Toward a World of Difference: Victor Tausk’s Emergent Psychoanalysis

Katie Lally
UC Santa Cruz

This project considers the lasting effects of psychoanalytic theory in literary and cultural analysis and asks how it might change with greater attention turned to one early, overlooked psychoanalyst named Victor Tausk. Although Freud’s contributions have proven valuable to many, his insistence upon a singular, dominant narrative of history, reliance upon Western myth, and formation of a universal map of the psyche that normativizes the familial configurations of bourgeois Viennese household yet exports it across time and space is an inherently colonial typology. Tausk’s work, on the other hand, born out his much more heterogeneous, multilingual experience, his training as a jurist, and interest in the defense of both peasant-class and schizophrenic subjects, makes for a kind of psychoanalytic theory that can attend to difference. It thus allows for a new technology of thought that engages a creative medical discourse rather than trapping itself in a circular and medically authorized ideology.