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The Medusa Effect
Representation and Epistemology in Victorian Aesthetics
The Medusa Effect
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Thomas Albrecht - Author
SUNY series in Psychoanalysis and Culture
Price: $75.00 
Hardcover - 176 pages
Release Date: December 2009
ISBN10: N/A
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-2867-3

Quantity:  
Price: $25.95 
Paperback - 176 pages
Release Date: July 2010
ISBN10: N/A
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-2868-0

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Examines images of horror in Victorian fiction, criticism, and philosophy.

Focusing on the recurring metaphor of Medusa’s head, The Medusa Effect examines images of horror in texts by Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, and a series of Victorian artists and critics writing about aesthetics. Through nuanced and innovative readings of canonical works by Freud, Nietzsche, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Walter Pater, A. C. Swinburne, and George Eliot, Thomas Albrecht demonstrates the twofold nature of these writers’ images of horror. On the one hand, the analysis illuminates how the representation of something seen as horrifying—for instance, a disturbing work of art, an existential insight, or a recognition of the fundamental inaccessibility of another person’s consciousness—can serve a protective purpose, to defend the writer in some way against the horror he or she encounters. On the other hand, the representations themselves can be a potential threat—epistemologically unreliable, for instance, or illusory, deceptive, fundamentally unstable, and potentially dangerous to the writers. Through a psychoanalytically informed literary analysis, The Medusa Effect explores crucial ethical and epistemological questions of Victorian aesthetics, as well as underexamined complexities of the mechanisms of Victorian literary representation.

“…an elegant study in rhetorical analysis.” — Victorian Studies

“Thomas Albrecht brings a radically different approach to aesthetics—psychoanalytic and poststructuralist rather than historicist—in The Medusa Effect.” — Studies in English Literature

Thomas Albrecht is Associate Professor of English at Tulane University and the editor (with Georgia Albert and Elizabeth Rottenberg) of Selected Writings by Sarah Kofman.


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: The Medusa Effect

1. Apotropaic Reading: Freud’s Medusenhaupt

2. A “Monstrous” Opposition: The Double Dionysus and the Double Apollo in Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy

3. Two Impressions of Medusa: Walter Pater and A. C. Swinburne

4. Sympathy and Telepathy: Th e Problem of Ethics in George Eliot’s The Lifted Veil

Conclusion

Notes
Bibliography
Index


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