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The unconscious, cornerstone of psychoanalysis, was a key twentieth-century concept and retains an enormous influence on psychological and cultural theory. Yet there is a surprising lack of investigation into its roots in the critical philosophy and Romantic psychology of the early nineteenth century, long before Freud. Why did the unconscious emerge as such a powerful idea? And why at that point? This interdisciplinary study breaks new ground in tracing the emergence of the unconscious through the work of philosopher Friedrich Schelling, examining his association with Romantic psychologists, anthropologists and theorists of nature. It sets out the beginnings of a neglected tradition of the unconscious psyche and proposes a compelling new argument: that the unconscious develops from the modern need to theorise individual independence. The book assesses the impact of this tradition on psychoanalysis itself, re-reading Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams in the light of broader post-Enlightenment attempts to theorise individuality.
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This study of the emergence of a psychology of the 'unconscious' in the Romantic period provides a fascinating account of the rise and role of the 'unconscious' in modernity. It draws together interdisciplinary research that will appeal to readers from psychology, psychoanalysis, philosophy, Romanticism and intellectual history.About the Author:
Dr Matt Ffytche has lectured in the Department of English and the Department of History at Queen Mary, University of London, and is now a Lecturer in Psychoanalytic Studies at the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex. He is co-editor of the web-based digital archive, 'Deviance, Disorder and the Self'. His research focuses on the history of psychoanalysis and critical theories of subjectivity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
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