My dissertation investigates how debates about the relationship of the mind and the brain in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are refracted through literature and early cinema. I engage select literary texts and films of the period--including the private letters and public fictions of Henry James, the psychology of William James, the memoirs of Daniel Paul Schreber, the correspondence and case studies of Sigmund Freud, the films of the Edison Film Company, and the novels of Edward Bellamy--in order to demonstrate how concerns about the limits of the human body correspond with concerns about the limits of the text and the frame. Each of my chapters addresses the "afterlife" of posthumous interpretation--how individual subjects become objects of study, how individual bodies give way to literary archives, psychological cases, and film stock. I contend that the competing diagnostic practices of psychology and neurology model competing modes of seeing and reading and that the figures of the ghost and the corpse--the representative bodies of psychic and anatomical space--emerge as metaphors for the material and immaterial detritus of works of art.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2010. Major: English. Advisor: Paula Rabinowitz. 1 computer file (PDF); iv, 237 pages.
The ghost and the corpse: figuring the mind/brain complex at the turn of the twentieth century..
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