Empathic Reader: A Study of the Narcissistic Character and by J. Brooks Bouson

By J. Brooks Bouson

In a chain of significant reviews, American psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut concentrated realization on a basic point of human habit: the need every body feels for a feeling of dating with and empathic responsiveness from others. This e-book bargains the 1st sustained software of Kohut's paintings to the learn of literature and sheds new mild at the complicated nature of interactions among texts and readers.

J. Brooks Bouson investigates 9 consultant "narcissistic" characters from works by means of Atwood, Bellow, Conrad, Dotosevsky, Kafka, Lessing, Mann, and Woolf. Combining a cautious exam of person characters and texts with an research of the serious commentaries they've got generated, Bouson makes us conscious of the narcissistic dramas encoded in texts, dramas which are usually unconsciously replicated through critics of their interpretive narratives. "In a vital way," Bouson writes, "the that means of literary paintings grows out of the empathic occasion that happens among the reader and the text."

The ebook establishes a spot for Kohut's self psychology within the examine of literature and offers a fresh viewpoint at the empathic dynamics of the studying and demanding strategies.

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Extra info for Empathic Reader: A Study of the Narcissistic Character and the Drama of the Self

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Vastly complicated" because we are both "subject to the effects the work produces" in us as readers and "committed to the analysis of these effects" as critics (177). Similarly, the model of reading as an empathic event recognizes that the critic/ Page 27 reader, in the acts of reading and interpreting, is simultaneously cast in the roles of reader/analysand and critic/analyst. Moreover, it also recognizes that the critic's text, in turn, can be subjected to a psycho-critical reading. Like the analyst, the empathic critic/reader focuses attention on the disruptive and disturbing responsesthe anger, anxiety, disgust, boredom, fear of encroachment, need to master or desire to rescueengendered by the characters and texts being investigated.

I wonder what I look like in your eyes," comments another. ," yet another realizes. "When I am talking with a need to talk, there's got to be a listener" (Goldberg, Page 4 Psychology 149, 131, 409, 277, 5859, 62). In these statements, we sense the vast neediness and fragile self-stability of narcissistically defective individuals and their urgent desire for an empathic listener. " Developing through the psychoanalytic process what he came to call the "psychology of the self," Kohut evolved a new metapsychology, one that provides a radical departure from Freudian psychoanalysis.

Through his analytic work with narcissistically disturbed patients, Kohut slowly fit together the pieces of the "tragic" individual's puzzling condition. Central to the psychoanalytic transaction is the transference in which the analysand, instead of consciously remembering the past, unconsciously reproduces it by repeating and acting out infantile and Page 14 early needs and relationships with the analyst, who becomes an amalgam of significant early figuresespecially parental figures. The patients Kohut treated were generally considered unanalyzable by classical standards.

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