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Description - On Not Being Able to Sleep by Jacqueline Rose

In these powerful essays Jacqueline Rose delves into the questions that keep us awake at night, into issues of privacy and publishing, exposure and shame. Do some women writers - Christina Rossetti, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath - have a special talent for self-revelation? Or are they simply more vulnerable to the invasions of biography? Turning to psychoanalysis, Rose explores its affinity with modernism and asks what it can tell us about the limits of knowledge, both about the most intimate and baffling components of experience and about the furthest, hallucinatory, reaches of the mind. These fine studies move deftly between public, political and private, unconscious worlds. Offering new links between feminism, psychoanalysis, literature and politics, On Not Being Able to Sleep provides a resonant and thought provoking collection for the present day.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099286042
ISBN-10: 0099286041
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 17mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 1-Jan-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - On Not Being Able to Sleep by Jacqueline Rose

Book Reviews - On Not Being Able to Sleep by Jacqueline Rose

UK Kirkus Review » Jacqueline Rose is Professor of English at Queen Mary, University of London and a renowned writer. This essay collection spans a ten-year period, linking such diverse themes as death, the poetic imagination, feminism, motherhood, revelation, secrecy and apathy. The book is a tumult of questions of the kind that keep us awake at night. How far do psycho-analysis and the writings of poets have answers for problems in the modern world? What do celebrities and celebrity watchers gain from the glare of publicity? Do women writers have a special ability to illuminate the tie between insanity and collective life? What makes an analyst? What kind of problems confronted Freud when he turned his attention to sleep? Together they take a close look at the connection between collective history and the intimate, unknown self. In essays on Anne Sexton and Christina Rossetti, Rose discusses the tension at the heart of biography between revelation and secrecy. In a piece on Sylvia Plath, an epilogue to her 1992 book The Haunting of Sylvia Plath, she details some of her publishing difficulties with Ted Hughes when examining the poet's work. Does self-revelation in fantasy inevitably push open doors into the writer's past? In the case of Plath, the issues became a fundamental dispute about the critic's interpretation of a fantasy life. Secrecy and death reappear in an essay contrasting Freud's work on dreams with Proust. Rose argues that the writer not only outstrips the analyst, but also takes him 'beyond the point he is willing to travel'. For Freud, unconscious thoughts in dreams have a hallucinogenic form but are completely wiped when we wake. Proust went further, suggesting that if we merely have a faulty facility for recall, such oblivion of our thoughts could extend into the afterlife: ' The being that I shall be after death has no more reason to remember the man I have been since my birth than the latter to remember what I was before it.' Revelation, secrecy, death and mourning are brought together in a consideration of the cult of celebrity. The scenes of mass mourning following Diana's funeral were interpreted as both public hysteria and genuine, heartfelt behaviour. Either interpretation suggested public affect must necessarily be good or bad. For Rose this misses the point. Probing deeper, she asks whether the pleasure we take in celebrity is bound up with perversion. Since the audience loves the undoing of stars, a potential for humiliation may be a crucial part of the bargain. Do we create celebrities so that a ruthless curiosity can be licensed and maintained? Is this why we feel ashamed to admit to reading magazines like Hello? Rose brings a formidable insight to bear on our public, political and private worlds. These are meaty essays, hauling in so many diverse references that the topics lend themselves to extensive further reading and, dare one suggest it, more sleepless but enjoyable nights. (Kirkus UK)


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Author Biography - Jacqueline Rose

Jacqueline Rose is Professor of English at Queen Mary, University of London. Her books include the highly influential study The Haunting of Sylvia Plath.

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