You are here

The Domestic Economy of the Soul
Share

The Domestic Economy of the Soul
Freud's Five Case Studies



December 2010 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
This is the first major analysis of Freud's five celebrated five case studies of Little Hans, Dora, the Rat Man, the Wolf Man and Schreber. O'Neill sets out the details of each case and critically engages with the narratives using a mixture of psychoanalytical insight and social theory.

The book:

  • Provides a clear and powerful account of the five major case studies that helped to establish the Freud legend.
  • Situates the cases and the analysis into the appropriate social and historical contexts
  • Offers distinctive interpretations of the symptomatic body, of illness as a language, dream work and the Madonna complex
  • Challenges us to revisit the canonical texts of psychoanalysis

The book will be of interest to students of psychoanalysis, social theory and sociology.


 
Introduction: The Domestic Economy of the Soul
 
Love Stories
 
The Body-Soul of Psychoanalysis
 
Freud's Baby: Little Hans (1909)
Putting the Cart Before the Horse  
 
Opening the Dora Case (1905 [1901])
Dora's Dreams  
Portraits of Dora  
Dora's Sistine Madonna  
 
Rat Man's Lady (1909)
A Case of Blindness and (In) Sight  
Chorisis versus Cartography  
Catching the Rat Man's Train of Thought  
Rat Man's (Mis) Marriage  
 
Wolf Man's Wake (1918 [1914])
Supplement and Rectification  
Wolf Man's Cryptology  
 
Schreber's Blessed Assumption (1911 [1910])
Schreber's Unmanning/Gynesis  
Schreber's Swan Song  
Concluding Postscript: The Debts of Psychoanalysis  

Without being a classical drive-theory Freudian, an ego or self psychologist, or a Lacanian, John O’Neill writes a book on Freud called The Domestic Economy of the Soul. One could perhaps place O’Neill’s theoretical framework among those of the object-relations analysts of the 1920’s and 1930’s. These analysts believed, as does O’Neill, that psychic life takes its shape from the mother’s body and being. The beauty of O’Neill’s book does not lie in its theoretical framework, however, but within his attention to detail. He shows, for example, that in the Dora case, the well-known phrase attributed to Herr K. in trying to kiss Dora by the lake, “I get nothing from my wife,” actually is a sentence uttered by Herr Bauer when he first took Dora to Freud to try to convince her to give in to Herr K. Without accepting that Schreber was psychotic, as Freud and Lacan have argued, O’Neill illuminates us as to the sources of his various utterings in his Memoirs, much like concordances of 'Finnegan’s Wake' render Joyce’s work accessible. O’Neill convinces, beyond a doubt, that Freud’s cases were his own fictionalized accounts of various patients which represent Freud’s own universalizing theories. Anyone who is interested in the closest reading you could find of Freud’s cases will want to add O’Neill’s most recent book to their bookshelf.

 

Ellie Ragland
Professor of English, Middlebush Chair and Editor of '(Re-)turn: A Journal of Lacanian Studies'

The pleasure of reading O’Neill lies in his encounter with Freud as an unruly writer, rather than solely as a theorist of the sexual body or therapist of mental suffering. He shows us how the resistance of the patient’s desire to the power of the analyst is reflected and refracted in the struggle of readers with the texts of the five case histories. O’Neill’s symptomatic readings of an impressive range of clinical and critical literature expose how the scientific ambitions of psychoanalysis cannot be separated from its family romances and its civilizing mythologies. At the same time, his illuminating visual displays of Little Hans’s drawings, Dora’s dreams, the Rat Man’s thought-trains, the Wolf Man’s cryptology, and Schreber’s swan pair introduce us into the blindness and insights of Freud’s own psychic economy. This wonderful collection of studies and stories - which have been refined through generations of graduate seminars and tested before multiple audiences - will challenge readers with the gift of O'Neill's formidable interpretive acumen and uniquely lyrical voice.

Thomas M Kemple
Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of British Columbia and author of 'Reading Marx Writing: Melodrama, the Market, and the 'Grundrisse''

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: Freud's Baby - Little Hans (1909)


Preview this book

For instructors

To inquire about the availability of this title for review (print and/or digital), please contact your local sales representative or call (800) 818-7243.

Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9781849205856
$157.00

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.