- Introduction: Know Thyself
- Intellectual Prehistory: Introduction
- Psychoanalytic Theory: A Historical Reconstruction
- From Recognition to Intersubjectivity: Hegel and Psychoanalysis
- Schopenhauer and Freud
- From <i>Geschlechtstrieb</i> to <i>Sexualtrieb</i>: the Originality of Freud’s Conception of Sexuality
- A Better Self: Freud and Nietzsche on the Nature and Value of Sublimation
- Twentieth-Century Engagements: Introduction
- Merleau-Ponty and Psychoanalysis
- Wittgenstein and Psychoanalysis
- ‘In Psychoanalysis Nothing Is True but the Exaggerations’: Freud and the Frankfurt School
- Ricœur’s Freud
- Clinical Theory: Introduction
- Imagination and Reason, Method and Mourning in Freudian Psychoanalysis
- ‘A Ritual of Discourse’: Conceptualizing and Reonceptualizing the Analytic Relationship
- Symbolism, the Primary Process, and Dreams: Freud’s Contribution
- Integrating Unconscious Belief
- Making the Unconscious Conscious
- Phenomenology and Science: Introduction
- Complexities in the Evaluation of the Scientific Status of Psychoanalysis
- Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience
- How Should We Understand the Psychoanalytic Unconscious?
- A New Kind of Song: Psychoanalysis as Revelation
- Body Memory and the Unconscious
- Aesthetics: Introduction
- On Richard Wollheim’s Psychoanalytically Informed Philosophy of Art
- Literary Form and Mentalization
- Psychoanalysis and Film
- Religion: Introduction
- Psychoanalysis and Religion
- Psychoanalytic Thinking on Religious Truth and Conviction
- The No-Thing of God: Psychoanalysis of Religion After Lacan
- Ethics: Introduction
- Hiding From Love: The Repressed Insight in Freud’s Account of Morality
- Human Excellence and Psychic Health in Psychoanalysis
- Evolution, Childhood, and the Moral Self
- Politics and Society: Introduction
- Psychoanalysis, Politics, and Society: What Remains Radical in Psychoanalysis?
- Epistemic Anxiety
- Psychoanalysis in the Twenty-First Century: Does Gender Matter?
- Political Philosophy in Freud: War, Destruction, and the Critical Faculty
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter argues that literature—or at least certain kinds of literature—facilitates mentalization. Book reading shares some of the same features as mind reading. Psychoanalysis, via the work of Hanna Segal and others, has been interested in the differences between escapist literature and literature that encourages genuine psychological engagement. This chapter engages that issue via the lens of mentalization. It focuses specifically on literary form rather than on content, and examines the ways in which some kinds of literary form facilitate mentalizing capacities. More narrowly, it shows how different kinds of literary techniques—the free indirect discourse employed by Jane Austen, the tight structure of the sonnet form—enable different mentalizing abilities and develop our capacity for self-reflection.
Department of Philosophy, University of Cape Town
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