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Principles of Psychoanalytic Analysis of Psychotic Literary Features: An Illustration on the Work of Pablo Palacio

Davidoff Menasse, J; (2017) Principles of Psychoanalytic Analysis of Psychotic Literary Features: An Illustration on the Work of Pablo Palacio. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The linguistic attributes of psychosis described by French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan in his early and late theories of psychosis point to a radical, unmediated and objectified relation between subject and signifier. In his third seminar in 1955, Lacan revisited psychosis and he posited it as a subjective structure alongside neurosis and perversion. Later, in his twenty-third seminar in 1975, Lacan revisited again the notion of psychosis positing it as a Borromean knot. Apropos, he examined some of the work of Irish writer James Joyce. His writing, argued Lacan, entailed dynamics such that prevented him from having a psychotic breakdown. Joyce’s mode of jouissance via his writing provided unity to his subjective structure. This rests, following Lacan, upon Joyce’s linguistic know-how (sinthome) which provided a symbolic space for imaginary, symbolic and real to be disjointed, and thus become joint. It follows that there ought to be linguistic and literary dynamics that, under this theoretical framework, are recognisable as psychotic. This research consists of a psychoanalytic-literary analysis of four short stories and a novel by Ecuadorian writer Pablo Palacio. The objective is to determine whether the linguistic and extralinguistic attributes of psychosis described by Lacan can be said to be at play in Palacio’s works and thus answer the question of whether psychotic attributes and dynamics can be extrapolated to other bodies of fictional literature. In turn, this research questions and aims to explore the contributions of such psychoanalytic-linguistic analysis of works of literature to the theory and practice of literary analysis or critique. What does it mean to interpret literature from this perspective and does it open literary meaning otherwise? The findings of the literary analysis confirm that psychosis can be located in literary works under specific conceptual definitions of psychosis, literature, interpreting psychosis and the interpretable of the literary. The literary analysis yielded, furthermore, novel principles of characterisation of psychotic literary language that contribute to the understanding of the creative power of psychosis.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Principles of Psychoanalytic Analysis of Psychotic Literary Features: An Illustration on the Work of Pablo Palacio
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: psychosis, language, psychoanalysis, literature, Jacques Lacan, Pablo Palacio
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1556458
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