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Shifting Eyes: self-representation in words and images, re-reading Freud through the semiotics of C.S. Peirce, with particular reference to the work of poet H.D. and artist Claude Cahun

Morris, Sharon; (2000) Shifting Eyes: self-representation in words and images, re-reading Freud through the semiotics of C.S. Peirce, with particular reference to the work of poet H.D. and artist Claude Cahun. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

'Shifting Eyes', presents a re-reading of Freud’s structural theories of the self, through the semiotics of C.S. Peirce. In place of the self split between unconscious representations and the syntax of speech, Peirce’s general sign theory provides an evolutionary account of symbol development within a trichotomy of sign-object relations, icon, index and symbol, as opposed to interpretations of Freud using the linguistic sign which reify the split subject and assimilate unconscious processes to the tropes of language. Peirce’s sign-interpretant relation, is used to re-describe Freud’s account of the shift from narcissism to object relations, from the primary iconic dyad to the subject constructed through the symbol of sexual difference. One class of icons, the hypoicon, is evaluated as a representation of the subject, since the hypoicon, unlike the symbol, does not uphold contradiction. Metaphor, as hypoiconic Third, is compared with Freud’s account of the structure of identification, both in terms of ego development and dream formation. The second part of the thesis uses these concepts to interpret the work of author H.D. and artist-writer Claude Cahun. H.D.’s œuvre - poetry, novels, memoirs and autobiography - lay bare the structure of the subject through the semiotics of the text, in particular transference and the act of naming. The poetry demonstrates the boundary between ego and world, myth and ideals of the ego, as the semiotics of identification. Cahun’s photographic self-portraits raise questions of the relation between body-image and narcissism, ideals and the subject of sexual difference. The last chapter concentrates on 'Aveux non avenus', (1930a) a work which integrates text and image using the principles of collage, juxtaposing photomontages with fragments of dream, fantasy, polemic and fiction as an extension of self-representation. In conclusion, the signifying self, as hypoiconic Third, is related to the body, re-posing the question of desire.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Shifting Eyes: self-representation in words and images, re-reading Freud through the semiotics of C.S. Peirce, with particular reference to the work of poet H.D. and artist Claude Cahun
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: This thesis was supervised externally by Prof. Bernard Burgoyne, director of the Centre for Psychoanalysis, Middlesex University, and by Dr. Michael Newman and Prof. Norman Bryson at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL. It was examined by Prof. Laura Mulvey, Birkbeck College, The University of London and Prof. Mieke Bal, School of Cultural Analysis, The University of Amsterdam. / This thesis has been digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Peirce, semiotics, Freud, psychoanalysis, self-reference
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > The Slade School of Fine Art
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/46810
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