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‭ the Biography Case

Autor:   •  April 17, 2013  •  Essay  •  554 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,339 Views

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Before we can explore whether or not violation‭ ‬is inevitable in the writing and reading of biography,‭ ‬we must first consider what defines‭ “‬violation‭” ‬in this context.‭ ‬We can then use this definition to form an opinion.‭ ‬One way to judge this is to ascertain‭ ‬whether the subject of the biography has any kind of an authorial presence within the writing,‭ ‬or whether the biographer has assumed complete control over the narrative,‭ ‬and to see if this has any effect over the validity of the biography or the way we see the subject.‭

In Sigmund Freud’s biography of‭ “‬Dora‭”‬,‭ ‬the author’s voice is dominant over the subject’s.‭ ‬He establishes this from the very beginning of the piece by choosing to spend the opening four pages of the paper recapping his conclusions from his earlier paper,‭ ‬the‭ “‬Interpretation of‭ ‬Dreams‭”‬,‭ ‬and‭ ‬outlining his theories.‭ ‬He then introduces‭ “‬Dora‭” (‬a pseudonym‭) ‬to the reader as‭ “‬the eighteen-year-old girl who is the subject of this paper‭” ‬and we are not actually told the name he has given her for some time,‭ ‬when he writes‭ “‬The patient,‭ ‬whom I shall in future give the name of‭ ‘‬Dora‭’”‬.‭

Freud, Sigmund. ‘Dora, the clinical picture’.‭ ‬ In: Case histories 1:‭ ‬“Dora‭”‬ and‭ ‬“Little Jans”. London: Penguin, 1990, p.51Freud’s choice of words in this sentence is important.‭ ‬He establishes his dominance by saying‭ “‬I shall in future give the name‭”‬.‭ ‬It shows that Freud chose the name, implying a lack of control on the subject’s part.‭ ‬The very fact it is a pseudonym,‭ ‬though necessary,‭ ‬undermines the subject’s status in the biography.‭ ‬With the other characters in the narrative remaining nameless,‭ ‬Freud is the only authorial presence and this theme


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