Library Talk: The Unwritten Enlightenment - Literature between Ideology and the Unconscious


Join us at the International Psychoanalytic University Library Talk for an engaging talk in our series, featuring Dr. Leon S. Brenner as the host and Dr. Nathan Gorelick, the author of "The Unwritten Enlightenment: Literature between Ideology and the Unconscious." This event will offer a fascinating exploration into the intersections of literary criticism, psychoanalysis, and the Enlightenment's novelistic discourse, showcasing how these fields coalesce to shape our understanding of subjectivity, individualism, and the unconscious.

Dr. Gorelick's work offers a profound examination of the Enlightenment era's literature as the cradle of modern concepts of the unconscious and literature itself, highlighting the ethical dilemmas posed by the language and ideology of the period. By delving into the origins of literary criticism and psychoanalysis within Enlightenment novels, Dr. Gorelick uncovers the intricate ways in which these novels grapple with new notions of self and society. His analysis not only questions the Enlightenment's self-proclaimed rationality but also exposes the unconscious fantasies underpinning contemporary political realities. Dr. Gorelick's insightful critique reveals how the Enlightenment's legacy is fraught with ambiguities and violence, driven by unconscious fantasies that continue to shape thought patterns and imaginations today.

Attendees will gain insights into the complex relationship between literature and the unconscious during the Enlightenment, as showcased in pivotal works such as Robinson Crusoe, the controversial narratives of Rousseau and Sade, and the innovative writing of Tristram Shandy. The discussion will also cover the critical role literature plays in psychoanalysis and its capacity to critique and rethink the Enlightenment from within.

This thought-provoking talk is a must-attend for anyone interested in the cross-disciplinary fields of psychoanalysis, literature, and political theory. Dr. Gorelick's compelling work challenges us to reconsider the Enlightenment's impact on modern thought and the unconscious mechanisms that drive it, making a significant contribution to the fields of philosophy, politics, and poetics.

Nathan Gorelick is a term assistant professor of English at Barnard College. His teaching and research take place at the intersections between literature, psychoanalysis, and ideology critique from the eighteenth century to the present. He has published widely on these topics in relation to diverse subjects including psychedelic drugs, the psychology of ecological collapse, the objectal turn in Continental philosophy, the Haitian Revolution, the unconscious foundations of Islamophobia, and contemporary Islamic politics. He has completed the six-year cycle of the Training Seminar in Lacanian Psychoanalysis with Gifric in Quebec City, Canada, and he is a member of the New York Circle of the Freudian School of Québec. Previously, he was an associate professor of English at Utah Valley University, and he holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Dr. Leon S. Brenner is a lecturer at the International Psychoanalytic University, Berlin. He is a member of the APPI, LOB, and a founder of Lacanian Affinities Berlin (laLAB) and Unconscious Berlin. His latest book on the subject of the psychoanalysis of autism is called The Autistic Subject: On the Threshold of Language, where he presents a novel account of autistic subjectivity from a Lacanian psychoanalytic perspective.

Details and Registration

On 12 April at 7 pm via Zoom.

Please register using the form below. You will receive the zoom link afterwards.