A close reading of Freud's texts reveals that they make a surprising historical argument by virtue of their metaphors. The fantasy world of the family romance (primary process or the unconscious) and the world of consciousness (secondary process or the ego) are represented, respectively, by the vocabularies of feudalism and capitalism. Even after Freud's mid-career revision of his model of the mind, in which the difference between consciousness and the unconscious and between ego and libido becomes less important, he continues to use the metaphors to describe primary and secondary processes. The author demonstrates how durable and precise this double tropology is, and how clearly it conforms to representations of feudalism in classical historiography and Christian theology and to representations of capitalism in Hegel, Marx, and John Maynard Keynes. The result is a picture of the Freudian psyche as a storehouse of the concrete, material history from which modern subjectivity derives.

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