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Murdoch «vs.» Freud

A Freudian Look at an Anti-Freudian


Jack Turner

This first book-length discussion of the Iris Murdoch-Sigmund Freud connection shows her resistance to his theories to be based on her essential mysticism, her apparent need both to venerate and castrate her father, and her participation in an antirationalist trend. Her feud with Freud leads to a dialectic between religion and science in her novels, with Freud her favorite straw man, even while she employs his ideas to predict and provoke desired reader responses. Freud is a threatening father figure to Murdoch, though she learned important parts of her discourse from him. Thus, the theories of Jacques Lacan are also important to a complete analysis and understanding of Murdoch's philosophy and fiction. A detailed look at the situation offers a new hermeneutic for reading Murdoch, a great but didactic writer.
Contents: A detailed analysis of Iris Murdoch's resistance to and attacks on Freudian theory, Turner's book makes use not only of Freud's ideas but also Lacanian and reader-response theories.