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352Philosophy and Literature Sartre reminds us: "I am saying what Flaubert thinks and what he makes Emma drink, not what I think" (p. 169). But his literary criticism is nothing if not a blend of the brains of Sartre, Flaubert, and Emma Bovary. Such criticism was sanctioned by Baudelaire's reading of Madame Bovary which Flaubert himself appreciated with die remark: "You entered into the arcana of the work as if my brain were yours." Later of course Flaubert confessed to being Madame Bovary. Hermeneutics and deconstruction, conceived by many scholars as mutually exclusive, are alike insofar as they downplay lived experience and psychologism while endorsing brands of linguistic apriority. Perhaps The Family Idiot, as a biographical criticism which traces a career of creative compulsion in the thick ofle vécu, never forgetting the relation between the individual imagination and praxis (however clouded by passive syntheses), can best be appreciated in the way it monstrously contests these critical schools. One had almost forgotten that the French were good at concrete criticism—it has been that long since the publication of Sartre's books on Baudelaire (1950) and Genet (1952), not to mention Jean Prévost's formidable La Création chez Stendhal (1951). These works and The Family Idiot contribute more to the philosophy of writing and our understanding of discursive life in the profundity and imbalance of its strategies than anything written by Derrida or Gadamer. Pennsylvania State UniversityC. S. Schreiner Psychoanalysis and Religion, edited by Joseph H. Smith and Susan A. Handelman; xxi & 252 pp. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990, $36.00. "And" is the key word in the tide of this collection of twelve essays, which are looking for ways to make psychoanalysis and religion more compatible: ". . . the departure from Freud towards a more sympathetic psychoanalytic understanding of religion [is] the intent of . . . contributors to this volume" (p. xiii). The authors are psychoanalysts or thinkers influenced by psychoanalysis who are also "believers" (a frequently used word) or else admirers of religion who sometimes seem to regret their own agnostic stoicism, as perhaps did Freud. There is much personal energy in the writing; these authors really want the compatibility of "and" to come true. "Religion," for the most part, is a kind of generic religion, undifferentiated and unnuanced, and uncritically affirmed; it is as though religion is the more Reviews353 distant and therefore more idealized of these squabbling parents, whom the authors want to reconcile. Psychoanalysis is better known, more identified with, therefore more ambivalently regarded, and generally presumed the aggressor who must be restrained. Arrayed through the chapters is a recurring set of strategies for mitigating psychoanalysis' antagonism to religion, which may be cataloged as follows: 1.The antagonism is an historical or biographical accident; Freud and/or Freudians happened to be caught in cultural or personal anti-religious biases which have no intrinsic or necessary connection with psychoanalysis. 2.The antagonism is a mistaken reading of Freud. He did not attack religion as harshly as supposed and, in fact, held one of the views below; e.g. "illusion" is a descriptive term offunction ( = wish fulfillment) and not pejorativejudgment of truth claims. 3.Psychoanalysis, especially as it attends to pre-Oedipal stages (following "self" psychologists such as Kohut or "object relations" theorists such as Winnicott ), can offer an understanding of religion which is not pathological or unflattering. "Non-defensive" forms of religion can be identified. Religion may derive from primary, constitutive, constructive experiences oflife, in which one discovers a valid trusting relationship with an Other. The authors seem unclear as to whether this approach is psychologically less insulting, making religion seem less pathological, or somehow suggestive of metaphysical warrant for religion. 4.Freud and psychoanalysis admit the validity of transrational qualities or realms of experience—the world of fantasy, symbol, expressiveness, myth—as these are honored in art, literature, eroticism. Logically, these should warrant religion, as well, were it not for irrational biases. 5.A "tu quoque" version of the above: Psychoanalysis itselfis not the paragon of rational science it pretends to be in attacking religion, but has much more the qualities of faith, art, myth-making, hermeneutic, a "paradoxical dynamic" (as well, perhaps, as the social...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 352-354
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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