Housing Problems: Writing and Architecture in Goethe, Walpole, Freud, and Heidegger

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Stanford University Press, 2008 - Literary Criticism - 193 pages
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In Housing Problems, Susan Bernstein studies the actual houses of Goethe, Walpole, and Freud alongside textual articulations of the architectonic problems of design, containment, shelter, and fragmentation. The linking of "text" and "house" brings into focus the historical tradition that has established a symmetry between design and instance, interior and exterior, author and house—an often unexamined fantasy of historicism. Taking as its point of departure Goethe's efforts to establish such a synthesis through the concept of Bildung, the book traces the destabilization of this symmetry between house and self in Gothic literature and in narratives surrounding the founding of psychoanalysis. The interest in architecture holds open the tension between the generalizing figures of architectonics and the singular quality of housing features. These continue to mark theoretical thinking even as they dissolve and withdraw, as in Heidegger's "house of Being."

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About the author (2008)

Susan Bernstein is Professor of Comparative Literature and German Studies at Brown University. She is the author of Virtuosity of the Nineteenth Century: Performing Music and Language in Heine, Liszt, and Baudelaire (Stanford, 1998).

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