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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: February ::
Re: Hamlet and Oedipus
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0400  Tuesday, 20 February 2001

[1]     From:   Scott Oldenburg <
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        Date:   Friday, 16 Feb 2001 11:42:11 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0358 Re: Hamlet and Oedipus

[2]     From:   Stephanie Hughes <
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        Date:   Friday, 16 Feb 2001 09:19:45 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0386 Re: Hamlet and Oedipus


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott Oldenburg <
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Date:           Friday, 16 Feb 2001 11:42:11 -0800
Subject: 12.0358 Re: Hamlet and Oedipus
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0358 Re: Hamlet and Oedipus

And yet the very questions asked about Hamlet on this list are often
about his motivations.  That a literary character has motivation
suggests that the literary character is to be treated as if he were a
real person with all the baggage that comes with being real.  Are the
non-psychoanalytic critics saying that people are always fully conscious
of their motivations?  If not, aren't we talking about the unconscious
by definition?  If you prefer we can use Obeyesekere's term "deep
motivation."

As for the suggestion that psychoanalytic criticism is always a
reflection of the critic--this would seem to be true of all criticism to
some degree.  For the validity of psychoanalyzing texts (among those who
accept psychoanalytic theory), I would direct attention to Freud's
Schreber case, generally accepted among psychoanalysts as an important
contribution to the theory of paranoia and entirely based on
close-reading of a text without the benefit of a free-associating
analysand.  Still, analyzing the reader seems most appropriate to
psychoanalytic criticism as the projection of motivation occurs in the
reader, not the text.

Best,
Scott

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <
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Date:           Friday, 16 Feb 2001 09:19:45 -0800
Subject: 12.0386 Re: Hamlet and Oedipus
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0386 Re: Hamlet and Oedipus


> For all too many years, Freud used to be one of my cultural heroes. I
> now think that was very, very stupid.Civilization and its Discontents,
> The Future of an Illusion but I now think I was very, very stupid. In
> the end--and I can scarcely imagine any more bitter or humiliating
> end--Freud will survive, like Jung, in Western, and especially American,
> English departments. As usual, Joyce was prescient, in his Finnegan joke
> about being "jung, and easily freudened".
>
> Graham Bradshaw

Ultimately all heroes are revealed to have feet of clay. Thinkers like
Freud, Darwin and Marx, so tremendously influential in their times, are
always seen in hindsight simply as watersheds in the development of
human thought, never the final chapter.

Freud more or less consciously sacrificed the truth (actually several
truths) on the altar of what the public could stomach so that
psychoanalysis might attain the status of a science. It may be that
having to make this terrible choice drove him a little wacko, yet in the
long run, would truth have been better served had psychoanalysis gone
the way of mesmerism?

I'm reminded of the recent impulse to destroy the stature of Christopher
Columbus and Thomas Jefferson, because they didn't conform to present
standards of the Ideal. Ultimately we need to honor our pathfinders, not
for what they didn't do, or did wrong, but for what they did right.

Stephanie Hughes
 

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