Psychoanalysis and Literature (Q3318)

30 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

What are the affinities, as well as the dissonances, between literature and psychoanalysis? What kinds of imaginative, creative and political possibilities emerge when we read psychoanalysis and literature alongside each other? What are the legacies of psychoanalytic thought and practice today?

In this module, you’ll read some of the foundational texts of psychoanalysis alongside literary texts from the same period. You’ll begin by considering the seismic shifts in thinking about gender and sexuality at the beginning of the 20th century.

The module also examines:

  • how psychoanlysis’s central ideas – fantasy, the unconscious, the dreamwork – might offer unique insight into literature and culture
  • how psychoanalysts and writers have sought to diagnose, cure or transform the racist pathologies and psycho-politics of the 20th and 21st centuries
  • the parallels and the differences between the present day and the historical moment in which psychoanalysis emerged.

Alongside the work of Sigmund Freud and writers from the late 19th century to the present day, we’ll also consider the work of other psychoanalysts, such as Melanie Klein, Joan Riviere, D. W. Winnicott, Marion Milner and Frantz Fanon.


33%: Practical (Workshop)
67%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Portfolio)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 267 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: