Freud and the Literary Imagination
German 390/C Lit 396/
CHID 498/Engl 363/JSIS 488/Lit 298
Winter Quarter 2016
Instructor: Professor Richard Gray
Office: Condon Hall 714
Office Hours: W 1:30-2:20; F 10:30-11:20; and by appt.
Tel.: 206-543-1752 (voice); 206-543-4580
Lecture: Thompson 125
Thursday Discussion Sections: SWS 038 (A); Loew 217 (B); Condon 429 (C); SWS 032 (D)
Tuesday Writing Workshop (Optional): Condon Hall 429
Teaching Assistant/Writing Workshop Leader: Seth Berk (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Seth Berk (email@example.com) Office: Condon 803
Office Hours: M/W 11:30-12:20 and by appt.
Svenja Gehm (firstname.lastname@example.org) Office: Condon 803
Office Hours: M/Th 11:30-12:20; and by appt.
Katie McKeever (email@example.com) Office: Condon 803
Office Hours: T 12:30-1:20; F 1:30-2:20; and by appt.
Justin Mohler (firstname.lastname@example.org) Office: Condon 803
Office Hours: T 11:30-12:20; W 1:30-2:20; and by appt.
Freud, Sigmund. The Freud Reader. Ed. Peter Gay. (Norton) (on 2-hour reserve in OUGL)
Schnitzler, Arthur. Plays and Stories. Ed. Egon Schwarz. (Continuum) (on 2-hour reserve in OUGL)
Kafka, Franz. The Complete Stories. (Schocken) (on 2-hour reserve in OUGL)
Musil, Robert. Selected Writings. Ed. Burton Pike. (Continuum) (on 2-hour reserve in OUGL)
Mann, Thomas. Death in Venice, Trans. Michael Henry Heim (Harper/Collins) (on 2-hour reserve in OUGL)
Bachmann, Ingeborg. The Book of Franza and Requiem for Fanny Goldman. (Northwestern) (on 2-hour reserve in OUGL)
Course Reader (Xerox): Available at Rams Copy Center, 4144 University Way (Texts have also been loaded as PDF-files to Canvas)
Optional Background Reading: Henk de Berg, Freud's Theory and Its Use in Literary and Cultural Studies (Rochester: Camden House, 2003) (on 2-hour reserve in OUGL)
This course examines a set of central themes that emerge from Sigmund Freud's theories of the dream, the nature of literary creativity, the operation of the human psyche, and the substance of human culture. We will take as our starting point the hypothesis that Freud conceives the psyche as a kind of writing machine, an "author" that produces fictional narratives that share many properties with the prose fiction generated by creative writers. For this reason, our focus throughout the quarter will be restricted to prose narratives. The course will concentrate on literature produced in the wake of Freud's theories, that is, on texts that consciously or unconsciously develop Freudian ideas. The class is structured around a set of themes that will be developed on the basis of paired readings: in each case we will examine a text or excerpt from Freud's psychological works in conjunction with the reading of a literary text that exemplifies the issue or issues highlighted in Freud's theory.
1) Regular class attendance (both lecture and Thursday discussion section; the Tuesday writing workshops are highly recommended, but voluntary, except for those who take the course for w-credit, for whom the writing workshops are required).
2) Short writing assignments for discussion sessions: Prior to discussion sessions, you will be given a sheet with a series of study questions. These are intended to help you conceptualize and organize the problems raised by the text or texts under discussion that week. Prior to discussion section, you will be prompted to write a brief (ca. 150-200 words) essay or position paper on a topic from this list or a related question.
3) Active participation in discussion sections.
4) One 7-8 pp. (ca. 2000 word) Mid-Term Paper. Topic: A Freudian Analysis of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis (in: The Complete Stories, 89-139). This paper should concentrate on a specific Freudian problematic as exemplified in Kafka's tale. The Tuesday writing workshops during the first half of the quarter will be designed to help you grapple with this text and learn strategies for writing about Freudian themes and ideas. Mid-term papers can (but need not be) re-written. The original grade and that of the re-write will be averaged to obtain the composite grade for this assignment. Re-write is required for those who request w-credit.
5) One 7-8 pp. (ca 2000 word) Final Paper on a specific Freudian problematic as exemplified in a literary or cinematic narrative of the student's own choosing. The paper should pursue an analysis based on a specific Freudian theme—preferably one from the second half of the quarter. Paper topics should be discussed ahead of time with the Instructor or your discussion leader, or with the TA during the Tuesday writing workshop. The workshops in the last half of the quarter will be geared toward helping you formulate topics and develop your final papers.
Class Participation (in discussion section) 15%
Short Writing Assignments 15%
Mid-Term Paper 35%
Final Paper 35%
Note: Reading assignments should be prepared prior to the class meeting on the day for which they are listed.
Jan. 4: Introduction: Why Freud?
