Psychoanalysis, Literature, Culture

Subject ENGL40001 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

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

This subject is not offered in 2011.

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: Students who have previously completed 106-403 Reading the Subject: Freud/Fiction/Lacan are not eligible to enrol in this subject.
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


David Bennett

Subject Overview:

This subject provides an introduction to Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalytic theory and its critical applications to the interpretation of twentieth-century literary, cinematic and television texts. Structured as an investigation into both psychoanalytic and fictive representations of different kinds of ‘subject’ in the modern and postmodern periods (e.g., the Oedipal subject, the hysterical subject, the schizophrenic subject, the colonial subject, the subject of looking, etc.), it examines psychoanalysis’s contributions to defining and interpreting such subjects and their desires, together with some of the challenges and criticisms that the psychoanalytic tradition has attracted in both fiction and theory.


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.
Assessment: A class paper presentation of 1000 words 10% and an essay of 4000 words 90% (due at the end of semester). Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed. All required written work must be submitted in order to pass the subject. Assessment submitted late without an approved formal extension will be penalised at 2% per day.
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
English and Theatre
Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Screen and Cultural Studies

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