the patient's artificial relationship to the analyst. Contemporary
psychoanalytic literary critics, who since Felman's "Turning the Screw of
Interpretation" have tended to forgo diagnosing and explaining literature in favor of
reading Freud in parallel with texts as a literary theorist (Jackson
likened the transference to a text or the act of reading: to Richard King, "normality
implied [to Freud] a metaphorical repetition; neurosis a literal one," and "thus
normality was a matter of interpretation not imitation" (1203); to Peter Brooks, "we
as readers 'intervene' by the very act of reading, interpreting the text, handling it,
shaping it to our ends, making it accessible to our therapies" (234); and to David
Carroll, the text "is a compromise . . . with the world, a (re) translation of it, a
construction from its traces" (527).
Carroll is alluding to "Constructions in Analysis"
one of the last and
most self-conscious of Freud's papers. Freud begins in a briskly confident tone,
seeming to promise a definitive rebuttal to the common criticism that because the
analyst's constructions are equally affirmed by the patient's acceptance or rejection of
them ("heads I win, tails you lose"
the analyst can never be wrong.
Complaining that the distinction between analyst and analysand has become blurred
in analytic theory, he reminds the reader that while it is the patient's task to
remember, it is the analyst's to construct memories, "to
out what has been
forgotten from the traces which it has left behind" (258-59). Constructions, then,
constitute the bridge between the unique work of both parties. Freud acknowledges
that while there is indeed no conclusive way of determining whether a construction is
correct, a mistaken one is usually met with the patient's indifference. Additionally,