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My Potential Patients: Origins, Detection, and Transference in - page 22 / 69

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Cohen 19

potential "as a shaping and connective force," an energy arising from the narrative's

explanatory power or "conviction"(283-84).

In both readings of Freud, the primal scene allows for narration to occur.

Whether we see Freud's account in The

Wow-Man

as a therapeutic dialogue, an

aggressive rhetorical power-play, or some combination is a matter of emphasis and

preference. It is similarly up to the reader to decide whether Kinbote's narrative in

Pule Fire (and

Nabokov's

just behind him) tells the story of imaginative art

triumphing over bitter reality or the tale of his own selfishness and solipsism. In

either case, the significance of the primal scene and the death of Shade lies less in

their status as events than in the act of telling they make possible. As we have seen,

both moments are the source of stories and that to which they return: the primal

scene is the cause of the neurosis and its cure, the termination of the analysis and the

beginning of the case history, and the purpose for which the case is written and the

force that holds it together; the death of Shade is the origin of Kinbote's commentary

and its destination, the moment legitimizing and shattering a delusional world, and

the generating point of the novel and its end. Freud's and Kinbote's rhetoric is

circular, then, because narrative is circular, an end in itself and its own reason for

being. In the next chapter, we will see how the elliptical nature of these texts impacts

the way they are read.

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