Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG414H1S L0101

ENG414H1F   L0101   W1-3
Advanced Studies Group 1: Literature and the Unconscious
Instructor: Prof. E. Harvey
Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, Room 907

Brief Description of Course:
The unconscious was conceptualized in Romantic intellectual contexts, but it was Sigmund Freud’s theorization that established its prominence for literature and psychoanalysis. The unconscious was associated in his thought from its inception with literature, dream work, and the operations of metaphor. Implicating memory, imagination, creativity, affect, and experiences outside of conscious control (hypnosis, trance, dreams, hypnogogic states), the unconscious presupposes a rich theory of mind. This course will explore psychoanalytic writings on the unconscious, its intersections with literature, and the intertwining of Freudian dream analysis with rhetorical figures, particularly metaphor and metonymy. We will investigate such topics as haunting, trauma, sexuality and desire, memory, and dementia in a variety of texts, exploring the psychological aspects of literary analysis, and considering intertexuality as an effect of a literary and historical unconscious.

Required Reading: Readings will include Freud, “The Unconscious,” Interpretation of Dreams, “The Uncanny,” Laplanche, The Unconscious and the Id (selections), Lacan, “The Unconscious and Repetition,” E.T.A. Hoffman, “The Sandman,” Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, Toni Morrison, Beloved, Anne Carson, Plainwater.

First Three Authors/Texts: Freud, “The Unconscious,” Anne Carson, “Every Entrance Is an Exit.” “Interpretation of Dreams.”

Method of Evaluation: Participation (15%), oral presentation (25%), prospectus (25%), final essay (35%).

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