Après Coup: Psychoanalysis and the Arts

Welcome to the Après-Coup “corner” of the NPSI website. Our aim is to demonstrate how psychoanalytic principles are integrally related to aesthetic experience. We welcome reviews and commentary by our members reflecting their experiences with the arts, including film, theater, opera, and the visual arts.

French psychoanalyst Haydée Faimberg (2007) first used the term après-coup in 1998 to make Freud’s word, Nachträglichkeit, (defined as psychic temporality) more explicit. She says, “The broader conceptualization of Nachträglichkeit that I have proposed plays an active part in the process of assigning new meaning, retroactively (usually through interpretation) – and even giving a meaning, for the first time (usually through construction) – to what the analysand says and cannot say.”

We are using Faimberg’s concept of après-coup to describe how a viewer/reader/listener may be impacted by a specific work of art to the extent that they reflect on its meaning retroactively.

Faimberg, H. (2007). A plea for a broader concept of Nachträglichkeit. Psychoanal. Q., 76: 1221-1240.

For additional information or to submit an essay contact Maxine Nelson at maxinenelson1@gmail.com


To read more click on any of the titles listed below: 
“An Experience of Midsummer Revelry and Reverie” by Margaret Bergmann-Ness, LICSW, July 2014 [.pdf Document]

“The “Face” in Aesthetics and Psychoanalysis” by Maxine Nelson, LICSW, June 2013[.pdf Document]

“Sigmund Freud and Melanie Klein: You Get the Picture” by Daniel Benveniste, PhD, May 2012 [.pdf Document]

“Peter Weir’s Fearless: Understanding the Manic Defense” by Maxine Nelson, LICSW, March 2012 [.pdf Document]