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.
Monday, April 06, 2009
Et in Arcadia ego
From Franco Moretti, The Way of the World: The Bildungsroman in European Culture: