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Barchilon, J. (1973). Psychoanalysis and Literary Process: Edited by Frederick Crews. Cambridge, Mass.: Winthrop Publishers, Inc., 1970. 298 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 42:644-651.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 42:644-651

Psychoanalysis and Literary Process: Edited by Frederick Crews. Cambridge, Mass.: Winthrop Publishers, Inc., 1970. 298 pp.

Review by:
Jose Barchilon

This book represents two important accomplishments. The first is an achievement in the teaching and learning of psychoanalysis in a department of literature, a rather rare occurrence in itself. The second is the remarkably perceptive contribution to the field of analytic literary criticism made by the students of Crews.

The first chapter, entitled Anæsthetic Criticism, is masterful and comparable to Crews's previous endeavors in the field. Unhappily, much literary criticism, especially psychoanalytic literary criticism, is not only unæsthetic and inelegant, but often anæsthetizes the reader. If art does not speak directly to our soul (an approximate concept of the unconscious before Freud), if it does not mobilize our own affects, it is not æsthetic. The pointed ambiguity of the word 'anæsthetic' illustrates Crews's manners and method. Here, with one word, he dismisses critical verbiage and spans the methodological gap that has for so long existed between literature and the psychology of the unconscious.

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