R. Gray

German 390/Comp Lit 396/Engl 363/CHID 498/JSIS 488/Lit 298

"Freud and the Literary Imagination"


Study Questions: Bachmann, The Book of Franza


1. Is Franza a "hysteric"? If so, what are her symptoms?  Can we locate their sources?  How does the aetiology of Franza's illness compare to Freud's aetiology of hysteria?  In what ways does Franza's case resemble and/or differ from Dora's?




2. Martin diagnoses Franza as suffering from what he calls "the sickness of the past" (34). In what ways is this an accurate description of hysteria?  Think of Freud's description of Dora and of his analytical method for uncovering the past. Does Bachmann add a new dimension to this relationship of "pastness" and hysteria by placing Franza's story in a specific historical context?




3. Can one read the encounter between Franza and "Sire" as one of the childhood memories that is related to the hysterical symptoms that occur later in life?  What is the nature of their relationship and how is it consummated?




4) How is the relationship between Franza and her brother characterized?  Can Martin be aligned with the men who do violence to Franza? In what ways does Martin act as Franza's physician? In general, do you see him as a positive or a negative figure? Why?




5) How are archaeological metaphors (of expeditions, ruins, artifacts, ancient signs and digging) employed in The Book of Franza?  How do they relate to the book's commentary on psychoanalysis?




6) Myths, fairy tales, and other intertextual references abound in Franza. How can one relate the tale of "Bluebeard," the Egyptian myth of Orisis and Isis, or the story of Queen Hatshepsut to Franza's "case"?