In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews191 the sun's centrality. Heliocentrism emerges as a cultural construction permeating discourses concerned to represent perfection. In die transition from Copernicus to Kepler, perfect circular orbits yield to ellipses—why? Hallyn traces a crisis in representation: circularity insufficiently reveals actual planetary movements. Kepler's revisionary insight integrates into a single dynamic both the form of a planet's movement and the physical forces governing its motion. The result is a distended circle, the ellipse, a hybrid of two geometries—linear and curved, which exist in oxymoronic relation. Hallyn shows how Mannerist art, characterized by elongations, preached deviation from perfect proportion in representing bodies in motion; Mannerist poetry employed oxymoron as a primary stylistic device. The Mannerist tendency towards "intelligible beauty" (p. 219) is evinced in Kepler's choice of a dynamic formation when static circularity proved "untrue." Hallyn argues that the continuities between Mannerism and Keplerian astronomy evince "a common root in the problems arising from the Renaissance and common methods and tools for responding to those problems" (p. 174). This account justifies Kepler's continuing fascination for the literary mind. This strangely original, solitary figure, imbuing his entire corpus with oxymoronic tension, attempts to reconcile the symbolic with the empirical. Hallyn calls him "one of the last men of die ancient world and one of the founders of the new" (P- 248) Hallyn further discusses how music theory and marquetry (the art of inlay) organize Kepler's astronomy. Yet to this reader, always drawn to the daring mirror-images in Kepler's Somnium while unable to sort them out, Hallyn's exegesis seems definitive. His revelation of the Somnium's anamorphosis curiously marks The Poetic Structure of the World as reflective of its own, postmodern intertext. Georgia State UniversitySandra Sherman Psychoanalysis and the Postmodern Impulse, by Barnaby B. Barratt; xvi & 262 pp. Baltimore:Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993, $38.50. Barnaby B. Barratt's Psychoanalysis and the Postmodern Impube attempts to reconstruct Freudian psychoanalysis within the philosophical writings of poststructuralist writers like Blanchot, Lévinas, and Derrida. Essentially Barratt's study was intended to revitalize two orthodox psychoanalytical positions: 1) that primary process is unrepresentable and radically destabilizes die symbolic structures of consciousness; 2) diat the psychoanalyst must have an existential 192Philosophy and Literature awareness of the patient's grasp of Being in relation to knowing. Barratt is of the opinion diat botii views actually represent a postmodern definition of psychoanalysis only nascent in the early part of die twentieth century. Early on in the study, Barratt gives a deconstructive twist to the conviction held by intellectuals of the 1920s that performances or representations of unconscious processes destabilize conceptual structures that follow prescriptions of rational consciousness. Unfortunately, Barratt's critical discourse is not entirely cogent: "Via its workful-playful negativity, free-associative discourse dialectically deconstructs the structurings of consciousness and communication by transgressing their fixities, priorities, certainties and identities; and by such means it opens thinking to what composes its structuring but is excluded or foreclosed, resisted or repressed, from its own lawful enactments" (p. 25). The meaning of "workful-playful negativity" is not altogether clear, and I am quite certain that an alliterative cluster like "free-associative discourse dialectically deconstructs" is odd, because by definition, dialectics cannot modify deconstruction. Moreover, whereas Barratt stresses that primary process is not a fixed category (i.e., "workful-playful negativity"), he contradicts himself by employing it as a critical method (deconstruction) . After discussing the free associations of one of his female patients in another passage—Barratt stresses that he is a practicing psychoanalyst—we discover that the patient's associations "issue into a thorough critique ofpatriarchy, a deconstruction ofphallocentricity" (p. 29). Hence the thesis that die talking cure is inherendy postmodern, or, to be more precise, politically correct. Like existential psychologists of yesteryear, Barratt thinks psychoanalysis is conceptually so avant-garde that it has to be considered within a non-Cartesian philosophical tradition. Since evenJacques Lacan is not philosophically radical enough for Barratt, thinkers like Derrida, Blanchot, and Lévinas are required to expose the deconstructive side of primary process. Problematic is that the talking cure replaces critical questioning by becoming the totalizing ground for postmodern critique. When Barratt introduces Lévinas...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 191-193
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.