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Beyond Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism: Between Literature and Mind
Ogden, Benjamin H.
Routledge / Softcover / 2018-04-01 / 0815377282
Psychoanalysis / Psychoanalysis & Literature
reg price: $64.95 our price: $ 55.21 (may be subject to change)
134 pages
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Through a series of radical and innovative chapters, Beyond Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism: Between Literature and Mind challenges the tradition of applied psychoanalysis that has long dominated psychoanalytic literary criticism. Benjamin H. Ogden, a literary scholar, proposes that a new form of analytic literary criticism take its place, one that begins from a place of respect for the mystery of literature and the complexity of its inner workings.

In this book, through readings of authors such as J.M. Coetzee, Flannery O’Connor, and Vladimir Nabokov, the mysteries upon which literary works rely for their enduring power are enumerated and studied. Such mysteries are thereafter interwoven into a series of pioneering studies of how the conceptions of thinking, dreaming, and losing become meaningful within the unique aesthetic conditions of individual novels and poems. Each chapter is a provisional solution to the difficult "bridging problems" that arise when literary figures work in the psychoanalytic space, and when psychoanalysts attempt to make use of literature for analytic purposes.

At every turn, Beyond Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism: Between Literature and Mind acts as a living example of the territory it explores: the space between two disciplines, wherein the writer brings into being a form of psychoanalytic literary criticism of his own making. Forgoing traditional applied psychoanalysis and technical jargon, this highly accessible, interdisciplinary work will appeal to psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists, as well as literary critics and scholars.


'Benjamin H. Ogden conducts an exciting and courageous intellectual experiment. Nine profound and ingenious chapters explore new ways of fostering the dialogue between literature and psychoanalysis, capturing the vitality of both. What I find so fascinating is Ogden's search for a new form of writing between disciplines, which leads him to the place "where we are most of the time". It is from and within this space, this shared point of origin that Ogden secures his position as a truly remarkable independent thinker and writer. He presents chapters that are nine different boxes he has snapped shut. To my mind, he has done just that and much more besides. Each box is a veritable treasure trove of originality and inspiration.’-Antonino Ferro

"Beyond Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism: Between Literature and Mind is a magnificent contribution to the renewal of psychoanalytic literary criticism. There is no point any longer in applying stereotyped psychoanalytic knowledge to the literary text, but rather in listening respectfully and refined by the experience of analysis, on the one hand, and questioning the very practice of analysis in the light of the aesthetic experience in art, on the other. Benjamin Ogden demonstrates originality in thinking, a beautiful style in writing and an uncommon capacity to engage in an alive conversation with the reader at the frontiers of two exciting worlds. I’d recommend this book both to scholars of the humanities and to psychoanalysts and psychotherapists interested in making their practice of care increasingly vital and their theoretical tools more sophisticated."-Giuseppe Civitarese, member of the Italian Psychoanalytic Society; author of Sublime Subjects: Aesthetic Experience and Intersubjectivity in Psychoanalysis.

Table of Contents:

Preface; Introduction; Part I: Mysteries exchanged for words Chapter 1: The risk of true confession: on literature and mystery Part II: Bridging problems Chapter 2: From literature to psychoanalysis Chapter 3: From psychoanalysis to literature Part III: Losing, thinking, dreaming Chapter 4: How language holds loss Chapter 5: Thinking in Tarjei Vesaas’ The Birds Chapter 6: Reflections on the previous chapter Chapter 7: What is a dream and how do you write one? Part IV: A brief interlude Chapter 8: Inside the magic circle: on Homero Aridjis’ The Child Poet Part V: Neither out far nor in deep Chapter 9: The predicament of psychoanalysis and literature

About the Author

Benjamin H. Ogden is Assistant Teaching Professor in literature and humanities at Stevens Institute of Technology. He co-authored The Analyst’s Ear and the Critic’s Eye: Rethinking Psychoanalysis and Literature with Thomas H. Ogden.

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