Alien induction: hypnosis, writing, authority

Brewster, Scott (2000) Alien induction: hypnosis, writing, authority. In: Inhuman Reflections: Thinking the Limits of the Human. Manchester University Press, Manchester, pp. 120-137. ISBN 0719053374, 9780719053375

Alien induction: hypnosis, writing, authority

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From Descartes onwards, modernity has proposed various categories and theoretical models – mental illness, the unconscious, ideology - to characterize an outside force capable of depriving the punctual, self-present subject of rational autonomy. Hypnotic trance constitutes another foreign body or agency that can take possession of the self-possessed Cartesian subject. Inhabiting the blind spot of reason and reflection, the hypnotic relation remains alien (inhuman) to the Cogito of psychoanalysis, a mysterious challenge to its authority. This essay explores the relationship between hypnosis, subjectivity and authority in two literary texts - Edgar Allan Poe's short story 'The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar' and H.G. Wells's The Island of Doctor Moreau - in which hypnosis mediates various postulates of the inhuman: death, the animal, tyrannical authority. Simultaneously depicting hypnotic fascination and reproducing its uncanny effects, these texts testify to the enigma of hypnosis.

Keywords:Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, Hypnosis, Edgar Allan Poe, H. G. Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar
Subjects:Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q323 English Literature by topic
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V500 Philosophy
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
Relation typeTarget identifier
ID Code:15049
Deposited On:25 Sep 2014 10:06

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