John O'Neill explores the human passions as both the object of psychoanalysis and the creative principle of Freud's own discovery and practice of psychoanalysis. Love, hate, anger, jealousy, envy, knowledge, and ignorance: the passions dominate infancy, adolescence, and adulthood, marking them with narcissism, murder, seduction, and self-destruction. They are both the soul's theater and the soul of theater, art, literature, and music. If fear, hate, envy, and jealousy rival love, beauty, and knowledge, or turn into one another, they just as surely expand the human heart. The original essays in this volume analyze the human passions in Freud's metapsychology, from the case histories of Dora, Rat Man, and Schreber to his studies of Leonardo da Vinci, Gradiva, and the "Case of Homosexuality in a Woman." Other essays are devoted to Macbeth, the Judgment of Solomon, Virginia Woolf, and Freud's own adolescence. In constructing a genealogy of the passions from early to late modernity, these studies show the subtle interaction of psychic and social conflict, of ambivalence and disavowal in the workings of the human soul.
Contributors are John O'Neill, William Kerrigan, Donald L. Carveth, Jerome Neu, Kathleen Woodward, Claire Kahane, Mary Jacobus, John Forrester, Ellie Ragland, Geoff Miles, and Laurence A. Rickels.