The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Department of English

Peter Brooks, "Freud's Masterplot"
(Yale French Studies 55/56, 1977)

To which forms of prior criticism does Brooks seem indebted?

How does Brooks define "transformation"? (710) How is it related to metaphor and metonymy?

What is Brooks' criticism of structuralism and formalism? (711)

Why is it necessary to take into account temporality in interpreting meaning? (711)

What is meant by the statement that the passion for meaning is a desire for the end? (712) Would Aristotle have agreed? Why are we concerned with the end of a text? (712)

In what way may the beginning be said to presuppose the end?

What does it mean to say that life is defined by death? (712) Do you agree?

How does Brooks (following other structuralists) define "Le recit"? "Le sjuzet"? The fabula?

What is the middle of a plot, and why is it necessary? (713) Is it essential to the final meaning?

Why is Freud's Beyond the Pleasure Principle (as he describes it) useful for Brooks' purposes? (713)

What may be one psychological motive/purpose for repetition? (714) How does Brooks define "mastery"?

Is what sense is narrative a form of repetition? What are some forms of repetition basic to literature?

What is the relationship between repetition and narrative? (714) How does repetition subject temporal process to "an indeterminate shuttling or oscillation"? (714)

What response does beginning to read stimulate in the reader? (716)

What are some important goals of the postponement or detour? (718-19) What does it mean to say that an organism must live in order to die in the proper manner? (718) How does this relate to the middle of the plot?

What purpose is served by the subplot? (716) What are some plots motives which represent potential short-circuits? (719) How are they avoided?

What does Brooks see as the pattern of many plots? (718-19) How does he interpret the nineteenth-century bildungsroman? (719)

What was George Lukacs' description of the novel? (720)

What kinds of texts best fit Brooks' description? Least fit his description?

What does Brooks find misguided about some earlier psychological/psychoanalytic literary interpretations?

Can you imagine why later (feminist) critics might have objected to some aspects of the language and assumptions of Freudian narratology?

What does Brooks contribute to earlier Freudian readings of literature? Can you think of applications for his views?


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