Abstract

The author of this essay makes two points in order to argue that Hawthorne’s fiction includes elements of what could be called a pre-Freudian psychoanalysis. First, leaving aside psychological themes that others have discovered in Hawthorne’s writing, he attends to Hawthorne’s interest in the expressive manner of psychological process, arguing that the exposition of such works as The Scarlet Letter anticipates the way that some psychoanalysts think about symbolization as a tool for bringing inchoate psychic material into provisional intelligibility. Second, he contends that for Hawthorne the elusive whatever toward which that symbolization works its way ultimately proves insoluble, enlisting on this point several psychoanalytic thinkers who propose a chastened outcome for analysis: a roughed-out, pragmatic itinerary for an ongoing encounter with an intractable nonknowledge.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9595
Print ISSN
0004-1610
Pages
pp. 27-57
Launched on MUSE
2015-09-24
Open Access
No
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