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Instructor Info:Scott Branson
Office Extension x413-559-6216
Term: 2014S
Meeting Info: Monday Wednesday
02:30 PM - 03:50 PM Emily Dickinson Hall (EDH) 2
02:30 PM - 03:50 PM Emily Dickinson Hall (EDH) 2
Description: Freud remarked that his case histories read like short stories, and it was this intersection of genres that allowed him to arrive at an understanding of the suffering of his patients. The reading and writing of case histories, whether legal, medical, or psychological, give us access to the way narrative forms come to structure and determine our lives. The case history proceeds on two registers-a written text that also includes its own interpretation, its own reading-which gives it a special connection to the study of literature and literary interpretation. In this course, we will start by reading Freud's case histories and proceed to a cross-cultural selection of modern novels and stories alongside psychoanalytic theory. The following questions will guide our reading: How does the case history allow us to imagine the limits of normativity? How does it allow us to rethink the place of character in fiction? Can a literary text be treated as a case history? Can the case history, as a practical attempt to ease the suffering of a patient, teach us something about the relation of the body to writing?