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Contribution to Book
Gothic Body and Freud.pdf
The Gothic and Theory: A Edinburgh Companion (2019)
  • Steven Bruhm
This essay reads Freud's relatively overlooked essay, "A Seventeenth-Century Demonological Neurosis" (1923), to consider how psychoanalysis received the Gothic trope of demoniacal possession and made of it an intra-psychic, rather than a religiously spiritual affair.  I trace Freud's construction of the demoniacal from the Medieval-metaphysical to the empiricist psychological, and then into the metapsychological, to consider how the demoniacal that Freud wanted to tame always exceeded his disciplining of it.  By considering the historical slippage between “possession” and “obsession,” the essay charts the rich but uneasy relation between demonism as an attack on the soul versus demonism as an attack on the body.  It concludes by considering demonology in Blatty's The Exorcist and Ray Russell's The Case Against Satan, to emphasize the ways the post-Freudian Gothic cannot escape its medieval roots in bodily humiliation.
  • Demoniacal Possession,
  • Seventeenth-Century Demonological Neurosis (Freud),
  • The Exorcist
Publication Date
Jerrold E. Hogle and Robert Miles
Edinburgh University Press
Citation Information
Steven Bruhm. "Gothic Body and Freud.pdf" EdinburghThe Gothic and Theory: A Edinburgh Companion (2019) p. 91 - 107
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