Reading the Subject: Freud/Fiction/Lacan

Subject ENGL40001 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

On campus

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2
Total Time Commitment: 120
Prerequisites: Admission to the postgraduate certificate, diploma or fourth year honours in English, cultural studies, or gender studies.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: None


Assoc Prof David Bennett


David Bennett

Subject Overview:

The subject provides an introduction to the basic tenets of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalytic theory and some of the challenges and criticisms they have attracted. It examines the influences of psychoanalysis on representations of subjectivity and identity in 20th-century literature, film and television, the uses of psychoanalytic theory for critical interpretation of fictive texts, and the uses of fiction for critical interpretation of psychoanalysis.

Objectives: Students who complete this subject will:
  • have acquired familiarity with the basic tenets of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalytic theories of subject-formation and some of the ways in which they have been challenged and revised;
  • have examined the influence of psychoanalytic perspectives on literary and film criticism in the twentieth century; and
  • have examined ways in which fictive texts can present critiques of psychoanalytic theories and practices.

A class paper presentation of 1000 words 10% and an essay of 4000 words 90% (due at the end of semester). A hurdle requirement of attendance and participation in a minimum of 9 seminars. Assessment submitted late without an approved formal extension will be penalised at 2% per day. Students who fail to submit within 2 weeks after the final due date without a formal extension and/or special consideration will receive a fail grade for the piece of assessment.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

  • Waiting for the Barbarians (J M Coetzee), Penguin
  • The History of Sexuality (Vol. 1) (M Foucault), Random House
  • The Freud Reader (P Gay (ed)), Vintage
  • The White Hotel (D M Thomas)
  • Mrs Dalloway (V Woolf), Penguin
  • Vertigo (Film)

Recommended Texts:
  • Psychoanalytic Theory: An Introduction (Recommended reading: A Elliott), Blackwell
  • An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis (D Evans), Routledge
  • A Primer of Freudian Psychology (C S Hall), Mentor
  • Psychoanalytic Criticism: Theory in Practice (E Wright), Methuen
  • Freud: A Very Short Introduction (A Storr), OUP
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: Students who successfully complete this subject will:
  • have advanced research and analytic skills;

  • develop critical and ethical self-awareness; and

  • have the ability to develop and communicate effective arguments in both oral and written form.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Cultural Studies
Cultural Studies
Cultural Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies

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