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Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 13:46:20 -0600
From: [log in to unmask] (Aguirre)


I write in response to A W R Chapman's comment on literary criticism that
may concentrate on one particular literary character, more the following
quotation:

">My personal feeling is that rather than treating literary characters as
>analysands, it should be the *text* as a whole. Now obviously the whole
>business of literary criticism is about analysing texts, but not more
>specifically treating them as a "mind". A text as a whole has conscious and
>unconscious levels, manifest and latent, and indeed "parents" (the author
>and the world the author responds to and relates with), in a far more
>sophisticated way than any one character within that text can. It would be
>better to think of "Hamlet" qua text as a mind worth psychoanalysing and
>Hamlet the Dane as merely a complex that is part of that textual "mind"."

If Lacan has taught us literary critics anything it is in the complex
transference that go on between the "Other" of the text and our own
unconscious.  So to assume that a "whole" text is (any) more worthy of
study than fragments of a text is to assume that we react (dialogue) with a
text only as a whole.  It is also to assume that a "text" is complete, with
presence, which may not be an accurate assumption.

Robert Aguirre
University of Nebraska-Lincoln