States of Fantasy by Jacqueline Rose (Professor of English, Queen Mary and Westfield College, Professor of English, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London)
States of Fantasy is Jacqueline Rose's much-praised contribution to the current controversy over the limits of English Studies. Arguing for an expansion of the new boundaries of `English', and for the importance of psychoanalysis to the understanding of our literary and historical lives, Rose looks at Israel/Palestine and South Africa, and their place in the English literary and cultural imagination. Jacqueline Rose's fundamental question is the place of fantasy in public and private identities, and in these pages she pushes her investigation further into what might at first glance seem unlikely places. In September 1993, Israel and the PLO signed their first peace treaty; in April 1994, South Africa held its first non-racial democratic elections. States of Fantasy persuasively puts the case that nowhere demonstrates more clearly than these two arenas of historic conflict the need for a psychoanalytically informed understanding of historical process. In so doing, this book shows how the place of England and its writing in those histories emphasize the unbreakable line that runs between literature and politics. Stretching the limits of the `canon' debate, the author offers the strongest rebuttal to critics who try to sever the links between the study of literature and culture and the making and unmaking of the modern world. The central part of this wide-ranging and lively study was originally delivered as the 1994 Clarendon Lectures in Oxford.