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The Archive of Psychoanalysis: The Temptation of the Plot in Freud’s Studies on Hysteria

Isabelle Alfandary, Institut du Monde Anglophone, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle

December 12, 2019 · 4:30 pm · 219 Aaron Burr

Program in European Cultural Studies; Comparative Literature; Philosophy; German; the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities

Isabelle Alfandary is a Professor of American Literature at the Université Sorbonne-Nouvelle and head of the Collège International de Philosophie. Her work focuses on the intersection of psychoanalysis, philosophy, and literature. Professor Alfandary is the author of Derrida-Lacan: L’écriture entre psychanalyse et déconstruction, where she explores the question of writing in the work of Jacques Derrida and Jacques Lacan, and is currently finishing a book on Freud and fiction.

In this lecture, Professor Alfandary will examine the narrative and discursive models that presided over the writing of the first case studies in Studies on Hysteria, which appeared in 1895, and were signed by Breuer and Freud. She will attempt to show that the writing of case studies borrows from certain schemas—especially literary—whose determinations, epistemological conditions and unthought (l’impensé), even, is far from being indifferent to the production of knowledge that accompanies them. The writing of case studies fashions the manner in which psychoanalysis invents itself as both, clinic and theory; it shapes the manner that psychoanalysis has of articulating theory and clinic of the unconscious.

The writing of the case, as it is practiced in Studies on Hysteria, is a first attempt at transmitting the experience of the unconscious. Professor Alfandary will address the fictionalized pattern of the case study, and the fictional impasse of the narrative (récit) of the case study. Her hypothesis is that Freud started out by resorting to a multiple, and at least double diegetic model, inherited from the detective novel and the romance, only to renounce this schema, and to wind up renouncing the writing of the case study.

Reception to follow. This event is free and open to the public.

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