Fall 2018

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 psychoanalytic thought and psychoanalytic literary interpretation. Freud famously reads Jensen’s short story Gradiva as a case history, but we will seek out ways of reading literature and psychoanalysis together that go beyond diagnosing characters or authors. How is psychoanalytic theory itself literary? How can it help to open up, rather than reduce, our reading experience? And how does literature in turn help to enrich, deepen, challenge and enliven psychoanalytic theories of subject-formation, language, and interpersonal relations? Putting psychoanalytic and fictional texts in conversation, topics of particular interest may include: dreams, desire, sexuality, mourning, trauma, the unconscious, the uncanny, anxiety, embodiment, racialization, paranoia and the reparative impulse. Psychoanalytic readings will be drawn from Freud, Klein, Lacan, Winnicott, Bollas, Khan, Phillips, Riviere, Fanon, Milner, Sedgwick, Felman, and others. Literary texts change from year to year.

Limited to 35 students. Fall semester. Professor Mireles Christoff.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to English majors and seniors.


Attention to Issues of Class, Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Issues of Race, Attention to Writing


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2020, Spring 2022