Economics & Aesthetics
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ELT 45 : 3 2002 In the last chapter, Thurschwell returns to the history of psychoanalysis , and especially to the relationship between Freud and Ferenczi (with Jung in the background). Freud and his disciples were all intrigued by hypnosis and by various occult phenomena, especially telepathy . Of course psychoanalysis could not "finally endorse magical thinking, but at crucial moments it relies on it as a bridge between unconscious desire and worldly effects." Whereas Ferenczi maintained an interest in the occult without going the full route of Jung's apostasy, Freud rendered the occult in materialistic terms, precisely as unconscious , erotic wishful or magical thinking. But it was Freud who treated the seduction theory as fantasy, while Ferenczi insisted that, more often than not, patients' stories of child abuse had a basis in reality. Especially in her first and final two chapters, Thurschwell very persuasively demonstates "that our ways of intimacy have adapted to modern technics." She makes that statement while summarizing Jacques Derrida's "Telepathy," in which he likens psychological processes to both telepathy and television, and expresses mock-surprise that "nontelepathy "—in other words, privacy or secrecy—remains possible. The "other" is able, at least most of the time it seems, to see or read our inmost thoughts and wishes, if not by telepathy or television, then by dint of the fact, as psychoanalysis teaches, that the "other" possesses exactly the same inmost thoughts and wishes. Although tying the analyses of aestheticism and hypnosis and of James's response to World War I more directly to technological change would have helped unify the book, each chapter offers fresh insights into late-Victorian and early modern culture . In general, Thurschwell has written an original, important exploration of how "the uncanny nature of technological transmission ... was imagined at the fin de siècle" Patrick Brantlinger ______________ Indiana University Economics & Aesthetics Regenia Gagnier. The Insatiability of Human Wants: Economics and Aesthetics in Market Society. Chicago: University of Chicago University Press, 2000. viii + 255 pp. Cloth $42.00 £26.50 Paper $16.00 £10.50 THE MAIN TRAJECTORY of Regenia Gagnier's impressive interdisciplinary study tracks the simultaneous development of economic and aesthetic theory from the end of the eighteenth to the end of the nineteenth century. This is a richly capacious book, which moves with 324 BOOK REVIEWS astonishing ease between economic, aesthetic, philosophical, literary and scientific texts. Gagnier's thesis is that between the beginning and the end of the nineteenth century there was, in both economics and aesthetics , a shift from a preoccupation with "production" to an orientation towards "consumption." This thesis is amply and often elegantly illuminated through a close analysis of—in the main—economic and literary texts from the nineteenth century. There is a focus in the central chapters on the cultural environment of the Victorian fin de siècle, Gagnier identifying this period as the historical moment when an earlier emphasis on "production" in both economics and aesthetics was increasingly contested. There are in addition two chapters at the close in which the over-arching thesis of the book is re-staged in order to throw light on the aesthetic and economic conditions prevalent in the late twentieth century . For a literary specialist, Gagnier's book is an education: the exposition of economic theory, from Adam Smith, through John Stuart Mill to Stanley Jevons, Carl Menger and others, is lucid without being reductive , and the agile and sometimes startling connections made between literary and economic texts are convincing and mutually illuminating. There are some marvellously perceptive re-readings of well-known literary texts, now seen through the lens of Gagnier's far-reaching critical narrative in which she maps the shift away from the labour theory of value that dominated economic discourse of the early and middle parts of the nineteenth century, to a focus on consumer demand at the fin de siècle. Particularly acute and insightful are new readings of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South, Dickens's Hard Times, Hardy's Jude the Obscure , Morris's News From Nowhere and Wilde's De Profundis and The Picture of Dorian Gray. The range of literary texts discussed is remarkable : Gagnier's economic-aesthetic critical apparatus...


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