Death Watch: Lawrence, Ford, and Freud
DOI link for Death Watch: Lawrence, Ford, and Freud
Death Watch: Lawrence, Ford, and Freud book
The modern spectatorial relationship to death was frequently voiced as a problem in the literature written around the period of the First World War even as psychoanalysts like Sigmund Freud and W. H. Rivers began to formulate the diagnosis and analysis of trauma that would later buttress and formulate our own understanding. Cathy Caruth writes that trauma "defies and demands our witness" just as literature "defies, even as it claims, our understanding."l But in the modernist texts I have chosen to examine in this chapter, witnessing is both more and less than a rhetorical game of fort-da. Modernist writers provide a far more varied collection of responses than Caruth indicates, and perhaps, than postmodern theory provides. Beginning with Freud's formulation of the problem of the modern relationship to death I turn to Lawrence and Ford for their variants on fiction as a fantasy of spectatorship. Finally, I return to Freud and Totem and Taboo for a final and complex response to the problem of the other's death which presents far more than what is in Caruth's terms a simply "rhetorical" relation to the real.