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프로이트, 라캉, 그리고 T. S. 엘리엇 읽기
Freud, Lacan, and Reading T. S. Eliot

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    Psychoanalysis has opened a new way of reading literature. If literature reveals the unconscious of the writer, it also provides a venue for him to work out his own psychological problems. Writing in this sense can become a writing cure for the writer. We can assume that Eliot has a lot of psychological hang-ups by reading his text. His psychological conflict derives from the gap between his desire to maintain order and the reality which defies his desire. His psychological conflict is so strong that he has to work it out in his text. Reading his text, therefore, is to trace how he goes through the process of writing cure. Eliot's psychological frustration unexpectedly surfaces in his description of the metaphysical poets. He says that they “possessed a mechanism of sensibility which could devour any kind of experience.” The word “devour” in the above quotation vicariously shows Eliot's aggressivity. When this aggressivity is turned inward toward himself, it becomes a kind of phobia of being devoured by unpleasant people or things. A good example of this kind of phobia is shown by “Hysteria”, in which the male speaker is afraid of being devoured by the woman character. This phobia makes Eliot fend for himself in his poems. In “Prufrock,” for example, the speaker shows to have regressed to the oral stage as defense mechanism. This is why there are so many oral images in this poem such as: “To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways.” In The Waste Land, on the other hand, Eliot shows his fear of destruction of the Western Civilization manifested by the savagery of the World War I. By the time Eliot comes to write Four Quartets, however, he has cured himself of psychological hang-ups by writing. This is seen by the restored role of time in this poem, which can be contrasted with the fragmented time in The Waste Land.


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