It is often claimed that we know ourselves and the world through narratives. In this book, Robert D. Newman portrays narrative engagement as a process grounded in psychoanalytic theory to explain how readers (or listeners or viewers) manage to engage with specific narratives and derive from them a personal experience.
Newman describes this psychodrama of narrative engagement as that of exile and return, an experience in which narrative becomes a type of homeland, beckoning and elusive, endlessly defining and disrupting the borders of a reader’s identity. Within this paradigm, he considers a fascinating variety of narrative texts: from the Jim Jones episode in Guyana to Freud’s repression of personal history in his story of Moses; from a surrealistic collage novel by Max Ernst to the horror films of Alfred Hitchcock; from the works of James Joyce, Ariel Dorfman, Milan Kundera, and D. M. Thomas to the tales of abjection in pornography.
Transgressions of Reading is itself an engaging work, as interesting for its provocative readings of particular works as for its theoretical insights. It will appeal to readers from all fields in which narrative plays a crucial role, in the study of film and art, modern and contemporary literature, popular culture, and feminist, psychoanalytic, and reader response theory.