Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) was an Austrian neurology professor who invented psychoanalysis, which is a clinical method for analyzing and understanding mental disorders.
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Paris and the Fetish
Alistair Rolls’ research looks at five different literary crime stories from the 1920s to see if they share any common themes. These “crime worlds” are linked by the idea of “two apparently contradictory narrative strands existing side by side.”
Rolls examines the sexual/ textual poetics of Fréderic Cathala’s Le Balisier (1947), Fred Vargas’ L’homme à l’envers (1950) and Sartre’s La nausée (1940). He then draws upon the Yale School of Deconstruction to examine the sexual/ textual poesis of Léo Malet’s Nestor Burma contra Cœur d’enfant (1948) and Les eaux difficiles du fleuve Jaune (1949).
Finally, he looks at the 1947 attack on a Dior New Look model in Montmartre and the textual double of female killers, their guilt, and innocence in Malet’s Nestor Burmese mysteries set in the “double metropole” of the late 1940s and 1950’s Paris.
Rolls’ book appeals to readers who understand the creative potential of a sexualized worldview for reimagining cities.
The traumatic fact of mothers’ sexualities, which dominates the present, sustains alongside it a parallel story of the past of the penis/phallus maternal fantasy.
This is made possible by Freud’s 1927 “screen memory” essay, where he proposes radical new solutions to a variety of Parisian crimes, especially the idea that we allow for two opposed and seemingly contradictory narratives to co-exist.
The sexualized world of Charles Baudelaire’s poetry will be shown to provide a common ground for all overvalued examples of women passing by; especially, the famous attack on one of Christian Dier’s models, while they were showing off the New Look for the very first time in Montmarte in 1947, will be shown to be based on a fetish built into the poem “Une Passante.”
In novels by Fred Vargas, Leo Malet, and Frederic Cathala, the same streets allow red herrings (which are not really red) to be raised to the status of facts. Finding a primal fetishistic scene in these books allows for the questioning of authorial answers and the detection of new killers or victims.
In Jean-Paul Sartre’s La Nausée, Fetishes at Work is demonstrated to have harbored a serial killer in a place where no crime had ever been suspected before. To question the way that we read fiction, these studies map fetishism onto prose poetics (including intertextuality), and deconstruction.
Crucially, rereading these texts allows us to see fetishism as a force for constructive meaning-creation from a new perspective.
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