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Self and Other: Object Relations in Psychoanalysis and Literature

Robert Rogers
Copyright Date: 1991
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 214
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qfvz3
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    Self and Other
    Book Description:

    In Self and Other, Robert Rogers presents a powerful argument for the adoption of a theory of object relations, combining the best features of traditional psychoanalytic theory with contemporary views on attachment behavior and intersubjectivity. Rogers discusses theory in relation both to actual psychoanalytic case histories and imagined selves found in literature, and provides a critical rereading of the case histories of Freud, Winnicott, Lichtenstein, Sechehaye, and Bettelheim. At once scientific and humanistic, Self and Other engagingly draws from theoretical, clinical, and literary traditions. It will appeal to psychoanalysts as well as to literary scholars interested in the application of psychoanalysis to literature.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-6948-5
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. FOREWORD
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Leo Goldberger

    ThePsychoanalytic Crosscurrentsseries presents selected books and monographs that reveal the growing intellectual ferment within and across the boundaries of psychoanalysis.

    Freud’s theories and grand-scale speculative leaps have been found warning, if not disturbing, from the very beginning and have led to a succession of derisive attacks, shifts in emphasis, revisions, modifications, and extensions. Despite the chronic and, at times, fierce debate that has characterized psychoanalysis, not only as a movement but also as a science, Freud’s genius and transformational impact on the twentieth century have never been seriously questioned. Recent psychoanalytic thought has been subjected to dramatic reassessments...

  4. PREFACE
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  5. PART I. Modeling Interpersonal Relations
    • 1. DRIVE VERSUS PERSON: TWO ORIENTATIONS
      (pp. 3-22)

      One’s choice of terms always has consequences. So does one’s selection of explanatory frameworks. An instance from one of Winnicott’s case histories illustrates the distance between an orthodox, drive-oriented perspective on object relations and one that assumes that interpersonal relationships may reflect forms of attraction not necessarily fueled by sexual urges. A little girl called Gabrielle, only two years and ten months old, goes immediately to the toy box at the beginning of her sixth therapeutic consultation with Winnicott: “She put the two big soft animals together and said: ‘They are together and are fond of each other’ ”(1977, 77)....

    • 2. TOWARD A UNIFIED THEORY OF OBJECT RELATIONS
      (pp. 23-46)

      One of the tasks facing anyone discussing object relations theory is that of mapping the terrain. What is to be included in the territory? To what extent is the field of object relations congruent with the domain of psychoanalysis as a whole? Pine treats object relations as just one of what he calls the four psychologies of psychoanalysis: “the psychologies of drive, ego, object relations, and self” (1988, 571). Pine’s discussion of these realms of theory makes no effort to reconcile their incompatibilities. He ignores the massive case against drive theory. He also ignores the possibility that ego psychology, self...

  6. PART II. Stories of Real Persons
    • 3. FREUD’S CASES REREAD
      (pp. 49-77)

      By early in the last decade of the nineteenth century Freud had become preoccupied with sexual pathology and the possibility that it serves as a causative factor in neurasthenia and psychoneurosis. Writing to Wilhelm Fliess in October of 1893, Freud remarks, “Meanwhile things have grown livelier. The sexual business attracts people; they all go away impressed and convinced, after exclaiming, ‘No one has ever asked me that before!’ ” (1954,78). His letter to Fliess the following month contains this passage: “The sexual business is becoming more and more firmly consolidated, and the contradictions are fading away” (80). Before long, Freud...

    • 4. GABRIELLE, ANNA, RENEE, JOEY: FOUR CASE HISTORIES
      (pp. 78-100)

      The cases discussed in this chapter have been selected primarily for the purpose of further exploring the merits of a person-oriented approach to object relations. In those instances where the analysts involved present their material in a way that is consistent with a drive-oriented theory of object relations, I provide alternative readings of the same material from a person-oriented perspective.

      The case of Mrs. A. will serve as a brief introduction to the issues at stake. In this particular instance the analyst (Peterfreund 1983) demonstrates a flexible responsiveness to object-relational factors as distinguished from dealing, in a stereotyped way, with...

  7. PART III. The Imagined Self and Other
    • 5. THE STEPMOTHER WORLD OF MOBY DICK
      (pp. 103-118)

      In a chapter called “The Symphony,” Ahab muses about the natural beauty of the scene before him: “The pensive air was tranparently pure and soft, with a woman’s look, and the robust and man-like sea heaved with long, strong, lingering swells, as Samson’s chest in his sleep.” A little later we are told, “That glad, happy air, that winsome sky, did at last stroke and caress him; the step-mother world, so long cruel—forbidding—now threw affectionate arms round his stubborn neck, and did seem to joyously sob over him, as if over one, that however wilful and erring, she...

    • 6. MEURSAULT’S ESTRANGEMENT
      (pp. 119-135)

      Camus’The Strangerbegins with the right word, “Mother,” in precisely the correct context, loss, with exactly the right tone, a mixture of uncertainty arid emotional flatness: “Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure. The telegram from the Home says: your mother passed away. Funeral tomorrow. Deep sympathy. Which leaves the matter doubtful; it could have been yesterday” (Camus 1942). From the perspective of attachment theory it would seem that the ontological anxiety attributable to Meursault in this novel might derive from this loss of his primary support figure—except that Meursault is a grown man, no...

    • 7. THE SEQUESTERED SELF OF EMILY DICKINSON
      (pp. 136-158)

      “Deprived of other Banquet/I entertained Myself—.” Emily Dickinson often felt deprived: “God gave a Loaf to every Bird—/But just a Crumb—to Me—” (#791). Themes of scarcity and deprivation occur again and again in her poetry, yet in the midst of this scarcity one unfailing source of abundance is available: her imagination. Like the Spider Artist in two of her poems (#605 and #1275), she weaves the delicate tapestries of her poetry out of the abundance of her very self. In a sense, she feeds upon herself: “I entertained Myself—/At first—a scant nutrition—/An insufficient...

    • 8. SELF AND OTHER IN SHAKESPEAREAN TRAGEDY
      (pp. 159-182)

      Sometimes many are one in dreams and other works of the imagination. Angus Fletcher suggests that “the allegorical hero is not so much a person as he is a generator of other personalities [that] are partial aspects of himself…. By analyzing the projections we determine what is going on in the mind of the highly imaginative projector” (1964, 35). If readers want to understand Redcrosse inThe Faerie Queene, for example, they can list the tests and adventures—essentially the other figures encountered—‬“so as to see, literally, what aspects of the hero have been displayed” (35–36). The related...

  8. REFERENCES
    (pp. 183-190)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 191-196)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 197-197)