The aesthetic unconscious / Jacques Ranciere; translated by Debra Keates and James Swenson

| June 7, 2011

Title: The aesthetic unconscious
Author: Jacques Rancière ; translated by Debra Keates and James Swenson
Publisher: Cambridge Malden, MA : Polity, c2009
Check it out: BH301.P78 R3613 2009

From the Publisher: This book is not concerned with the use of Freudian concepts for the interpretation of literary and artistic works. Rather, it is concerned with why this interpretation plays such an important role in demonstrating the contemporary relevance of psychoanalytic concepts.

In order for Freud to use the Oedipus complex as a means for the interpretation of texts, it was necessary first of all for a particular notion of Oedipus, belonging to the Romantic reinvention of Greek antiquity, to have produced a certain idea of the power of that thought which does not think, and the power of that speech which remains silent.

From this it does not follow that the Freudian unconscious was already prefigured by the aesthetic unconscious. Freud’s ‘aesthetic’ analyses reveal instead a tension between the two forms of unconscious. In this concise and brilliant text Rancière brings out this tension and shows us what is at stake in this confrontation.

About the authors

On the Web: ‘One of today’s foremost French philosophers offers here a fascinating and illuminating take on the relevance of Freudian concepts and psychoanalytic interpretations, as emerging from the yet to be discovered meaning of the 19th century aesthetic revolution. In a philosophical dialogue with Lyotard, Ranciere contends that the Freudian inheritance that valorizes pathos over logos, goes against the grain of Freud’s own effort to maintain their equal coexistence and inseparability: to preserve at once the pathos of the sickness and the logos of the cure. This erudite and brilliant book is a must-read for students of art, philosophy and psychoanalysis alike.’
Shoshana Felman, Author of Testimony (Crises of Witnessing), and The Juridical Unconscious