Jennifer Spitzer discusses her new book, Secret Sharers: The Intimate Rivalries of Modernism and Psychoanalysis

"If modernism was anything, it was a literature of consciousness. For that reason, Freud and psychoanalysis have long been seen as crucial context to the literary innovations of the early twentieth century. Secret Sharers, however, troubles received notions about the role of Freud within literary modernism, offering a new narrative in which modernism was shaped by an engagement that was both anxious and constitutive. Jennifer Spitzer’s book is a timely invitation to reexamine modernism’s fundamental concerns and their bearing on the work we do as literary critics."

Timothy Wientzen, author of Automatic: Literary Modernism and the Politics of Reflex


Claire Gleitman, Dean, School of Humanities and Sciences

Salute to the Book :     
Timothy Wientzen

Jennifer Spitzer, author

Robert Volpicelli

Join the conversation!

This conversation takes place Monday March 27 on Zoom, from 7-8 p.m.

Register in advance for this meeting: 

Sponsored by the Park Center for Independent Media and The Edge



Secret Sharers traces a genealogy of secret sharing between literary modernism and psychoanalysis, focusing on the productive entanglements and intense competitive rivalries that helped shape Anglo-American modernism as a field.

Such rivalries played out in explicit criticism, inventive misreadings, and revisions of Freudian forms―from D. H. Lawrence’s re-descriptions of the unconscious to Vladimir Nabokov’s parodies of the psychoanalytic case study. While some modernists engaged directly with Freud and Freudian psychoanalysis with unmistakable rivalry and critique, others wrestled in more complex ways with Freud’s legacy.

The key protagonists of this study―D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, W. H. Auden, and Vladimir Nabokov―are noteworthy for the way they engaged with, popularized, and revised the terms of Freudian psychoanalysis, while also struggling with it as an encroaching discourse.




Jennifer Spitzer is Associate Professor of English at Ithaca College. She writes and teaches at the intersection of transatlantic modernism, psychoanalysis, modern spiritualism, the medical humanities, and gender and sexuality. She previously taught at New York University, where she completed her Ph.D., and at Harvard University, as a Lecturer in History and Literature.

Her essays have been published in the Modern Language Quarterly, Journal of Modern Literature, Studies in the Novel, and Modernism/modernity as well as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Her book, “Secret Sharers: The Intimate Rivalries of Modernism and Psychoanalysis,” was published in February 2023. She is a contributor to The Edge.

Read Jennifer Spitzer's latest piece for The Edge, "Purebloods: The Anti-Semitism and White Supremacy of the Anti-Vax Movement"



Robert Volpicelli is Associate Professor of English at Randolph-Macon College. He is the author of Transatlantic Modernism and the US Lecture Tour (2021).  His research areas span transnational modernism, the avant garde, twentieth century American literature, studies in empire and colonialism, and sociological approaches to literature and disability studies. He has published essays in NOVEL:  A Forum on Fiction; Journal of Modern Literature; Paideuma: Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics; New Hibernia Review; and Twentieth Century Literature.  He is an Ithaca College alum.


Timothy Wientzen is Associate Professor and Chair of English at Skidmore College. His research engages Literary modernism in both British and global context, Science, materialism, and embodiment; History and theory of the novel; Contemporary Anglophone fiction; and Science fiction and the environment. He is author of Automatic: Literary Modernism and the Politics of Reflex (2021). His essays have been published in Modernism/Modernity;  Novel: A Forum on Fiction;  and Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture.