Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Margaret Baker Graham


In this dissertation, I demonstrate the relationship between narrative representation and psychoanalysis, first by describing the psychoanalytical project, second, by showing how deeply psychoanalysis has penetrated our collective consciousness, and third, by discussing its reception today. This study uses narrative theory as an investigative tool for the study of a considerable piece of intellectual history: the making of theory in psychoanalysis. My premises are: (1) Narrative theory provides tools for understanding intellectual history through the making of knowledge, in this case, psychoanalytic knowledge; (2) Narrative concepts of time, authority, personal agency, and determinism are particularly useful when applied to psychoanalytic theory, because of the inherent discursive nature of psychoanalysis and because of the rising scientism into which it was born; (3) The enormity of Freud's project and the vehemence of the medical establishment's reaction against his work compounded his need for an appeal to scientists, which he made through narrative authority; (4) Re-configuration of inquiry from history to archive, applied to three types of narrative provides insights into the making of scientific knowledge that far exceed what we have formerly had. These three types of narrative are: psychoanalysis in the form of the case study, reflection in the form of Freud's letters to confidants and his meta-analytical works, and history in the form of what other scholars have written about him;Dora: A Fragment of a Case of Hysteria is the primary text for the study of these issues. The case is discussed on its own terms, in terms of its contribution to science as Freud saw it, and in terms of his use of story-telling to establish authority. Application of narrative theory to the making of scientific knowledge helps to explain how ideas gain primacy, how an argument was made as strong as psychoanalysis was. This study shows how narrative informed, enlivened, authorized, and solidified what began as a hunch about the * value of the talking cure, into a scientific field of inquiry that, for many years, appeared to many people infallible. It is through a consideration of the many layers of narrative on narrative that we make inroads into understanding the genesis and perpetuation of this by no means small piece of intellectual history.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Sue Ann Tatro



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

101 pages