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By Craig A. Gordon (auth.)

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The titular concern of the essays would seem to assign Freud a position in relation to theories of human relativity not dissimilar to that occupied by Einstein vis-à-vis a general theory of relativity. Because Freud’s challenge to turn-of-the-century understandings of the human subject is commonplace, it seems unsurprising that Lawrence seeks to theorize intersubjectivity in relation to psychoanalysis and specifically the notion of the unconscious. As soon as he introduces us to his understanding of the unconscious, however, the Einstein-Freud parallel becomes somewhat more complicated.

And on the other, psychoanalysis is rendered an idealist project that comprehends the “passional impulse[s]” of “dynamic consciousness” through the conceptual mediation of the mind. This tension becomes less contradictory, however, with closer scrutiny of Lawrence’s notion of idealism. Defining the latter as “the motivizing of the great affective sources by means of ideas mentally derived” (14), he concludes that “an ideal established in control of the passional soul is no more and no less than a supreme machine-principle.

H. Lawrence in Fantasia of the Unconscious (1922), “for knocking that external axis out of the universe” (72). “The universe,” he continues, “W isn’t a spinning wheel. It is a cloud of bees flying and veering round. . So that now the universe has escaped from the pin which was pushed through it, like an impaled fly vainly buzzing: now that the multiple universe flies its own complicated course quite free, and hasn’t got any hub, we can hope also to escape. We won’t be pinned down either. We have no one law that governs us.

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