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Pathologies of the Modern Self GE218 FRIDAYS 10-12, H2.02.

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Präsentation zum Thema: "Pathologies of the Modern Self GE218 FRIDAYS 10-12, H2.02."—  Präsentation transkript:

1 Pathologies of the Modern Self GE218 FRIDAYS 10-12, H2.02

2 basics  what?  when and where?  who?  why?

3 “pathology” 1) study of the essential nature of diseases and of the changes produced by them 1) something abnormal - disease (deviation from healthy state) - deviation from a “normal” state

4 “pathology”  medical term, e.g. the pathology of lung diseases  metaphorical term, e.g. the pathology of joblessness  both relevant for this course

5 “modernity”  “modernity”:  focus on late 19 th century / early 20 th century  period characterised by rise of science, medicine  decline of religious world view

6 modernity and rise of science  Charles Darwin ( ): On the Origin of Species by means of natural selection (1859)  theory of evolution: different concept of the human

7 On the Origin of Species (1859) Theory of evolution / natural selection

8 modernity and secularization  Friedrich Nietzsche ( ): “Gott ist tot! Gott bleibt tot! Und wir haben ihn getötet!” [Aph. 125: ‘Der tolle Mensch’, in Die fröhliche Wissenschaft (1882)]

9 “Psyche” Greek word for “mind”

10 the “psychs”  psychology (late 19 th century)  psychoanalysis (late 19 th century, S. Freud)  psychotherapy (20 th century)  psychiatry (19 th century)

11 sexology  explosion of scientific interest in sexual deviance in late 19 th century  modern secular “sin” examined and treated by the “psyches”  compare to sin and confession!

12 our focus  late 19 th century / early 20 th century  early stages of modern psychiatry (Richard von Krafft- Ebing, )  beginnings of psychoanalysis (Sigmund Freud, )

13 overarching questions  how does modernist literature reflect the scientific recasting of the human during this period?  how do psychiatry and psychoanalysis draw on the literary?

14 psychiatry  German-speaking Europe – psychiatry’s birthplace in second half of 19 th century  first Professor of Psychiatry, Berlin 1864 (Griesinger) – 6 by 1882  (first Professor of Psychiatry in England 1948)

15 psychiatry  focus on nervous system  effort to elucidate “degeneration” thought to underlie mental illnesses  mental illness: sign of pathology, deviation from norm

16 psychoanalysis  founded by Viennese neurologist, Sigmund Freud in late 19 th century  also originated in German-speaking Europe  very influential in West throughout 20 th century

17 psychoanalysis  concept of unconscious mind  repression of sexual drives therein  produces neuroses…  …to be treated in psychoanalytical therapy

18 the modern sexual perversions  homosexuality  sadism  masochism  fetishism  voyeurism  exhibitionism

19 pathology as modern “sin”  Christian concept of sexual sin replaced with biological and psychological models  sexual deviance no longer a crime against nature / God, or sinful or immoral behaviour  rather it is unnatural, sick, pathological

20 nihilism  modernity as decadence, decline and degeneration  the “psyches” to explain urban pressures of modernity: growth in crime, insanity, alcoholism, prostitution  civilization as a polluting force

21 Richard von Krafft-Ebing ( )  groundbreaking study Psychopathia Sexualis (1886), reprinted 12 times  Psychopathia Sexualis, mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der conträren Sexualempfindung: Eine klinische Studie  Pyschopathia Sexualis, with Especial Reference to Contrary Sexual Instinct: A Medico-Forensic Study

22 Psychopathia Sexualis  “a mental disease characterised by sexual perversion”  theorisation of sexual “perversions”  “abnormal” categories, e.g. sadism, masochism  pathological medical condition for which patient cannot be held responsible

23 Psychopathia Sexualis  first attempt to establish nosology of secular perversions, many of which were crimes  draws substantially on literary representations of sexual deviance  literature as evidence for existence of perversions (Venus im Pelz), alongside clinical examples

24 Psychopathia Sexualis  emphasises role of fantasy and imagination  literature as a corrupting force, literary figures as decadent, e.g. the poet Charles Baudelaire

25  “Baudelaire entstammt einer Familie von Irren und Ueberspannten. Er war von Jugend auf psychisch abnorm. Entschieden krankhaft war sein Vita sexualis. Er hatte Liebesverhältnisse mit hässlichen, widerwärtigen Personen, Negerinnen, Zwerginnen, Riesinnen. Gegen eine sehr schöne Frau äusserte er den Wunsch, sie an den Händen aufgehängt zu sehen und ihr die Füsse küssen zu dürfen. Diese Schwärmerei für den nackten Fuss erscheint in einem seiner fieberglühenden Gedichte als Aequivalent für den Geschlechtsgenuss.” PS, 118

26  “Baudelaire was descended from a family of insane and eccentric persons […]. He experience morbid passions in love. He loved ugly and horrible women, negresses, dwarfs, giantesses; to a very beautiful woman he expressed a desire that he might see her suspended by the hands to the ceiling that he might kiss her feet; and kissing the naked foot appears in one of his poems as the equivalent of the sexual act.” [Cesare Lombroso, The Man of Genius, 1891)

27 “perversion”  “jede Auesserung des Geschlechtstriebs […], die nicht den Zwecken der Natur, d. h. der Fortpflanzung entspricht”. Psychopathia Sexualis, 56  “every expression of [the sexual instinct] that does not correspond with the purpose of nature – i.e. propagation”.

28 perversity v. perversion  Perversität: vice, “Laster”  Perversion: disease, “Krankheit”, psycho-pathological condition

29 Sadismus / sadism  “Die Verbindung von aktiver Grausamkeit und Gewalttätigkeit mit Wollust”, Pyschopathia Sexualis, 57 [the combination of active cruelty and violence with sexual desire / lechery]  driven by “Zorn” (anger)  morbid desire to subjugate and control (female) object  gender politics: dominant male / dominated female

30 Masochismus / masochism  “Die Verbindung passiv erduldeter Grausamkeit und Gewalttätigkeit mit Wollust.” PS, 89 [the combination of passively endured cruelty and violence with sexual desire / lechery]  reversal of gender power relations  “Für den Masochisten ist die Unterwerfung under das Weib die Hauptsache”, PS,

31 modernity as crisis of masculinity  rise of women (First Women’s Movement), late nineteenth / early twentieth centuries  questioning of masculine identity  historical backdrop: the decline of empire (Habsburg Monarchy)  major themes in both Sacher-Masoch and Kafka

32 Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor (1979)  “Disease metaphors are used to judge society not as out of balance but as repressive.” Illness as Metaphor, 74  “Throughout the nineteenth century, disease metaphors become more virulent, preposterous, demagogic. And there is an increasing tendency to call any situation one disapproves of a disease. Disease, which could be considered as much a part of nature as is health, became the synonym of whatever was ‘unnatural’.” Illness as Metaphor, 75

33 sexual perversion as metaphor  sado-masochism: gender warfare and ambivalent power relations  masochism: decline of masculinity, authority, empire  critical take on patriarchal culture and bourgeois morality with its emphasis on work, duty and marriage  sexual perversion / “pleasure”: a form of opting out of filial, familial and social responsibilities


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