Home » Joy and the Objects of Psychoanalysis: Literature, Belief, and Neurosis by Volney P. Gay
Joy and the Objects of Psychoanalysis: Literature, Belief, and Neurosis Volney P. Gay

Joy and the Objects of Psychoanalysis: Literature, Belief, and Neurosis

Volney P. Gay

Published September 1st 2001
ISBN : 9780791450994
Hardcover
243 pages
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 About the Book 

For more than a hundred years, psychoanalysts have applied their theories of neurosis to objects of culture, including literature. In this book, psychoanalyst, anthropologist, and scholar of religion Volney P. Gay reverses field and uses literatureMoreFor more than a hundred years, psychoanalysts have applied their theories of neurosis to objects of culture, including literature. In this book, psychoanalyst, anthropologist, and scholar of religion Volney P. Gay reverses field and uses literature to reevaluate psychoanalysis. Arguing that neurosis occurs when we cannot recollect joy, Gay focuses upon the nature of joy as articulated in drama and literature. It is the absence of joy, he suggests, that evokes in children a lifelong quest for repair and restitution, usually through the stories they tell themselves. Therefore, Gay argues, literary accounts of joy are essential to contemporary psychoanalysts because they illuminate the nature of an object that, when absent, produces the form of human suffering that Freud named neurosis. Throughout the book, case studies are juxtaposed with analyses of works by Plato, Homer, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Hawthorne, Wharton, and others in order to explore the notion that the objects of psychoanalysis (and similar psychotherapies) are structured like narratives rather than organisms or other natural objects.