Rethinks the significance of the son’s relationship to his father for Freud’s psychoanalytic theory.
Aiming to reconceptualize some of Freud's earliest psychoanalytic thinking, Andrew Barnaby's Coming Too Late argues that what Freud understood as the fundamental psychoanalytic relationship—a son's ambivalent relationship to his father—is governed not by the sexual rivalry of the Oedipus complex but by the existential predicament of belatedness. Analyzing the rhetorical tensions of Freud's writing, Barnaby shows that filial ambivalence derives particularly from the son's vexed relation to a paternal origin he can never claim as his own. Barnaby also demonstrates how Freud at once grasped and failed to grasp the formative nature of the son's crisis of coming after, a duality marked especially in Freud's readings and misreadings of a series of precursor texts—the biblical stories of Moses, Shakespeare's Hamlet, E. T. A. Hoffmann's "The Sandman"—that often anticipate the very insights that the Oedipal model at once reveals and conceals. Reinterpreting Freudian psychoanalysis through the lens of Freud's own acts of interpretation, Coming Too Late further aims to consider just what is at stake in the foundational relationship between psychoanalysis and literature.
Andrew Barnaby is Associate Professor of English at the University of Vermont and the coauthor (with Lisa J. Schnell) of Literate Experience: The Work of Knowing in Seventeenth-Century English Writing.
"Barnaby has written an imaginative, illuminating, original, and very scholarly book. " — CHOICE