite responses to one’s infinite wishes. Thus characterised, psychoanalysis hardly seems to be something one would wish to be terminable.
KeywordsLiterary Criticism Literary Theory Creative Artist Literary Text Great Writer
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- 2.A point made persuasively in Richard Webster’s brilliant Why Freud was Wrong: Sex, Sin and Psychoanalysis (London: Collins, 1995).Google Scholar
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