Manual The Myth of Popular Culture: from Dante to Dylan

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Related Content. Challenge and Continuity Aspects of the Thematic Novel Editors: Margaret Buckley and Brian Buckley. Challenge and Continuity is the first full-length attempt to map an important feature of nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature: the thematic novel. It analyses it first in D. Lawrence, revealing how in The Rainbow and Women in Love the psychology of the characters is brought into a wider social and ideological context that generates their controlling themes.

Challenge and Continuity goes on to identify the core of the thematic tradition in the work of Dickens, Hawthorne, Melville, Dostoevsky and Conrad. It is then revealed as a distinguishing feature of modernism in Ford, Forster, Joyce and Woolf, with continuations into Huxley, Orwell and Beckett.

With its complex of well-researched links over a very wide area, this book should appeal to scholars and students alike, and also to the general reader with some knowledge of the field. Editor: Isabel Ermida. The volume explores various multimodal and multimedia adaptations of the book, by critically examining its literary, cinematic, theatrical, televised and artistic versions. In so doing, it reassesses the origins, evolution, imagery, mythology, theory and criticism of Gothic fiction and of the Gothic sub culture.

The biologistic description is at bottom a thermodynamic one. The ego now found its position among sexual objects and was at once given the foremost place among them. Thus the original opposition between the ego- instincts and the sexual instincts proved to be inadequate. A portion of the ego-instincts was seen to be libidinal; sexual instincts—probably alongside others—operated in the ego. Nevertheless we are justified in saying that the old formula which lays it down that psychoneuroses are based on a conflict between ego-instincts and sexual instincts contains nothing that we need reject to-day.

It is merely that the distinction between the two kinds of instinct, which was originally regarded as in some sort of way qualitative, must now be characterized differently— namely as being topographical. Like the psyche, it is historical. Its earlier assumptions become its own unconscious.

Clinically, it resolves a paradox less easily. Although secondary process frees or mobilizes the determinations of primary process or infantile ideation—much as capitalism is a liberation from the bondage of feudalism—it is also a distortion of the frightening clarity of infantile fantasy, its inhibition or repression as well as progress beyond it. This is the double bind in which the patient is situated, and the double bind that analysis as both a cure and a form of writing is designed to assess and accommodate. This is precisely what the death instinct is—the consummate path to pleasure:.

The pleasure principle, then, is a tendency operating in the service of a function whose business it is to free the excitation or to keep the amount of excitation in it constant or to keep it as low as possible. The circle is complete. Bondage and freedom engage one another reciprocally or dialectically. Past and present remain commingled despite the passage of time.

The pleasure principle and the death instinct are both required to concede to the reality principle. Like the patient, the psychoanalytic system maintains constancy or stability by virtue not of discharging but of preserving the assumptions of its earlier theory as proof of—as capital for—its newer one.

Freud, Marx, Keynes. In The Ego and the Id , the shift from a feudal accent to a capitalist one is even more pronounced.

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This is because the shift in metaphor accelerates to include not only the sciences but the bureaucratic and political worlds as well. Here the ego— the new focus because so much of it is now understood to be unconscious, a function of secondary rather than primary process—is rendered in metaphors of a distinctly bourgeois kind.

While the ego of the early phase reigns, or tries to reign, over a sovereign realm subject to the insurgencies of the unconscious, now the ego is drawn in managerial terms that modernize the unconscious of which it is a part. The metaphor is also parliamentary: The ego governs its assembly of representatives. We have formed the idea that in each individual there is a coherent organization of mental processes; and we call this his ego.

It is to this ego that consciousness is attached; the ego controls the approaches to motility—that is, to the discharge of excitations into the external world; it is the mental agency which supervises all its own constituent process- es, and which goes to sleep at night, though even then it exercises the censorship on dreams. From this ego proceed the repressions, too, by means of which it is sought to exclude certain trends in the mind not merely from consciousness but also from other forms of effectiveness and activity.

In analysis these trends which have been shut out stand in opposition to the ego, and the analysis is faced with the task of removing the resistance which the ego displays against concerning itself with the repressed. What is repressed is not primary process but the conditions of existence. It is these that analysis seeks to disclose. It is based not on faith but on contract—on the consensual value of the signified rather than on an inherent meaning it may be presumed to have.

It is a system of mobile valuation, like currency, which under capitalism has the form of fixity while retaining the function of change. Marx remains the best guide.

