Unveiling the fantasies that drove the Enlightenment and created modern literature
Nathan Gorelick’s The Unwritten Enlightenment: Literature between Ideology and the Unconscious traces the relations between literary criticism and psychoanalysis to their shared origins in the Enlightenment era’s novels and novelistic discourse, where the period’s efforts to invent new notions of subjectivity and individualism are most apparent. Gorelick shows how modern concepts of literature and the unconscious were generated in response to these efforts and by an ethical concern for what the language of the Enlightenment excludes, represses, or struggles to erase. Troubling the idea of the Enlightenment on its own terms, subverting its supposed authority from within, Gorelick thus reveals the workings of unconscious fantasy at the foundations of our contemporary political realities. The Unwritten Enlightenment makes clear that to criticize the Enlightenment’s deficiencies, ambiguities, and legacies of violence without regard for the unconscious fantasies that drive them risks reproducing the very patterns of thought, action, and imagination that the Enlightenment novel already unsettles.
Acknowledgments Introduction: Literature, the Unconscious, the Enlightenment I. The New World Delusion: Robinson Crusoe and the Psychosis of Enlightenment II. Pedagogy of the Repressed: Rousseau, Sade, and the End of Education III. The Novel — Broken Sex Machine: Tristram Shandy and the Writing of the Impossible Epilogue: Between Ideology and the Unconscious Bibliography Notes
NATHAN GORELICK is an assistant professor in the Department of English at Barnard College.
"This is the work of a confident and erudite thinker, offering startlingly brilliant formulations on every page and lucid distinctions that powerfully integrate philosophy, politics, and poetics. Nathan Gorelick faithfully champions the literary in prose that is commanding and often beautiful.” —Anna Kornbluh, University of Illinois, Chicago
“Nathan Gorelick’s bold intervention into the interdisciplinary framing of psychoanalysis explores the ways that literature informs its critical capacity. As he moves from conception to illustration, his textual work rethinks the Enlightenment, resituates psychoanalysis, and repositions literature’s critical mission.” —Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai’i, Manoa
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