Fall 2015

Literature and Psychoanalysis

Listed in: English, as ENGL-295


Alicia J. Mireles Christoff (Section 01)


Why does it seem natural to read ourselves and other people in the same way that we read books?  This course will introduce students to both psychoanalytic theory and literary interpretation, asking about their similarities as well as their dissonance.  Why do novels of development and case-studies resemble one another?  What can the Freudian understanding of the structure of the psyche teach us about the structure of narrative?  And what do “illnesses” like hysteria and paranoia have in common with everyday acts of meaning-making and with the way we read literature?  Each week pairing a psychoanalytic paper with a short story or novel, we will ask how psychoanalysis alters not only what we see in literary works, but also the way we understand our own acts of interpretation.  Topics include the unconscious, dreams, childhood, the uncanny, desire, subjects and objects, and mourning.

Reading will include essays by Freud, Lacan, Winnicott, Melanie Klein, and others; and fiction by Jensen, Melville, Poe, Brontë, James, Flaubert, and Ishiguro.

Preference given to sophomores considering an English major.  Limited to 35 students.  Fall semester.  Professor Christoff.

ENGL 295 - L/D

Section 01
Tu 01:00 PM - 02:20 PM CONV 207
Th 01:00 PM - 02:20 PM CONV 207


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2020, Spring 2022