Cover for AHAD: Freud Upside Down: African American Literature and Psychoanalytic Culture. Click for larger image
Ebook Information

Freud Upside Down

African American Literature and Psychoanalytic Culture

A salient take on psychoanalysis as a cultural phenomenon, intersecting with African American literature

This thought-provoking cultural history explores how psychoanalytic theories shaped the works of important African American literary figures. Badia Sahar Ahad details how Nella Larsen, Richard Wright, Jean Toomer, Ralph Ellison, Adrienne Kennedy, and Danzy Senna employed psychoanalytic terms and conceptual models to challenge notions of race and racism in twentieth-century America.

Freud Upside Down explores the relationship between these authors and intellectuals and the psychoanalytic movement emerging in the United States over the course of the twentieth century. Examining how psychoanalysis has functioned as a cultural phenomenon within African American literary intellectual communities since the 1920s, Ahad lays out the historiography of the intersections between literature and psychoanalysis and considers the creative approaches of African American writers to psychological thought in their work and their personal lives.

"An innovative and meaningful addition to recent scholarship on race and psychoanalysis. Badia Sahar Ahad's work makes a significant historical and theoretical contribution to the study of race, psychoanalysis, African American literature, and American culture.”--Gwen S. Bergner, author of Taboo Subjects: Sex and Psychoanalysis

"Freud Upside Down showcases a theoretical sophistication that opens up exciting archives to a new take on literary and intellectual history." --Michael L. Cobb, author of God Hates Fags: The Rhetorics of Religious Violence


Badia Sahar Ahad is an assistant professor of English at Loyola University.

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