Sigmund Freud's studies in psychoanalysis are uncannily fore-grounded in the late romantic period. The works of William Wordsworth, Percy B. Shelley, Lord Byron, and Mary Shelley, all function as poetic preludes to Freud's 18th century field. Particularly, it is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein that creates a fictional rendering for psychoanalyst. In Frankenstein, Victor's rejection of the Monster metaphorically represents the ego's rejection of the unconscious. Following from this metaphorical paradigm, Freud's theories on narcissism, the libido theory, the doppelganger, neurosis, and the Oedipus-complex all resonate in the pages of Frankenstein. After a brief introduction to narcissism and the libido theory, a psychoanalytic character study of Victor and the monster will be preformed. Finally, the romantic works of Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and Wordsworth will further demonstrate the Freudian phenomenon.
Freud declares that mankind has suffered three major blows, the "destruction of the narcissistic illusion" (Freud, "One of the Difficulties of Psycho-Analysis," 5), that permanently destabilized how individuals envisioned themselves in relation to the exterior world. These three blows were: The Cosmological, where the Copernican Revolution dislodged mankind from the center of the universe. Secondly, The Biological, where Darwin reunited man and beast as equals, and the third, Freud's own contribution, The Psychological, where mankind cannot trust his own thoughts: "What is in your mind is not identical with what you are conscious of; whether something is going on in your mind and whether you hear of it, are two different things" (Freud, "One of the Difficulties to Psycho-Analys...
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...rate mankind's departure from narcissism and its multiple complexities. However, as Freud would agree, the fact that the workings of psychoanalysis existed long before its publishing is metaphorically exalted in the Romantic era.
Bennett, Betty T. & Charles E. Robinson, ed. Frankenstein. By Mary Shelley. Boston: Oxford University Press, 1990.
Freud, Sigmund. Introductory Lectures to Psycho-Analysis. Ed. James Strachey.
New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1965.
—"One of the Difficulties of Psycho-Analysis." 1917.
—" Some Character Types of Psycho-Analytic Work." 1915.
—"The Uncanny." 1919.
Shelley, Percy B. "On Love." Romanticism: An Anthology. Wu, Duncan, ed. Malden: Blackwell, 1998. 849-850.
Wordsworth, William. [from The Prelude] "Crossing the Alps." Romanticism: An Anthology. Wu, Duncan, ed. Malden: Blackwell, 1998. 389-392.
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