Modernism, Neurology and the Invention of Psychoanalysis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


Modernist literature develops out of the intrinsic tension in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century discourse between scientific empiricism and hermeneutics, the close analysis of sign, language and meaning. Neurology and psychoanalysis, two major scientific attempts to understand the mind and behaviour, had a profound impact on the work of writers, thinkers, artists, and film-makers in the Modernist period. Developing the idea that Sigmund Freud can productively be read as a Modernist writer and thinker, the chapter examines his Modernist tendencies from the perspective of the tensions that emerge out of the origins of his clinical work in nineteenth-century neurological science, and the hermeneutic method that forms the foundation of psychoanalysis. It proposes that this tension or contradiction is also endemic to literature, and that it appears in a dazzlingly heightened, intensified form in literary Modernism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBloomsbury Companion to Modernist Literature
EditorsUlrika Maude, Mark Nixon
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)978-1780936413, 1780936419
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2018

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Humanities Health and Science


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