Jacqueline Rose

Jacqueline Rose’s The Plague – Living Death in Our Times was published by Fitzcarraldo this summer. She is co-director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.

‘You made me do it’

Jacqueline Rose, 30 November 2023

In response​ to the destruction of Gaza, it seems to be becoming almost impossible to lament more than one people at a time. When I signed Artists for Palestine’s statement last month, I looked for mention of the atrocities committed by Hamas against Israeli Jews on 7 October, and then decided to settle for the unambiguous condemnation of ‘every act of violence against...

The cast of EastEnders in the Queen Vic (1985).

In​ the first episode of EastEnders (19 February 1985), one of the longest running TV soap operas in the world, Reg Cox is found half-dead and stinking in a filthy garret after languishing there for days. For the next half an hour, the members of the community of Walford – the fictional East London borough where the show is set...

To Die One’s Own Death

Jacqueline Rose, 19 November 2020

What is left of the inner life when the world turns more cruel, or appears to turn more cruel, than ever before? When it reels from inflicted blows – pandemic, war, starvation, climate devastation or all these together – what happens to the fabric of the mind? Is its only option defensive – to batten down the hatches, to haul up the drawbridge, or simply to survive? And does that leave room to grieve, not just for those who have been lost, but for the broken pieces and muddled fragments that make us who we are? Barely six months after the outbreak of the First World War, on Christmas Day 1914, Freud wrote to Ernest Jones to lament that the psychoanalytic movement ‘is now perishing in the strife of nations’ (the two men were on opposite sides in the war). ‘I do not delude myself,’ he wrote. ‘The springtime of our science has abruptly broken off . . . all we can do is to keep the fire flickering in a few hearths, until a more favourable wind makes it possible to light it again to full blaze.’ At a time of pandemic like the one we are living in today, is there room for anything like the complex reckoning with life and with death that is the unique domain of psychoanalysis?

Jacqueline Rose writes: Neil Foxlee takes issue with my use of Stuart Gilbert’s 1948 translation of Camus’s The Plague, which for half a century was the only version of the novel available in English. Like him, I criticise this version at several points but missed, as he points out, the mistrans­lation of the man in the dock in Tarrou’s monologue as a ‘yellow owl’ (he is indeed red-headed).Mostly,...

Pointing the Finger: ‘The Plague’

Jacqueline Rose, 7 May 2020

Ever since​ the arrival of Covid-19 – in Western Europe, roughly at the end of January – sales of Albert Camus’s The Plague, first published in 1947, have increased exponentially, an upsurge strangely in line with the graphs that daily chart the toll of the sick and the dead. By the end of March, monthly sales of the UK Penguin Classics edition had grown from the low...

Boris Johnson’s japes are comparable in neutralising effect to the softening charm of Tony Blair. How can such a matey, blokey person, ‘someone you could have a pint with’, possess darker, colder...

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‘Profonde Albertine’, the narrator writes close to the end of Proust’s novel. By ‘deep’ – profonde – he means ‘unreachable’. She was mostly...

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Jacqueline Rose has written a timely and courageous book. One immediate sign of this is its dedication to the late Edward Said, and its rewriting of the title of one of his most important books,

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There are good reasons, and a few bad ones, for lifting minor characters out of famous texts and putting them centre-stage. One bad reason might be that refiguring a large reputation quietly...

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Terry Eagleton, 20 June 1996

In the days of F.R. Leavis, English literary criticism was wary of overseas, a place saddled with effete, Latinate languages without pith or vigour. Proust is relegated to a lofty footnote in...

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Slick Chick

Elaine Showalter, 11 July 1991

We all know the story. A brilliant, neurotic young American woman poet, studying on a fellowship at Cambridge, meets and marries the ‘black marauder’ who is the male poet-muse of her...

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