Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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Preface

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pp. vii-viii

The present study proposes to explore the enigma of experience and the significance of the recurring questions of empiricism in John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), William Wordsworth's Prelude (1805), Immanuel Kant's Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (1783) and Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (1786), and Sigmund Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents (1930). These works, in their variety, ...

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Acknowledgments

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p. ix

The original project of this book was motivated by the teaching of the late Paul de Man. I am grateful to Geoffrey Hartman for his critical attention and comments on the entire manuscript, and to other teachers and colleagues who have discussed and read all or parts of the manuscript, and who have provided the intellectual stimulation for my work: Harold Bloom, J. Hillis Miller, Andrzej Warminski, Cynthia Chase, Shoshana ...

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1 The Face of Experience

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pp. 1-43

Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding stands in a peculiar relation to the tradition that it founded. On the one hand, the school known as associationism, represented most prominently by David Hartley, depended on Locke's assertion that ideas are derived from experience. ...

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2 Past Recognition: Narrative Origins in Wordsworth and Freud

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pp. 44-57

The word ego has a place in the discourse of Romantic literature, but to speak today of the "Romantic ego," or to read Romantic texts in terms of other psychoanalytic concepts, is necessarily to juxtapose two different discourses: Romantic and psychoanalytic. 1 And this is also to suggest that our self-understanding, as articulated within psychoanalytic ...

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3 The Force of Example: Kant's Symbols

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pp. 58-85

Recent literary theory has raised objections to what appears to be an overexclusivc concern with "language" in poststructuralist literary criticism. While literary texts are linguistic constructs, so critics have argued, language itself must be seen in a historical and social context. Literary criticism must ...

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4 Signs of Love

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pp. 86-131

Sigmund Freud's writings on sexuality can be seen as a persistent attempt to understand the error of experience through its relation to a past. The mind's experience of itself in love, Freud suggests, is always in error; and it is sexuality which displays this error as the blindness, of love, to its own history. ...

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Conclusion: Mourning Experience

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pp. 132-137

The latent project of the present volume has been to open up the possibility of a rethinking of empiricism in order to attempt to understand anew the critical traditions that are defined in terms of it. In the prevailing understanding of these traditions, which is based on the explicit claims of the texts that constitute their corpus, English empiricism (of which Locke is one of the main writers) is often represented as the less ...

Notes

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pp. 139-162

Index

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pp. 163-167