What is character, as distinct from symptom, in the psychoanalytic sense? What are its connection to character in the narratological sense? What knowledge, both clinical and aesthetic can we glean from the concept of character, as developed by Freud?
To open up these questions, I would like to turn not only to Freud’s essays on character, but also to the early Project for a Scientific Psychology” (1895) where Freud identifies two primal experiences:the experience of pain (which needs anxiety and heightens quantum) and the experience of satisfaction (which engenders a wishful state). The addition and subtraction Freud refers to in the Project are correlative to a distinction he make the 1914 article “On Psychotherapy.” Freud distinguishes psychoanalytic praxis from other forms of cure via a distinction from the field of Renaissance art theory: sculpting and writing per via di levare (by way of subtraction) and per via di porre (by way of addition).
In the seminar, I would like to explore the connections between the literary category of character as dramatis persona and the psychoanalytic category of character as a particular form of psychic writing by addition, generated by the residues of primal trauma, the subject׳s first encounter with pain, whose resonances in the cultural sphere include the phenomenon of sculpture.
Freud, S. Project on Scientific Psychology (sections on the experience of pain and experience of satisfaction). (L’Esquisse)
Freud, S. “On Psychotherapy”
Freud, S. “Character and Anal Eroticism”
Freud, S. “Some Character Types Met with in Psychoanalytic Work.” (InEssais de Psychanalyse appliquée)
Alberti, L. B. De statua (available on line)
Leonardo, “On Painting” (in The Literary Works of Leonardo da Vinci
Shakespeare, W.Henry V(Prologue)
Shakespeare, W.Richard III (opening soliloquy.
Shirley Zisser practices psychoanalysis near Tel Aviv, Israel, and is a member of the New Lacanian School (NLS) and World Association of Psychoanalysis (AMP). She teaches psychoanalysis at the ‘Lacanian Network’ in Israel and is an Associate Professor of English at Tel Aviv University. Her work focuses on the interrelations between rhetorical theory and Lacanian psychoanalysis, especially as concerns the relation of word anf flesh. Besides numerous articles, her publications include The Risks of Simile in Renaissance Rhetoric (2001), ‘Death is the Mother of Beauty’ (2015, with Efrat Biberman, English version Art, Death and Lacanian Psychoanalysis published by Routledge 2018), Critical Essays on Shakespeare’s ‘A Lover’s Complaint’: Suffering Ecstasy (2005, ed.), and Lacanian Interpretations of Shakespeare (2009, ed).