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By Linda Hutcheon

This learn has a double concentration: within the first position, it seeks to chart the parallel re-examination of either formalism and psychology in twentieth-century literary thought through the use of the paintings and occupation of the French literary critic, Charles Mauron (1899-1966) as a scaffolding. utilizing a constitution of biography and literary heritage, it investigates Mauron's relatively abnormal place, either inside and out diversified severe contexts, the French and the English, a place that makes his paintings a very revealing mirrored image of the varied severe traits and tensions of our age. the second one concentration of this examine is advised within the pressure in Mauron's paintings created by means of his have to objectivise the subjective. the hot conflicts among continental and British feedback or, extra typically, among the recent formalism (represented by way of structuralism and semiotics) and the liberal humanist culture bring up a massive modern factor prefigured in Mauron. the wider context of his paintings is that of the everlasting theoretical debate in regards to the designation of literary feedback as an target or a subjective task, as a technological know-how or because the final human and humane act.

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Extra info for Formalism and the Freudian Aesthetic: The Example of Charles Mauron

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Mauron's acquaintance with "young Cambridge" came through Bell. His 1933 Criterion article entitled "The Cow" is an imagined dialogue with a "Cambridge poet," likely Julian Bell, on Forster's "The cow is there" discussion in The Longest Journey. Although G. E. Moore is never mentioned, the context of this article is the debate, more of the previous Cambridge generation, on the existence and meaning of empirical reality, an important debate in Mauron's eyes because "the values which a thinking man assigns to science, to art and to morality, are all, more or less, dependent upon the attitude he adopts in this case" (1933a: 455).

It was this welcome emphasis on the significance of the intuitive that attracted Mauron when he began to ponder aesthetic issues. " Mauron's later psychocritical stages of superimposing passages and of finding networks of obsessive metaphors were essentially intuitive processes that then provided a working hypothesis for his interpretation of an artist's personal myth through the orthodoxy of psychoanalysis. The three-stage process of the experimental method - observation, comparison, interpretation - certainly influenced the methodology of psychocritique.

The lingering traces of this influence are to be seen in a much later statement, made in passing, about the latent network of obsessive metaphors: "Mais je n'accorde a cette intuition que la valeur d'une hypothese prealable ('idee preconque' de Claude Bernard)" (1962: 39n). Psychocritique was based on the experimental method as a dialogue between an interrogating mind and the facts presented to it, or as a combination of intuition and reason. Mauron began his 1954 thesis on Racine by thanking Louis Margaillan, director of the Institut Technique in Marseilles, for having taught him, thirty years earlier, that the rigor of mathematics and the suppleness of biology could be reconciled by the experimental method (1969 [1954]: 5).

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