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Cherbuliez, T. (1995). La Déliaison. By André Green. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1992, 338 pp., Fr 180.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:267-269.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:267-269

La Déliaison. By André Green. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1992, 338 pp., Fr 180.

Review by:
Theodore Cherbuliez, M.D.

With this collection of essays on psychoanalytic literary criticism, André Green leads us on a rare journey. Spanning twenty years of work, this volume, comprises eleven chapters, of which only three have not been published previously; the others have been reworked, some extensively. And if heterogeneity is a drawback of most collections, here it is but a manifestation of the considerable ground Green covers—from anthropology to literature, from Sophocles to Borges, visiting on the way (or perhaps being visited by) Shakespeare, Pushkin, Dostoevski, Proust, and Sartre.

From the concept of the “unconscious of the text,” a way of referring to what is contained in the text but left inexplicit, Green proposes a method of critical reading that he aptly calls “listening” to the text. This “listening” amounts to decoding the primary processes underlying, and bound to, the secondary structure of the printed word. Listening with the body, the reader is caught by the text. Letting one's unconscious, free-floating attention hover over the actual attentive reading of the text results in experiencing it as evoking understandings and visions going way beyond its literalness. To analyze a text is to look for the origin of the effect it has on the reader, who then takes up the position of the text's analysand, in the process of uncovering structures common to the reader, the text, and—at times—its author. Here the critic acts as mediator between the written text and its rendering when being read; critical participation “unbinds” the text, revealing potential meanings.

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