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Title: Reading Transference: Psychoanalysis and Translation
Authors: Potente, Paula Candela
Advisors: Conisbee Baer, Ben
Contributors: Comparative Literature Department
Keywords: Concepts
Subjects: Comparative literature
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation presents an articulation between the psychoanalytic concept of transference and what I propose to understand as the translation of concepts, drawing on Sigmund Freud’s and Jacques Lacan’s understanding of transference in neurosis and psychosis, as well as on the work of three different analysts that have addressed the translatability of psychoanalysis in different ways: Moustapha Safouan (Egypt-France, 1921-2020), Girindrasekhar Bose (India, 1887-1953), and Marie Langer (Austria-Argentina, 1920-1987). I argue that the concept of transference provides a novel perspective to understand the changes that concepts undergo in their transnational circulation and throughout historical periods. As the concept that defines the relationship between analyst and analysand in the psychoanalytic setting, transference is always situated in specific relationships but, at the same time, the formulation and understanding of the concept of transference requires a perception of how a relationship is being structured, which exceeds the contingent character of any given relationship. These structural aspects, while non-contingent themselves, can only be understood through the contingent relationship in which they are manifesting in the present.I analyze the relationship between transference and fiction in order to understand the characteristics of the knowledge that is formed in the analytic situation, and how it is the artificial character of transference that reveals its truth in analysis. Through an examination of transference in relation to psychosis, I argue that a form of transference is present in the process of reading and writing, and explore the limits of the Freudian understanding of transference. The Lacanian theory of psychosis and transference offers a different perspective on transference and fiction, and it is in this context that I argue for a conceptual kind of translation, in this case from neurosis to psychosis. This translation within European psychoanalysis opens up the question of translation across geographies and historical periods. The work of Moustapha Safouan presents a reflection on the universality of the Oedipus complex, and in this framework, I examine the particular kind of translation of this concept in the work of Girindrasekhar Bose. Finally, I explore the work of Marie Langer, who carried out several translations in her psychoanalytic practice and developed a critique of neutrality that emphasizes the fact that ideology always enters the analytic setting.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Comparative Literature

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