[Jan. 5: Voluntary Writing Workshop; Condon Hall 429]
Theme 1: The Psyche as Writing Machine; Dreams as Texts
Jan. 6: The
Unconscious and Dreams: "A Note on the Mystic Writing-Pad" (Course
Reader); Freud on Dreams: Freud Reader,
[Recommended background reading: de Berg, Freud's Theory, 17-30.]
Jan. 7: Discussion: Organization of Groups; Opening Thoughts (Writing 1)
Jan. 11: Schnitzler, Lieutenant Gustl, in: Plays and Stories, pp. 249-79.
[Jan. 12: Voluntary Writing Workshop; Condon Hall 429]
Jan. 13: Schnitzler, Lieutenant Gustl, in: Plays and Stories, pp. 249-79 (cont.).
Jan. 14: Discussion: The "Truth" of Dreams; The Lies of Gustl (Writing 2)
Theme 2: Freud's Understanding of Literary Creativity
Jan. 18: No Class, MLK Holiday
[Jan. 19: Voluntary Writing Workshop; Condon Hall 429]
Jan. 20: Freud, "The Theme of the Three Caskets," Freud Reader, 514-522..
Jan. 21: Discussion: The "Unconscious" as the Source of Artistic Creativity (Writing 3)
Jan. 25: Kafka, "A Country Doctor," Complete Stories, 220-225 (concluding remarks).
[Jan. 26: Voluntary Writing Workshop; Condon Hall 429]
Theme 3: The Oedipus Complex
Jan. 27: Freud
on the Oedipus Complex, Freud Reader,
640-645; "The Dissolution of the Oedipus Complex," Freud Reader, 661-666.
[Recommended background reading: de Berg, Freud's Theory, 73-91.]
Jan. 28: Discussion: Kafka's "A Country Doctor" (Writing 4)
Feb. 1: Kafka, "The Judgment," Complete Stories, 77-88.
[Feb. 2: Voluntary Writing Workshop; Condon Hall 429]
Feb. 3: Kafka, "The Judgment," Complete Stories, 77-88 (cont.).
Feb. 4: Discussion: Oedipal Revolt in Kafka's "The Judgment" (Writing 5)
Feb. 8.: Freud,
Civilization and Its Discontents, Freud Reader, 722-772 (cont.).
[Recommended background reading: de Berg, Freud's Theory, 109-132.]
[Feb. 9: Voluntary Writing Workshop; Condon Hall 429]
Feb. 10: Thomas Mann, Death in Venice.
Feb. 11: Kafka's "Metamorphosis": (Writing: Mid-Term Paper, Project Summaries)
Feb. 15: No Class, Presidents' Day Holiday
Feb. 16: Voluntary Writing Workshop; Condon Hall 429]
Feb. 17: Mann, Death in Venice (cont.); Musil, Young Torless, in: Selected Writings, 1-175.
Feb. 18: Discussion: Love and Death in Mann's Death in Venice (Writing 6)
Theme 5: Repression and Social (Dis)order
Feb. 22: Musil, Young Torless, in: Selected Writings, 1-175. (cont.)
Feb. 23: Voluntary Writing Workshop; Condon Hall 429]
Feb. 24: Freud, "The Uncanny" (Course Reader; also Canvas electronic reserve)
[Recommended background reading: de Berg, Freud's Theory, 96-108.]
[Feb. 24: Re-Writes of Mid-Term Papers Due, for those who choose this option.]
Feb. 25: Discussion: Sexuality, Repression, Civilization: Musil's Torless (Writing 7)
Theme 6: The Uncanny and the Literary Fantastic
Feb. 26: Freud, "The Uncanny," (cont.); Hofmannsthal, "A Tale of the Cavalry" (Course Reader, also Canvas electronic reserve).
Feb. 29: Hofmannsthal, "A Tale of the Cavalry" (cont.)
[Mar. 1: Voluntary Writing Workshop; Condon Hall 429]
Mar. 2: Freud, "Aetiology of Hysteria," Freud Reader, 96-111; "Fragments of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria (Dora)," Freud Reader, 177-206; 220-239.
Mar. 3: Mar. 3: Discussion: The Uncanny and Hofmannsthal's "Tale" (Writing 8)
Theme 7: Freud and Women: Neurosis and Sexuality
Mar 7.: Ingeborg Bachmann, The Book of Franza
[Mar. 8: Voluntary Writing Workshop: Final Papers; Condon Hall 429]
Mar. 9: Bachmann, The Book of Franza (cont.).
Mar. 10: Discussion: The Franza "Case" and the Causes of Female Hysteria (Writing 9)
Mar. 11: Bachmann, The Book of Franza (cont.).
Final Papers Due: Mon., Mar. 14, 10 AM, Condon Hall 714 (or submitted as e-mail attachment to your discussion leader).