The Myth of Popular Culture: From Dante to Dylan

When this happens, the particular kind of commodity with whose bodily form the equivalent form is socially identified becomes the money commodity, or serves as money. Thenceforward, the specific social function and therefore the social monopoly of this commodity is that it plays the part of a general equivalent among commodities at large.

The objectification of labor in commodities, money chief among them, is the equivalent and insuperable condition in Marx of the splitting of the subject in Freud, a splitting that Marx, unlike Freud, is unwilling to accept or negotiate. Like libido, labor cannot be said to exist except in the objects it endows. They are witness to the subject that produces them, not the other way around. Labor and libido are the life forces in Marx and Freud, respectively, each with the same epistemological structure and each with the same productive rather than expressive relation to empirical reality.

The stabilization of currency by the regulating agency of government doubles the regulation of the infantile drives by the ego. The vocabulary of science— of an energetics—mediates between the psychical and the economic, giving them a shared tropology and a common project. Like psychical mechanisms, inflation and deflation have their respective roles in the regulation of economy, financial or therapeutic, each one playing a part as specific circumstance requires, whether for the social formation or the individual psyche.

As in psychoanalysis, here, too, the topographical—a sharp divide between classes— gives way to the dynamic—a coherent economy with a presumable rapprochement between top and bottom. Both manage a fluctuating system whose fixities are illusory and ideal and require intervention for their functioning to proceed. It is worth noting that Keynes lived on the floor above his Bloomsbury friend James Strachey at 41 Gordon square while, for decades, Keynes presided over the British treasury and Strachey over the english translation of Freud. Keynes was, as it were, also translating Freud. The feudal unconscious, in other words, is the retroactive product of the capitalist unconscious.

Its power is held in check by the shift in metaphor by means of which the ego funnels its value from the feudal materials of its prior force. Its value is a dividend flowing from an accumulated wealth that now functions as capital. Historicity, even the historicity of the unconscious, is derived through the belated lens of a future looking back- ward. Time is beneficial as well as ruinous. As in shakespeare, history becomes the possibility of its own revision. The transit of the original Oedipus complex—its feudal character—into its modern or adult char- acter comes about only after the components of the family romance have been changed into modern terms.

Now the family romance is known by virtue of what it leaves behind, that is, after its passing.

The Myth of Popular Culture: From Dante to Dylan

The feudal character of primary process has been transformed into a modern enterprise for the purpose of ordering its overdeterminations and reducing its sway. This process is no less static than anything else in this decidedly historical dynamic. The historical circuit is metaphorically complete. The experiences of the ego seem at first to be lost for inheritance; but, when they have been repeated often enough and with sufficient strength in many individuals in successive generations, they transform themselves, so to say, into experiences of the id, the impressions of which are preserved by heredity.

Thus in the id, which is capable of being inherited, are harbored residues of the existences of countless egos; and, when the ego forms its super-ego out of the id, it may per- haps only be reviving shapes of former egos and be bringing them to resurrection. The political metaphors are especially striking:.

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Our ideas about the ego are beginning to clear, and its various relation- ships are gaining distinctness. We now see the ego in its strengths and in its weaknesses.

It is entrusted with important functions. All the experiences of life that originate from without enrich the ego; the id, however, is its second external world, which it strives to bring into subjection to itself. It with- draws libido from the id and transforms the object-cathexes of the id into ego-structures. With the aid of the super-ego, in a manner that is still obscure to us, it draws upon the experiences of past ages stored in the id. Presiding over this graveyard, the ego is a sexton, a night watchman, a gravedigger to its own Hamlet, who looks on in perplexed fascination at his own past.

Late Freud retains landscape by reimagining it as a cemetery of lost causes. These include the pernicious idealizations of the family romance and feudalism alike. Feudalism and the family romance are one and the same. The presumption of a galvanized maturity based on mourning rather than melancholia is no presumption. What is dead is dead. What lives is a perpetually precarious present, mindful of the past and careful not to repeat its derelictions. Voloshinov, Freudianism: A Critical Sketch , trans.

Schwab, , pp. Jeffrey M. Hegel, The Phenomenology of Mind , trans.

Baillie New York: Harper, , p. Edward said, Orientalism New York: Pantheon, Montague summers New York: Gordian Press, , p. As in Hegel, dialectic governs psychical activity.