The Fractured Subject investigates the relationship of the work of Walter Benjamin and Sigmund Freud, centered around the concept of the fractured subject. Through a reading of Benjamin’s work on sovereignty and myth, Betty Schulz establishes the emergence of this fractured subject in the Baroque and links these themes to ‘Mourning and Melancholia’ and two of Freud’s case studies, showing that melancholia and possession emerge as two responses to the baroque loss of a cosmological horizon. Turning to Benjamin’s work on the nineteenth century in the Arcades Project, Schulz delineates the persistence of this fractured subject, showing how Benjamin conceptualises its development over the course of modernity while analyzing the change of memory and experience in modernity. Finally, having introduced the importance of the dream in the Arcades Project and associated work, Schulz examines Benjamin’s dream theory, establishing the ways it draws from Freud, as well as Benjamin’s concept of awakening as a therapeutic, collective, political gesture that points beyond the fractured subject.
Betty Schulz gained her PhD from the Center for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) after completing a Masters in Social and Political Thought at the University of Sussex. Her PhD research was funded by the TECHNE consortium. She is currently preparing a postdoctoral research proposal on the concept of nature in contemporary continental Philosophy and Anthropology.
Chapter 1 - Baroque Sovereignty and the Fractured Subject
Chapter 2 - Melancholia, Possession, Critique
Chapter 4- The Types of the 19th century: Benjamin’s Case Studies
Chapter 5 - Dreaming
Chapter 6 - Awakening
About the Author
The absence of a sustained exploration of Benjamin’s relationship to Freud has long felt like a serious and puzzling gap in Anglophone scholarship on the great German writer. Lucid, tightly conceived and replete with bold readings and insights, The Fractured Subject addresses this gap admirably, opening up a rich and fascinating seam of future discussion and debate.
From melancholy to the dream-work and through death drive to awakening, Schulz's book tracks the insistent but elusive presence of Freud in Benjamin's work. Her sustained scrutiny of Benjamin's debts and resistances to Freud and psychoanalysis reveals previously unsuspected analytic and therapeutic dimensions to his thought and criticism.