1st Edition

Between the Psyche and the Polis Refiguring History in Literature and Theory

By Anne Whitehead, Michael Rossington Copyright 2000

    This title was first published in 2000. Incorporating studies of Freudian and Marxist approaches to questions of history and memory, this timely collection illuminates how history is being refigured in contemporary literary, cultural and theoretical studies. The contributors to this volume invite the reader to attend to the forms - linguistic, visual, monumental - by which a connection with, or separation from, the past takes place. It is current thinking about memory's relationship to history, and the ongoing critical reassessment of historicism, that preoccupies this collection. The volume explores the ways in which current thinking about the past operates within a dialogic space and can be located in relation to multiple perspectives. Thus cultural memory can be seen not just as a recent development within the field of cultural studies, but as constructing a between-space which also draws in aspects of psychoanalysis. Similarly, trauma theory may usefully be conceptualized as operating in a rich and complex dynamic between deconstruction and the work of Freud. Temporality, memory and the past are attended to here in terms of the dislocations of narrative, of resistances to linear genealogies, to aid the reader in making unanticipated connections between theories and cultures, and between the demands of the psyche and the polis.

    Contents: Introduction; Between the Psyche and the Polis, Michael Rossington and Anne Whitehead; Part I: History in Theory: After Marx and Freud: Old idolatry: rethinking ’ideology’ and ’materialism’, Simon Jarvis; History and the sacred in de Man and Benjamin, Nigel Mapp; Freud and the force of history: The Project for a Scientific Psychology, Clare Connors; Part II: Traumatic histories: Parting words: trauma, silence and survival, Cathy Caruth; Reading Trauma: Charlotte Delbo and the struggle to represent, Victoria Stewart; Trauma, testimony and the survivor: calling forth the ghosts of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Stephenie Young; Part III: memory and cultural history: In the penal colony, John Frow; Séance fiction: confronting the ghost(s) of the Mexican Revolution in Madero, el otro by Ignacio Solares, Robin Fiddian; The Angel of Memory: ’Working Through’ the history of the New South Africa, Christopher J. Colvin; Part IV: Nachträglichkeit: History and afterwardsness: History and trauma: reviewing Forrest Gump, Susannah Radstone; Traumatic memories of remembering and forgetting, Elizabeth Cowie; Aftermath: Pastiche, the postmodern and the end of history in Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus, Rachel Carroll; Index.


    Anne Whitehead, Michael Rossington