Between Repression and Anamnesis: Pierre Bourdieu and the Vicissitudes of Literary Form

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Pierre Bourdieu's work on literature has frequently been criticized for its perceived failure to attend to the specificities of literary form. This article argues that, in fact, literary form plays an important role in Bourdieu's theorizations of literature, or rather, that form is called upon to play a range of different, potentially conflicting roles. Through close readings of both The Rules of Art and the 1975 essay ‘L'Invention de la vie d'artiste’, the article seeks to clarify the different roles Bourdieu attributes to literary form, as that which both conceals and reveals ‘repressed’, ‘incorporated’ or ‘unconscious’ social realities. It will examine Bourdieu's contention that the literary work functions analogously to the Freudian dreamwork in this respect, and will question how appropriate or convincing that analogy proves to be.



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