Introduction: Anxieties and Their Vicissitudes
Klein does theory otherwise.—Jacqueline Rose
The question is this: is it ever possible to assess the relative merits of
orthodoxy as against heterodoxy in psychoanalysis?—Roy Schafer
This book seeks to interrogate the complex interrelations between two
central modernist discourses, psychoanalysis and literary and artistic mod-
ernism. Modernism is understood as a discursive and historical field situ-
ated at the crossroads of other discourses and events that configured the
cultural map of the first decades of the twentieth century. This project is
thus a hybrid, partly psychoanalytical and partly literary and visual. It is an
inquiry into the relations among sexuality, melancholia, and representa-
tion in literary and visual texts that can be read at the intersection of
psychoanalysis and the arts in modernism.
As was the case with the beginnings of psychoanalysis, early modern-
ist texts were experienced as shocking, unintelligible, and disruptive. I will
try to explore the radical implications of a new rhetoric pervaded by revolu-
tionary tropes flowing intertextually both ways, from literature and art to
psychoanalysis and vice versa. The problem of the self, embedded, crossed
and inflected by di√erent discourses, comes to be read di√erently by means
of recourse to the unconscious and, in my view, specifically to the Kleinian
notion of unconscious phantasy.∞ Literary modernisms show a heightened
degree of language skepticism, and this allies modernisms and psycho-
analyses in their radical critique.
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