Download Desire and the Political Unconscious in American Literature: by Sam B Girgus PDF

By Sam B Girgus

The booklet argues that during the come upon among hope and beliefs we discover American literature to be a story of a decentered ego within the context of a tradition that subverts constitution and balance so as to advertise swap and renewal. Consensus and dissensus commingle in a means of disintegration and reconstruction. The e-book applies smooth theories of literature and psychoanalysis to a huge diversity of yankee literary works and extends to the subconscious contemporary theoretical discussions of the connection among literature and beliefs. The booklet makes an attempt a reconstruction, not just of yankee literature and tradition, yet of Freud to boot.

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16 Freud's description of identification, object-choice and narcissism and the ego ideal constitutes an attempt to show different means for the ego's participation in social organization. The existence of what Freud terms various 'grades' of the ego's involvement in society indicates the complexity beneath the apparent simplicity of the idea of the libidinal foundation of groups. 'We are aware that what we have been able to contribute towards the explanation of the libidinal structure of groups leads back to the distinction between the ego and the ego ideal and to the double kind of tie which this makes possible-identification, and putting the object in the place of the ego ideal.

See Larzer Ziff, Puritanism in America: New Culture in a New World (New York: Viking, 1973), pp. 17~0. Richard Slotkin, The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization, 1800-1890 (New York: Atheneum, 1985), p. 68. Thomas Jefferson, Query XIX, Notes on the State of Virginia in Merrill D. ), Thomas Jefferson: Writings (New York: Library of America, 1984), p. 290. Henry Nash Smith, Virgin Land: The American West as Symbol and Myth (1950; rpt. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973), pp.

For Freud the contrasting concepts of identification and object choice often involve confusion between the need to be like someone and the need to have someone. ' 11 For Freud such confusion breeds neurosis. 32 America and the Semantics of Desire The divisions of the libido and the ego appear not only in the form of identification and object-choice, but also in the creation of the ego ideal. The formation of the ego ideal as Freud describes it is crucial to the process of shaping ideology. Freud argues that the splitting of libido and ego engenders conscience or the moral sense.

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