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Emmett, P.J. Veeder, W. (2001). Freud in Time: Psychoanalysis and Literary Criticism in the New Century. Ann. Psychoanal., 29:201-235.

(2001). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 29:201-235

IV. Freud's Impact on Humanistic Studies

Freud in Time: Psychoanalysis and Literary Criticism in the New Century

Paul J. Emmett, Ph.D. and William Veeder, Ph.D.

Love is a long close scrutiny.

—John Hawkes

Sigmund Freud, characteristically, did not go gentle into the 21st century. The 1990s visited upon the man and his ideas a virulence of critique that exceeded in its range and publicity anything he encountered in his professional life. In addition to ongoing opposition to Freud's theories, there have been highly personal attacks on his ethics and basic probity. Especially since Freud's partisans have addressed these attacks frequently and cogently, we as literary critics will forego filial piety and will, instead, pose a core question: what of Freud's legacy remains viable for humanistic studies? What tools for analysis, and what truths about motivation and desire, will foster literary criticism in the new century?

In posing the question this way, we are entering into a debate that psychoanalysts have staged, often acrimoniously, for more than 30 years, a debate over what they call the two Freuds. On the one hand, Freud is the scientist, the researcher-theorist-metaphysician whose Newtonian-Darwinian orientation prompted him to insist that psychoanalysis is a science. On the other hand, Freud is the reader, the clinician-exegete-mythmaker whose masterpieces include the books on dreams and parapraxes and jokes, the case histories, and the incidental studies of verbal and visual texts. This debate within psychoanalysis has serious import for literary criticism, as two partisans of Freud-the-reader establish. Michel de Certeau in France and Roy Schafer in America make arguments against Freud's metapsychology that highlight Freud's persisting usefulness for the humanities, and for students of fiction especially.

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