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The Case of LiteratureForensic Narratives from Goethe to Kafka$
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Arne Höcker

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501749353

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501749353.001.0001

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Freud’s Cases

Freud’s Cases

(p.157) 9 Freud’s Cases
The Case of Literature

Arne Höcker

Cornell University Press

This chapter assesses Sigmund Freud's case histories in his 1895 Studies on Hysteria. Far from removing literature from the psychological context, Freud shifts the focus regarding the function of literary fiction for psychological cognition from authorship to form. The question of literary form initially appears in Freud in connection with his case histories on hysteria and with the problem of casuistic representation. Freud, however, reverses the prevalent criminological perspective when he notes a certain proximity of his own scientific case histories to literature. This comparison concerns less the scientific value of Freud's case histories than it does literary fiction and its reality value, and, thus, his contribution to new conceptions of literary realism.

Keywords:   Sigmund Freud, case histories, Studies on Hysteria, literature, literary fiction, literary form, casuistic representation, literary realism

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