Children’s literature

Part I. Theory and critical approaches

 

9. Psychoanalytical criticism

 

Hamida Bosmajian

 

Conclusion

 

The revisions and transformations by which psychoanalytical theories and criticisms continue to construct themselves have retained so far the concept of the unconscious and its powerful influence on the ego’s development and struggle in the world. Children’s literature, whose language signifies the substitutions and displacements necessitated in that struggle, intimates and makes acceptable the dream of desire. It is a great irony of our psychoanalytic age that the psychological self-help narratives for young readers abandon consideration of the powers of the id in favour of the social adjustment of the young ego and that they do so, usually, in the language of low mimetic accessibility where the mode of romance and poetry is gone. That phenomenon is itself worthy of psychoanalytical interpretations of authors, texts and readers.

 

References

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Bosmajian, H. (1985) ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Eactory and Other Excremental Visions’, The Lion and the Unicorn 9: 36-49.

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Daniels, S. (1990) ‘The Velveteen Rabbit. A Kleinian Perspective’, Children’s Literature 18: 17-30. Egan, M. (1982) ‘The Neverland of Id. Barrie, Peter Pan, and Freud’, Children’s Literature 10. 37-55.

Franz, M.-L. von (1977) Individuation in Fairy Tales, Zurich. Spring.

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Natov, R (1990) ‘Mothers and Daughters. Jamaica Kincaid’s Pre-Oedipal Narrative’, Children’s Literature 18. 1-16.

Nodelman, P. (1992) The Pleasures of Children’s Literature, New York. Longman.

Paris, B. J. (1974) A Psychological Approach to Fiction, Bloomington, IN. Indiana University Press. Phillips, J. and Wojcik-Andrews, I. (1990) ‘Notes toward a Marxist Critical Practice, Children’s Literature 18. 127-30.

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Rushdy, A. H. A. (1991) ‘ “The Miracle of the Web”: Community, Desire and Narrativity in Charlotte’s Web, The Lion and the Unicorn 15, 2: 35-60.

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Segel, E. (1986) ‘ “As the Twig Is Bent ...”, Gender and Childhood Reading’, in Flynn, E. A. and Schweikart, P. (eds) Gender and Reading, Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

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Steig, M. (1990) ‘Why Bettelheim? A Comment on the Use of Psychological Theories in Criticism’, Children’s Literature 18: 125-6.

Tatar, M. (1992) Off with Their Heads! Fairy Tales and the Culture of Childhood, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Winnicott, D. W. (1971) Playing and Reality, New York: Tavistock/Routledge.

Wright, E. (1984) Psychoanalytic Criticism, New York: Methuen.

Zipes, J. (1979) Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tales, Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

- (1990) ‘Negating History and Male Fantasies through Psychoanalytic Criticism’, Children’s Literature 18: 141-3.

 

Further reading

Bloch, D. (1978) ‘So the Witch Won’t Eat Me’ Fantasy and the Child’s Fear of Infanticide, New York: Grove Press.

Jung, C. G. (1964) Man and His Symbols, New York: Doubleday.

Tucker, N. (1981) The Child and the Book: A Psychological and Literary Exploration, New York: Cambridge University Press.