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Writing Cure

Writing Cure

Psychoanalysis, Composition, and the Aims of Education

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Mark Bracher


NLEB (Other formats: Hardcover)
248 pages, 6 x 9


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About the Book

Psychoanalysis and writing instruction have much to offer each other, asserts Mark Bracher. In this book, Bracher examines the intersection between these two fields and proposes pedagogical uses of psychoanalytic technique for writing instruction.

Psychoanalysis reveals that the writing process is profoundly affected by factors that current theories have largely neglected—forces such as enjoyment, desire, fantasy, and anxiety, which, moreover, are often unconscious. Articulating an approach based on the work of Jacques Lacan, Bracher shows how a psychoanalytic perspective can offer useful insights into the nature of the writing process, the sources of writing problems, and the dynamics of writing instruction. He further demonstrates that writing instruction constitutes the most favorable venue outside of individual psychoanalytic treatment for pursuing psychoanalytic research and practice. Like psychoanalytic treatment proper, writing instruction can function as a way of reducing psychological conflict and as a means of pursuing psychoanalytic research into the workings of the mind. Empirical studies and personal testimonies have demonstrated the psychological (and even the physical) benefits of writing about personal conflict in an academic setting; such benefits promise to be enhanced and consolidated through the application of psychoanalytic principles to the teaching of writing.


Mark Bracher is a professor of English and the director of the Center for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society at Kent State University. He is the founder and editor of JPCS: Journal for the Psychoanalysis of Culture & Society and the author, most recently, of Lacan, Discourse, and Social Change: A Psychoanalytic Cultural Criticism.


"A psychoanalytically oriented teaching method for composition classes, Mark Bracher believes, will enable the writing teacher to link the surface of writing—syntax, grammar, organization, etc.—with the depth of the student's psychological mechanisms of defense against the authentic voice of his or her desire, and, subsequently, to educate the student writer into better writing processes and results, as well as toward a more psychologically attuned personality-in-the-world. Bracher does an excellent job of establishing the fundamentals about how to accomplish these goals."—Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, author of Narcissus Transformed: The Textual Subject in Psychoanalysis and Literature