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On Not Being Able to Sleep:
Psychoanalysis and the Modern World
Jacqueline Rose

Hardcover | 2003 | $62.50 | ISBN: 9780691117461
256 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4
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Reviews | Table of Contents

In these powerful essays, Jacqueline Rose delves into the questions that keep us awake at night, into issues of privacy and writing, exposure and shame.

Do women writers--Christina Rossetti, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath--have a special talent for self-revelation? Or are they simply more vulnerable to the invasions of biography? What ethical questions are raised by Ted Hughes's role in Plath's writing life? What do Adrienne Rich and Natalie Angier reveal about the destiny of feminism? In its affinity with modernist writing, what can psychoanalysis tell us about the limits of knowledge--both about the most intimate components of experience and the most hallucinatory reaches of the mind? Have psychoanalytic writers today and the very institution of psychoanalysis remained faithful to the most potent and disturbing aspects of Freud's vision?

Finally Rose addresses some of the most dramatic public performances of our times--the cult of celebrity with its contrasting obsessions with Princess Diana and the child murderer Mary Bell; and South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission which, in a stirring last essay, allows Rose to explore the ethical and political responsibilities of thought and speech in times of historical crisis.

Moving deftly with style, force, and clarity between our public, political, and private, unconscious worlds, On Not Being Able to Sleep, forges a unique set of links between feminism, psychoanalysis, literature, and politics. The result is a book well worth staying up late to read--one that exposes the uncomfortable borderland between our desire to speak out and be silent, between the stage of the world and of the mind.


"A readable, witty text full of insights and challenges for all serious readers. . . . Rose is brilliantly perceptive and wisely humble at the same time. . . . In addition to poetry, Rose brings moderate feminism, ethical principle, social conscience, and wide reading to the task. She ties the package together with common sense and clarity."--E. James Lieberman, ForeWord


"Jacqueline Rose has no peer among critics of her generation. The brilliance of her literary insights, the lucidity of her prose, and the subtlety of her analyses are simply breathtaking. On Not Being Able to Sleep strikes me as a rare amalgam of her thought about literary and psychoanalytic issues, accomplished with remarkable poise and unfailing interest."--Edward W. Said

"This is an extraordinarily intelligent and engaging piece of work, extremely well written throughout and pursuing a range of timely, indeed urgent topics."--Michael Wood, Princeton University

Table of Contents:

Preface ix
Introduction: 'Shame' 1
Chapter I: Writing For Their Lives
'Faking it up with the truth': Anne Sexton 17
'Undone, defiled, defaced': Christina Rossetti 25
'Go, Girl!': Adrienne Rich and Natalie Angier 34
Sylvia Plath--Again
'This is not a biography' 49
Birthday Letters 63
The Journals 68
Virginia Woolf and the Death of Modernism 72
Bizarre Objects: Hallucination and Modernism--Mary Butts and Elizabeth Bowen 89
Chapter II: Border Crossings
'On Not Being Able to Sleep': Rereading The Interpretation of Dreams 105
Freud in the Tropics 125
Of Knowledge and Mothers: On the Work of Christopher Bollas 149
What Makes an Analyst? 167
Chapter III: Modern Times
The Cult of Celebrity 201
Apathy and Accountability: The Challenge of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission to the Intellectual in the Modern World 216
Chapter Index 239

Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Jacqueline Rose:

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 Hardcover : $62.50 ISBN: 9780691117461

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