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Freud's Rome
Psychoanalysis and Latin Poetry

Part of Roman Literature and its Contexts

  • Date Published: October 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521846615

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  • This book is a meditation on the role of psychoanalysis within Latin literary studies. Neither a sceptic nor a true believer, Oliensis adopts a pragmatic approach to her subject, emphasizing what psychoanalytic theory has to contribute to interpretation. Drawing especially on Freud's work on dreams and slips, she spotlights textual phenomena that cannot be securely anchored in any intention or psyche but that nevertheless, or for that very reason, seem fraught with meaning; the 'textual unconscious' is her name for the indefinite place from which these phenomena erupt, or which they retroactively constitute, as a kind of 'unconsciousness-effect'. The discussion is organized around three key topics in psychoanalysis - mourning, motherhood, and the origins of sexual difference - and takes the poetry of Catullus, Virgil, and Ovid as its point of reference. A brief afterword considers Freud's own witting and unwitting engagement with the idea of Rome.

    • Uniquely contemplates the viability of psychoanalysis within classics
    • Opens up new perspectives on canonical texts
    • Provides an overview of the state of play in the field of psychoanalysis and literary studies
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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2009
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521846615
    • length: 160 pages
    • dimensions: 204 x 134 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.28kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: psychoanalysis and Latin poetry
    1. Two poets mourning
    2. Murdering mothers
    3. Variations on a phallic theme
    Afterword: Freud's Rome.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Latin seminar: Lucretius
    • Love and Violence in Roman Poetry
    • Love and the City
  • Author

    Ellen Oliensis, University of California, Berkeley
    Ellen Oliensis is Professor of Classics at the University of California, Berkeley. She has published essays in various journals and collections on a range of Latin poets, including Virgil, Horace, and Ovid. Her first book, Horace and the Rhetoric of Authority, was published by Cambridge University Press in 1998.

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