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Romantic Psyche and Psychoanalysis

About This Volume

This volume of Romantic Circles Praxis Series includes an editor's introduction by Joel Faflak, essays by Ildiko Csengei, Matt ffytche, Mary Jacobus, Julie Carlson, Tilottama Rajan, and Ross Woodman.

"Romantic Psyche and Psychoanalysis" offers a series of shifting perspectives on the emergence of psychoanalysis and a psychoanalytical consciousness in early and later British and German Romantic poetry, fiction, philosophy, and science. Rather than read psychoanalysis as one of Romanticism's inevitable outcomes, this volume reads for what remains unthought between Romantic thought and contemporary theory and criticism about Romanticism and psychoanalysis. The papers herein map versions of a psychoanalysis avant la lettre, but more crucially these essays imagine how psychoanalysis before Freud thinks itself differently, as well as anticipating and staging its later concerns, theorizations, and institutionalizations. Together they offer what might be called the profoundly psychosomatic matrix within which the specters of modern subjectivity materialize themselves. Ildiko Csengei reads the faints/feints of eighteenth-century sensibility through novel developments that critique the blind spots of Freud's interpretations. Matt Ffytche examines how the Romantic soul or psyche is neither divine power nor archetypal reality but a mediation between psychology and ontology that brings the psyche into its own radically embodied being. Mary Jacobus explores in Romantic 'autothanography' an uneconomized and uneconomical Romantic feeling – a way of seeing feeling and of feeling what we see – that we are only beginning to understand. Julie Carlson sees in the 'in/fancy' of Romantic (self-)writing a Romantic phantasy that is our reality test, a psychoanalysis wilder than Freud's. Tilottama Rajan examines how German idealist thought, veering toward a psychoanalysis it both entertains and cannot avoid, suggests more broadly how psychoanalysis is always the detour that history and thought take, making both (im)possible, yet forcing history to think the human otherwise. And finally, Ross Woodman reads between Jung's work on analytical psychology and alchemy and Blake and Shelley Romanticism's unavoidable turn sideways from rationality toward the uncanny work of understanding and imagination that makes reason possible in the first place.

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About the Romantic Circles Praxis Series

The Romantic Circles Praxis Series is devoted to using computer technologies for the contemporary critical investigation of the languages, cultures, histories, and theories of Romanticism. Tracking the circulation of Romanticism within these interrelated domains of knowledge, RCPS recognizes as its conceptual terrain a world where Romanticism has, on the one hand, dissolved as a period and an idea into a plurality of discourses and, on the other, retained a vigorous, recognizable hold on the intellectual and theoretical discussions of today. RCPS is committed to mapping out this terrain with the best and mo st exciting critical writing of contemporary Romanticist scholarship.

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About the Contributors

Joel Faflak is Associate Professor in English and Theory at the University of Western Ontario. He is author of Romantic Psychoanalysis: The Burden of the Mystery (2007); editor of Sanity, Madness, Transformation: The Psyche in Romanticism (2006) and Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (forthcoming Broadview, 2009); and co-editor of Nervous Reactions: Victorian Recollections of Romanticism (SUNY 2005) and Cultural Subjects: A Popular Culture Reader (Thomson-Nelson 2005).

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Ildiko Csengei is R. A. Butler Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Cambridge. She works on the literature of sensibility and has forthcoming articles in Studies in Romanticism ("Godwins Case: Melancholy Mourning in the Empire of Feeling") and Modern Language Review ("I Will Not Weep: Reading Through the Tears of Henry Mackenzie's Man of Feeling"). She is currently completing a monograph based on her PhD dissertation, Bad Feelings: The Literature of Sensibility in the Eighteenth Century.

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Matt ffytche is a Lecturer in the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Essex, Colchester, UK. His article "The Most Obscure Problem of All: Autonomy and its Vicissitudes in The Interpretation of Dreams" appeared in Psychoanalysis and History, vol 9:1, 2007. His monograph on Schelling and Freud, The Foundation of the Unconscious, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.

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Mary Jacobusis Grace 2 Professor of English at the University of Cambridge. She has written widely about Romanticism, psychoanalysis, and feminism. Her books include Romanticism, Writing, and Sexual Difference: Essays on the Prelude (1989), First Things: The Maternal Imaginary in Literature, Psychoanalysis, and Art (1996), Psychoanalysis and the Scene of Reading (1999), and The Poetics of Psychoanalysis: In the Wake of Klein (2005). She is currently working on a book of essays on Romantic and other things.

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Julie A. Carlson is Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of England's First Family of Writers: Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, Mary Shelley (Johns Hopkins, 2007), In the Theatre of Romanticism: Coleridge, Nationalism, Women (Cambridge, 1994, paper, 2007), a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly on "Domestic/Tragedy" (1999), and articles on British romantic theatre, the Godwin-Shelley family, and the cultural politics of romantic-era writing.

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Tilottama Rajan is Distinguished University Professor and Canada Research Chair in English and Theory at the University of Western Ontario. She is the author of Dark Interpreter: The Discourse of Romanticism (Cornell UP, 1980), The Supplement of Reading: Figures of Understanding in Romantic Theory and Practice (Cornell UP, 1990), and Deconstruction and the Remainders of Phenomenology: Sartre, Derrida, Foucault, Baudrillard (Stanford UP, 2002), as well as the editor or coeditor of five books, most recently Idealism Without Absolutes: Philosophy and Romantic Culture (SUNY Press, 2004). She is currently working on a book on encyclopedic thinking from Idealism to Deconstruction.

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Ross Woodman is Professor Emeritus in the Department of English at the University of Western Ontario. He is author of The Apocalyptic Vision in the Poetry of Shelley,Sanity, Madness, Transformation: The Psyche in Romanticism, and the forthcoming Revelation and Knowledge: Religious Faith and Poetic Faith in Romanticism.

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