In a draft attached to a letter to his friend and confidante Wilhelm Fliess (May 31, 1897), Freud develops an idea: The mechanism of fiction is the same as that of hysterical fantasies. He supports this thought with a brief analysis of the biographical sources of Goethe's Werther. A few months later, on October 15, 1897, Freud mails Fliess a detailed account of remembered events from his childhood that, Freud believed, underlined the universality of Oedipus Rex and Hamlet. Freud's foray into literature initiated the beginning of a new critical approach.
In Essential Papers on Literature and Psychoanalysis, Emanuel Berman presents classic and contemporary papers written at the intersection of literature and psychoanalysis. In bringing these essays together Berman traces the development of a discipline that has often been plagued by a polarization between self-confident, single-minded psychoanalysts reading literature as a series of case studies and literary loyalists who cling to manifest content or to the declared intentions of the authors, accepting them at face value and depriving the work of its emotional complexity. Berman covers the full range of old and new perspectives, and presents selections from today's mature phase.
This collection includes papers by Sigmund Freud, Steven Marcus, Patrick J. Mahoney, Donald Spence, Otto Rank, Ernest Jones, Ernst Kris, Phyllis Greenacre, Florence Bonime and Maryanne Eckardt, David Werman, Ellen Handler Spitz, Jacques Lacan, Shoshana Felman, Norman N. Holland, Roy Schafer, Meredith Anne Skura, Gail S. Reed, Francis Baudry, Rivka R. Eifermann, and Bennett Simon.
from the publisher's website