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By Stephen Frosh

This e-book explores how the current is afflicted through the previous and the long run. It makes use of the assumption of haunting to discover how identities, ideals, intimacies and hatreds are transmitted throughout generations and among humans and the way this stuff constitution psychosocial and psychopolitical lifestyles.

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Extra resources for Hauntings: Psychoanalysis and Ghostly Transmissions

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This might be a loving process in which something lost is recognised and mourned. Or it could be a traumatic experience in which something we never knew we had comes back to plague us, a repetitive and destructive inheritance that holds tight with its talons and can only be released with violence and pain. It may be a ghost from individual history, something we have done or has been done to us. It may also be a transgenerational one, haunting us because of events that took place in earlier times.

Derrida follows in this tradition when he argues that what is at stake in psychoanalysis is Ghostly Psychoanalysis 43 not just a therapeutic release, but an act of truth. The truth, however, is ‘spectral’, it can never be fully tracked down, it is never quite there. He writes: we should not forget that if the psychoanalytic explanation of hauntedness, of hallucination, if the psychoanalytic theory of spectres, in sum, leaves a part, a share of nonverisimilitude unexplained or rather verisimilar, carrying truth, this is because .

She is here,” he said, and he showed me a tiny locket that he wore, fastened to his watch-chain. (Gay, 1988: 392) Freud’s little footnote perhaps does more than simply link his grandson’s preemptive mastery of loss with his apparent indifference to his mother’s death. It does not even just suggest Freud’s own distancing; rather, it sets a hare running that, when we follow it, evokes a very deep melancholia, something that cannot be recovered from, an unspoken haunting. Beyond the Pleasure Principle was not written in response to Sophie’s death, but that death is also not absent from it; and death itself, stalking Freud and the whole European continent, is the prime topic even where it seems to be life (the little boy’s play) that is being celebrated.

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