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Martin, J. (1983). William Faulkner: Construction and Reconstruction in Biography and Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Inq., 3(2):295-340.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 3(2):295-340

William Faulkner: Construction and Reconstruction in Biography and Psychoanalysis

Jay Martin, Ph.D.

Psychoanalysis and Biography

When freud compared the analyst's work of reconstruction and construction to “an archaeologist's excavation of some dwelling-place that has been destroyed and buried” (1937p. 259), he almost perversely ignored the major genre of investigation which resembles the analyst's work far more closely than the archaeologist's. I refer, of course, to the biographer's work in assembling and presenting the history of a life. Clearly, in its methodology, if not entirely in its intent, the biographer's patient work of research, understanding, and synthesis offers a very close analogue to the analyst's careful genetic and dynamic reconstructions and constructions. Although Freud ignored the close parallels between constructive work in biography and psychoanalysis in his theoretical observations, he did not of course miss the similarities in his practice: the so-called Schreber “case” (1911), usually grouped with Freud's clinical cases, is psychobiography insofar as Freud never saw Schreber and gathered his materials in the manner of any other biographer.

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