Kong illuminates the conflicting features of the literary diaspora that Tiananmen gave rise to: self-exoticization and melancholic repetition-compulsion
on one side and a simultaneous critique of Chinese authoritarianism and global neoliberal capitalism on the other.
The Daily Bugle regrets its participation in this repetition-compulsion
disorder of American journalism."
Psychoanalytic theory relates this desire to the 'repetition-compulsion
'; the apotropaic need to repeat certain gestures as a form of defence of the self against that which threatens its existence (Freud, 1984; Lacan, 1993).
The final chapter trumps this argument by proposing that Hamlet should be read as an allegory of allegory, because Hamlet's repetition-compulsion
makes him an allegorical image of the machine chine, the epitome of the modern capitalist economy, whose commodity fetishism turns everyone into a compulsive allegorist of one kind or another.
Since this is not an obviously adversarial position, I gather Lupton's psychoanalytic critique takes the sympathetic form of guiding the West to a degree of self-knowledge: our literature confronts its guilty reliance on Christian typology, and our philosophy acknowledges aesthetics as the symptom of this theological repetition-compulsion
. That hagiographic fragments are embedded in our literature, that typological reading has cast a long shadow, that Hegelian aesthetics are fundamentally Christian: none of these is news.
She connects John Paul Eakin's argument that autobiographers re-create the past "not so much as an attempt to reflect the world as to transform it" (20) with Freud's analysis of the repetition-compulsion
. The work of slave narratives is to repeat the past in a way that makes a difference; one re-tells slavery to abolish slavery and to free the self.
principle is an important aspect of Freud's theory as a whole.
Even if the Hitcher is dead at the end, the boy is there to keep the repetition-compulsion
One cumbersome definition of fashion could be the following: the rapid and relatively facile construction of a mirage of subjectivity through objects supplied by an industry designing identity substitutes according to cycles of repetition-compulsion
transformed into production.
is uncanny." So when Mills writes the same word ten thousand times, laying down layer upon layer of desperation-tinged writing--scratched in, gouged out, gessoed over--it's not Gertrude Stein (really, five repetitions will turn just about any word into an object), and it's not just neurotic either.