Repetition and ambivalence : An exploration of literary and psychoanalytic boundaries
This thesis has three central areas of preoccupation, each of
which is made up of two elements whose interaction is
explored: l)repetition and ambivalence; 2)psychoanalytic and
literary discourse; 3)parents and children.
Ambivalence is examined as a concept proposed by
psychoanlysis, and as a force vitally at work within the
writing and reading processes. Repetition is viewed as both
productive of and produced by ambivalence, and is seen to
sustain writing fiction in particular. Literary and
psychoanalytic discourse are viewed as mutually unexcluxive
ways of finding form for powerful need or desire. The thesis
establishes that the overlap between the two modes of writing
is considerable, and with special attention paid to the
reader, proceeds to draw the fine line which divides the two.
Parents and children are seen as defining themselves in
relation, and particularly in opposition to each other.
Attention is paid to parents (real or imagined) who have
sought to repress or even kill their children; and along with
this, attention is paid to the sophistication required for
the simplest utterance, and equally the primitive aspects of
highly developed or articulate speech.
The thesis invariably proceeds, however, from specific
examples, and starts with consideration of work by Franz
Kafka. A text by the psychoanalyst Serge Leclaire and the
'oeuvre' of Maud Mannoni are subsequently the focus. The
thesis then moves to consider Marcel Proust's novel A la
recherche du temps perdu, and works by Samuel Beckett.
Drawing its method from its matter, the thesis attempts to
demonstrate and reveal the broad metaphoric scope and power
of language. It shows how metaphor depends on significant
difference, or otherness; and, by concentrating on the
relational aspects of the speaking/listening and
writing/reading processes, it shows how we all depend for our
survival on such otherness as language -- and especially
narrative -- offers.