Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

English

Supervisor

Joel Faflak

2nd Supervisor

Tilottama Rajan

Joint Supervisor

Abstract

This thesis takes up Friedrich Schelling’s philosophy and Carl Jung’s analytical psychology to develop Romantic metasubjectivity, a model of the subject absorbing more of the vast compass of Romantic thinking on subjectivity than what prevails in Romantic criticism. Romantic criticism tends to be dominated by psychoanalysis as well as deconstruction and poststructuralist theory, which see the subject as either a linguistic phenomenon or simply a locus of difference without a unified “I.” In response to this critical tradition, Romantic metasubjectivity discerns a notion of Self which is neither a linguistic fantasy nor a transcendental essence which is or becomes fully present to itself. The Introduction supplies historical and theoretical parameters for what follows, explaining why Schelling and Jung are crucial to the concept of Romantic metasubjectivity. The first chapter establishes analytical psychology as a Schellingian Naturphilosophie après la lettre, with the latter illuminating analytical psychology’s differences from psychoanalysis (particularly Jung’s rethinking of libido). The second chapter focuses on analytical psychology and Naturphilosophie to develop the topography of the Romantic metasubjective unconscious as a dissociative economy of energy. I establish Schelling’s actant and Jung’s archetype as isomorphic dynamisms which create this economy in Nature and the psyche, to articulate the uniquely Romantic historicity and materiality which resists coagulation into history and materialist notions of the subject. Chapter Three articulates the experience of Romantic metasubjectivity as a limit-experience of this dissociative historicity via Schelling’s idea of intellectual intuition (later ecstasy) and Jung’s development of synchronicity as an acausal connecting principle. Chapter Four focuses on the individuation of Romantic metasubjectivity as a radically non-teleological, purposively driven force of self-organisation which informs the person’s experience in the world. Paradoxically, it is Romantic metasubjectivity’s traumatic experience of historicity which both makes this individuation possible and guarantees its interminability. Chapter Five turns to Romantic literature, examining William Wordsworth’s The Prelude and Percy Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound as “case studies” of the Romantic metasubjective psyche. The Conclusion touches on John Caputo’s Against Ethics and the contemporary hit TV series Breaking Bad to question the possibility of a Romantic metasubjective ethics.


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