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Writing and Madness: (Literature/Philosophy/Psychoanalysis)
by Shoshana Felman
translated by Martha Evans
Stanford University Press, 2003
Cloth: 978-0-8047-4448-5 | Paper: 978-0-8047-4449-2

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | TOC | REQUEST ACCESSIBLE FILE
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Writing and Madness is Shoshana Felman's most influential work of literary theory and criticism. Exploring the relations between literature, philosophy, and psychoanalysis through brilliant studies of Balzac, Nerval, Flaubert, and James, as well as Lacan, Foucault, and Derrida, this book seeks the specificity of literature in its relation to what culture excludes under the label "madness." Why and how do literary writers reclaim the discourse of the madman, and how does this reclaiming reveal something essential about the relation between literature and power, as well as between literature and knowledge?

Every literary text continues to communicate with madness—with what has been excluded, decreed abnormal, unacceptable, or senseless—by dramatizing a dynamically revitalized relation between sense and nonsense, reason and unreason, the readable and the unreadable. This revelation of the irreducibility of the relation between the readable and the unreadable constitutes what the author calls la chose littéraire—the literary thing.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY
Shoshana Felman is Thomas E. Donnelley Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Yale University. Her books include Literature and Psychoanalysis, Testimony, and (most recently) The Juridical Unconscious: Trials and Traumas in the Twentieth Century. Her The Scandal of the Speaking Body: Don Juan with J. L. Austin, or Seduction in Two Languages, is being reissued in a new edition by Stanford University Press, with a Foreword by Stanley Cavell and an Afterword by Judith Butler.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
  • CONTENTS 
    • The Story of the Book Seen Retrospectively: Preface to the New Edition
    • Introduction: Writing and Madness, or Why This Book?
    • PART ONE: 
    • MADNESS AND PHILOSOPHY
      • Foucault/Derrida: The Madness of the Thinking/Speaking Subject
    • PART TWO: 
    • MADNESS AND LITERATURE
      • Gérard de Nerval: Writing Living, or Madness as Autobiography
      • Gustave Flaubert: Living Writing, or Madness as Cliché
      • Honoré de Balzac: Madness, Ideology, and the Economy of Discourse
    • PART THREE: 
    • MADNESS AND PSYCHOANALYSIS
      • Jacques Lacan: Madness and the Risks of Theory (The Uses of Misprision)
      • Henry James: Madness and the Risks of Practice (Turning the Screw of Interpretation)
    • AFTERTHOUGHTS
      • Madness and the Literary: Toward the Question of the Book
    • APPENDIX: INTERVIEWS
      • The Literary Thing (Interview with Jacques-Alain Miller)
      • The Literary Thing, Its Madness, Its Power (Interview with Philippe Sollers)
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