Freud's Rome: Psychoanalysis and Latin Poetry

Freud's Rome: Psychoanalysis and Latin Poetry

Paperback Roman Literature and Its Contexts

By (author) Ellen Oliensis

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  • Format: Paperback | 160 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 196mm x 8mm | 181g
  • Publication date: 30 November 2009
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521609100
  • ISBN 13: 9780521609104
  • Edition: 1
  • Sales rank: 953,724

Product description

This book is a meditation on the role of psychoanalysis within Latin literary studies. Neither a sceptic nor a true believer, Oliensis adopts a pragmatic approach to her subject, emphasizing what psychoanalytic theory has to contribute to interpretation. Drawing especially on Freud's work on dreams and slips, she spotlights textual phenomena that cannot be securely anchored in any intention or psyche but that nevertheless, or for that very reason, seem fraught with meaning; the 'textual unconscious' is her name for the indefinite place from which these phenomena erupt, or which they retroactively constitute, as a kind of 'unconsciousness-effect'. The discussion is organized around three key topics in psychoanalysis - mourning, motherhood, and the origins of sexual difference - and takes the poetry of Catullus, Virgil, and Ovid as its point of reference. A brief afterword considers Freud's own witting and unwitting engagement with the idea of Rome.

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Author information

Ellen Oliensis is Professor of Classics at the University of California, Berkeley. She has published essays in various journals and collections on a range of Latin poets, including Virgil, Horace, and Ovid. Her first book, Horace and the Rhetoric of Authority, was published by Cambridge University Press in 1998.

Table of contents

Introduction: psychoanalysis and Latin poetry; 1. Two poets mourning; 2. Murdering mothers; 3. Variations on a phallic theme; Afterword: Freud's Rome.