Рубрика: Narcissism and Its Discontents

Concluding remarks

In the Introduction to this book we considered Freud’s ‘three blows’ the­ory of scientific development where man was thrice deposed from his central station in the universe; once by Copernicus, twice by Darwin, and then, of course, by Freud himself with the revelation that ‘the ego […] is not even master in its own house’ […]

Re-turning to narcissism?

In her work of 1997, The Psychic Life of Power, Judith Butler foregrounds the figure of the ‘turn’ as the key to understanding the ‘becoming’ of the reflexive subject (30). In contrast to sociological framings of reflexivity (Chapter 4), Butler’s presentation helps us to think further about the conceptual difficulties inherent in what we recognised […]

Narcissism and melancholia

Written in 1915 (though not published until 1917), ‘Mourning and Melancholia’ extends the work of Freud’s paper ‘On Narcissism’ of the previous year. The translation of Freud’s 1914 title ‘Zur Einfuhrung Des Narzissmus’ as ‘On Narcissism: An Introduction’, suggests that the paper promises an introductory sketch of narcissism, whereas the German title indicates that the […]

Impersonal narcissism

The contemporary theorist Leo Bersani has made the prospect of narcis­sism as an aesthetic social principle central to his work. In his seminal text The Culture of Redemption (1990), he locates the ‘aesthetic of narcis­sism’ as pivotal to his development of a ‘general ethical-erotic project’, identifying in Freud’s 1914 essay the possibility of reading narcissism […]

After narrative

Our focus in this chapter on the high point of cultural critiques of narcissism from the mid-seventies to the mid-eighties, has left open the question of narcissism’s discursive circulation beyond this historical moment. There is no doubt something in the claim that, with hind­sight, the type of narratives explored above look to have been ‘rather […]

Lasch’s ‘new Narcissus’

Lasch conceives his new Narcissus in relation to the character-type of the ‘American Adam’ whose ‘rugged individualism’ and ‘unbridled egotism’, we are told, were much celebrated in nineteenth-century American literature (1991, 10-11). Lasch is quick to point out, how­ever, that the resemblance drawn between the two characters on the grounds of a shared ‘imperial’ sense […]