Date of Award

5-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

English

Advisor

McGrath, Brian

Committee Member

Young , Art

Committee Member

Morrissey , Lee

Abstract

The comfortable thought is over in our psychical relation to Percy Shelley and Sigmund Freud because the line of reasoning it invokes is chaotic, if only because trying to define psyche and history leads to chaotic conclusions, especially at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Shelley and Freud recognized this and were able to channel it into their art, myth, fable, allegory. The events of their lives, their History, produces itself from chaos (Freud writes across two World Wars, Shelley under the shadow of the French Revolution, Jacobin massacres and Napoleonic wars), which means its producer is chaotic, Divine Chaos, Miltonic Chaos, but chaos it still remains. There is no systematic order to their thought except that systematic order escapes all Thought, true thought, at least. Please bear this in mind when you read the confused pages that follow, which seek to tether chaos to coherence. Above all, this is an attempt to separate the wheat from chaff in Shelley and in Freud.
Percy Shelley's psychological poetry speaks a language less heard than read; the opposite holds true for Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory. I argue that in order to hear Shelley and read Freud, it is necessary to first discover and then impose a grammatical architecture already present in their writings. Such mental scaffoldings occupy what Shelley calls Love, Freud, Eros. Each conceptual term demonstrates within and without its boundaries the same radical rebellion of thought: the sum of duty enjoined and buttressed by the artist's mind must always ruin the imaginary landscape, across and from which the mind imagines.

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