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The Case of California

2001
Author:

Laurence A. Rickels

The Case of California

A cult classic that explores the concept of “California”, now back in print!

Focusing on the changing image of the West Coast through such varied social and cultural artifacts as bodybuilding, group therapy, suicide cults, milk-carton images of missing children, teenage slang, and surf music, Laurence A. Rickels offers a dizzying psychohistory of the twentieth century as crystallized in the symbolic configuration called California and considered in relation to German modernism, national socialism, and Freudian psychoanalysis.

Rickels has written an important book reading psychoanalysis at the end of our century. His intent is to complete Adorno's refiguring of Mickey Mouse into his own Rickelian refiguration of Freud's project.

Sander L. Gilman

Cultural Studies

Focusing on the changing image of the West Coast through such varied social and cultural artifacts as bodybuilding, group therapy, suicide cults, milk-carton images of missing children, teenage slang, and surf music, Laurence A. Rickels offers a dizzying psychohistory of the twentieth century as crystallized in the symbolic configuration called California and considered in relation to German modernism, national socialism, and Freudian psychoanalysis.


The Case of California

Laurence A. Rickels is professor of German literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of The Vampire Lectures (1999) and the editor of Acting Out in Groups (1999), both published by the University of Minnesota Press.

The Case of California

Rickels has written an important book reading psychoanalysis at the end of our century. His intent is to complete Adorno's refiguring of Mickey Mouse into his own Rickelian refiguration of Freud's project.

Sander L. Gilman

Laurence Rickels is one of the few theorists today who is able to think technology through psychoanalysis and vice versa . . . .With California as the site of this encounter, Rickels takes Freud to the beach and California to the couch, picking up, in many ways, where the Frankfurt School left off.

Artforum

Provocative (and often hilarious), The Case of California explores the ‘bi-coastal logic of modernity,’ with California as one coast and Germany as the other. . . . Startling and brilliant.

San Francisco Bay Guardian

The Case of California is a classic study of California from the stance of a psycho-historian. The book is an intellectual tour de force that offers a highly eccentric vision of a familiar cultural landscape. His insights are often uncomfortable and unsettling, sometimes outright shocking, and always intentionally so. One measure of the success of Rickels’ audacious enterprise is we come away from this book with much less certainty about what we thought we knew about California when we first picked it up.

Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Times