Freud's Italian Journey

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Rodopi, 2006 - Psychology - 282 pages
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Freud's Italian Journey takes the psychoanalytical texts of Freud on the visual arts and literature as its objects for analysis. While the biographical figure of Freud appears throughout its pages, it is not simply a psychobiographical reading of Freud, his personal circumstances and their relationship to his texts. Rather the processes of interpretation begun by Freud are turned on Freud himself, thus eventually displacing and questioning his theoretical mastery. Freud's Italian Journey also argues that Freud's interest in, frequent journeys to, and obsession with Italy profoundly shaped and informed his elaboration of psychoanalysis. The volume organizes its material around the major Italian cities which were the destinations of Freud's travel, and the sites of the artworks he examined. Freud's many Italian holidays were crucial for his self-analysis and methodology, but it is also argued here that his papers on Italian subjects must be read as texts marked by fascination and allurement, crossed with anxiety and resistance, inscribed by memory and forgetting. Journeys to Italy heightened Freud's sense of the visual, and it is contended that the visual dimension of Freud's writing is crucial to an understanding of his elaboration of the theory of psychoanalysis. The relation between image and text is at the heart of Freud's analysis of works of art as he founds a critical methodology in which the two are interrelated, image illustrating idea and idea needing to express itself in image, but neither finally resolvable into the other. Thus the argument of Freud's Italian Journey follows as its model the famous elaboration of the fort: da game by Freud, moving back and forth between Freud's life and his texts, between psychoanalytical and philosophical systems, between the written and the visual. This leads to the broader conclusion that Freud might provide the key to a new practice of criticism, and a new way of 'seeing' and understanding visual images.

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Italy Itzigs Principle
Trieste Eyes that do not see
Orvieto Forgetting Details
Rome I All roads lead there
Pompeii Stepping Stones
Milan Freuds eye and Leonardos tail
Rome II The Monument of Ornament
Going a long way
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About the author (2006)

Laurence Simmons was formerly the Head of the Italian Department at the University of Auckland, New Zealand and is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Film, Television and Media Studies. He has published widely on contemporary art and film and has co-edited three volumes on the work of Jacques Derrida, Jean Baudrillard and Slavoj Zizek.

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