Literature Foundation 2010


Week 8

for next week: psychoanalysis

Please read these two poems and see if you can produce a psychoanalytic reading of each.

After I have delivered the lecture on Monday I will post an expanded copy of it here, plus suggested further reading on Freud.

Important note: there are three important chronological spans that are relevant to applying Freud to a text:

1. pre 19th century

2. 19th century (when the kind of neuroses and repressions that Freud wrote about became common)

3. 20th century (when Freud became famous, so that any writer would probably be aware of possible Freudian readings.

1. The Sick Rose (William Blake)

2. Wild Nights

Before we get on to the Freudian readings, we will spend a little time on the scansion of each poem. Each of these poems clearly has a poetic rhythm--a very strong one, in each case--but they are very irregular: the number of syllables in each line varies. In the seminar I will show you how to discuss this: you can use exactly the same techniques of relating rhythm to meaning that we are used to, but you need a slighly different terminology. Simply, you just talk about stressed and unstressed syllables, without worrying whether something is an iamb or a trochee.



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