Silberman, Marc, et al. (ed.) / The other Brecht I = Der andere Brecht
Analysis and countertransference, pp. 124-133
Analysis and Transference Antony Tatlow Analysis is supposed to: have uncovered or "deconstructed" its unconscious presuppositions or it remains caught up in the problems it wishes to understand and assuage. We can map psychoanalytical and critical procedures onto each other because both rest on acts of interpretation. If all the world's a text, then knowledge is only ever an interpretative truth. The problems of transference and counter-transference have their direct equivalents in writing and criticism. A text or narrative is shaped in anticipation of a response and that response, if we are capable of reflecting upon its origins, permits us to situate the whole process of communication. The problem is that we never can understand it fully; something always eludes our grasp. I want to look at examples of counter-transference in readings of Brecht. Of course, this terrain is a mine field. Derrida's deconstructive technique, his gift for seizing on the apparently inconsequential but telling detail from which you can then unravel the whole structure of a position, has sensitized us to the unexaminable parameters that hold our arguments together, unexaminable because they sustain positions we do not wish to question. My own are probably opaque to me, and I shall doubtless be enlightened sooner rather than later, but I am struck by what seem to me mostly unconscious, or at least unexamined, presuppositions in recent readings of Brecht. Perhaps they appear strange to me because I am not so closely part of that historical culture which has produced them and so am less predisposed to internalize its value judgments. It is over ten years since the first decisive shift away from orthodox readings of Brecht which had identified with what they believed to be the author's political position. One reaction, a complete refusal to accept that position, aligned itself with the developing "New Philosophy," another re-read Brecht's texts against the grain of those established, socially authorized conventions. Grimm drew attention to Brecht's reading of Nietzsche.' Lehmann deepened our understanding of the af- finities.2 I watched these arguments with fascination because they both corroborated and challenged assertions of mine based on reading Brecht's response to East Asian culture, where interrogating the silences of an episteme could be considered the primary path to understanding.
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