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Johansen, J.D. (1986). Strategies of Understanding. Psychoanal. Contemp. Thought, 9(4):497-561.

(1986). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 9(4):497-561

Strategies of Understanding

Jørgen Dines Johansen

To read the collection of essays by Steven Marcus and the reader edited by Edith Kurzweil and William Phillips is to confront the central issues concerning the relationship between literature and psychoanalysis. This fact does not make the task of reviewing these books easy, because to do it thoroughly would mean reflecting and taking a stand on a lot of controversial and much debated questions, from the scientific credibility of psychoanalytic theory through the rather uninteresting question of the relationship between art and neurosis, to the significance of specific sound patterns for an understanding of the literary work as an expression of desire. Consequently, the present paper must select and concentrate upon a few of the issues that are discussed in the two books and are, in the reviewer's opinion, important. First of all, however, the two books will be presented and characterized.

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