Epistemologies of the particular: reading Tessa Hadley's An Abduction

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In Tessa Hadley’s (2012) short story An Abduction, a prototypical psychoanalytic primal scene is deployed to convey the main character’s emotional journey from innocence to experience. Drawing on the Aristotelian notion of recognition and the work of the philosopher Martha Nussbaum, I develop a reading of Hadley’s story that explores the notion of cataleptic knowledge, or knowledge that is acquired through emotional suffering. I suggest that Hadley’s story illuminates emotional experience by conveying vividly to the reader what Jane’s experience is ‘like’, and conclude by discussing some of the epistemological challenges presented by the psychoanalytic case history that similarly aims to represent what psychoanalytic work is ‘like’
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalPsychodynamic Practice
Issue number1
Early online date11 Nov 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Nov 2021

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