Monday, April 06, 2009

Et in Arcadia ego

From Franco Moretti, The Way of the World: The Bildungsroman in European Culture:
Let us begin with a question: how is it that we have Freudian interpretations of tragedy and myth, of fairy tale and comedy--yet nothing comparable for the novel? For the same reason, I believe, that we have no solid Freudian analysis of youth: because the raison d'être of psychoanalysis lies in breaking up the psyche into its opposing "forces"--whereas youth and the novel have the opposite task of fusing, or at least bringing together, the conflicting features of individual personality. Because, in other words, psychoanalysis always looks beyond the Ego--whereas the Bildungsroman attempts to build the Ego, and make it the indisuptable center of its own structure.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Thanks. Just bought the book, since I've always gravitated toward the novel like it was free money and recoiled from Freud like reading Freud was akin to being hit in the head with a baseball bat. Couldn't the novel also resist Freudian interpretation because the protagonist of the novel is more concerned with the world than his own lineage? Who were Don Quixote's parents?