Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Freud & Frolicking

 Feeling a little peaky of late, I am determined not to let my ‘blogasm’ (Chris Horrie coined this term, not me) cease. I’m going to continue and try achieving multiple ‘blogasms’. This enthusiasm for sexual metaphors has spawned from the sexual nature of recent lectures. Some cry out to return to the sexual repression of previous weeks but no we have been thrown into the works of Joyce and teachings of Freud like lamb thrown to the slaughter.

I did however did very much enjoy last week’s lecture.

Horrie of course did not hold back; he introduced the surrealism of psychoanalysis, music and art and it’s relationship with sex and let’s face it, its influence is clear.

I knew a little about the work of Freud, (and even played in a production of Oedipus at school), I also knew Kate Bush (I have 2 LP’s of hers) but I did not know that the song ‘Running up that Hill’ was based on Freud’s idea that our sexual frustration manifests itself in the form of a shadow chasing us in our dreams, the song is about running from that shadow, essentially the shady figure of sexual tension, let’s call him ‘Horny’. Horny shows up in every medium, as Chris points out.

I have lots (and lots) of books about surrealism; it is my favourite period in art. My father first encouraged my love of surrealist art by giving me a huge tome of Dali paintings when I was but a nipper. (Freud might have something to say about the fact my relationship with surrealism was born from my father, still.)

I have books on M.C.Escher and Andre Breton. I am obsessed with Salvador Dali, have visited lots of exhibitions of his work and his biggest museum and home in Figures Spain.I also love Rene Magritte, and know a great deal about him (I did my AS level French oral on ‘The life and works of Magritte’) I visited fairly recently an exhibition of his in Brussels, and want to go back, as they have a new museum there dedicated to him.

The beauty of surrealism is that there is always a sub-text, a hidden idea. Our friend 'horny' often lurks behind a giant lizard or floating limbs. There are artistic analysts how aim to understand the mind through the examination of art, there has even been testimony's in court by such people attempting to 'expertly' asses the mind of a suicide victim before she died by looking at their recent artwork.

Often within surrealism the image presents an expression of the sub-conscious. The famous melting clocks of Dali, have a definite dream-like quality. The idea of art creating a reverie, has allowed an expression of the sub-conscious. Freud believed that the sub-conscious was preoccupied more often than not with sex; this suggests artistic expression can be an outlet for sexual repression or anxiety. 

Art is not the only medium that seeks to express the sub-conscious. As I look at my abundant book- shelves, I suddenly notice they ooze with sexual literature, Ideas of sexual repression and the character’s quest for liberation.

Anais Nin

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Arthur Golden


Michael Houellebecq

Vladimir Nabokov

Hanif Kureishi

The last, Kureishi is my favourite writer and in novels such as ‘Intimacy’ and ‘The Black Album’ seeks to create an expose of political and sexual discovery. In ‘Intimacy’ the narrative concerns the protagonist’s yearning for sexual satisfaction, the character’s journey becomes a quest for sexual experimentation. In many of Kureishi’s novels he provides a harsh, crude portrayal of the human condition and suggests that men’s fixation with sex is their reason d’etre and there life is esstentially a quest for pleasure. Like Kureishi, Freud’s analysis of the human mind can leave one with a feeling of sadness, their idea’s reduce men to animals and the idea that the sub-conscious is  pre-occupied with sex, lacks a true representation of the complexity of the mind.

I intentionally don’t touch on his portrayal of women, which is arguably misguided; I somehow think his portrayal of man is somewhat more insulting. 


  1. The whole world revolves around sex and sexual metaphors , unfortunately most people are sexual repressed seeing it as something secret or dirty and to be hidden away when really the entire reason for existence is sex, not for the quest for pleasure but for reproduction and a hopeful improvement and development of the species. What defines sexual satisfaction , is it the need to feel closer to the reproductive act, is it just the need to find pleasure and is that just one's own pleasure or the pleasure of one's partner. Should humanity not just only have sex for the purpose or procreation. Is it not just an instinct to reproduce and continue the line, is this not what happens in nature, but to what end but that asks the question why do we exist at all.
    Most authors write about sex , the repression, the promise or denial of it, the aim to be fulfilled and liberated but then the denial and guilt. People who read these books seem to do so as a guilty pleasure the same as watching porn. History is full of sexual repression but secret sexual excess, but this leads to the over analysis of things, everything becomes a sexual metaphor. A women breast feeding a baby in public becomes wrong as breast is treated as a sexual object rather that sustenance for the baby, every action can be considered sexual. They say most men think about sex six times a day , they just don't tell your they each one of those thoughts last for four hours.

  2. It is not all sex. There's violence too. Alexa 9.3 - please update with your notes after each lecture and after each edition of WINOL including dummy editions. I am reading blogs at moment but not generally leaving comments due to pressure of time. Please do a Freudian reading of Citizen Kane.