The relationship between literature and psychoanalysis: reflections on object relations theory, researcher's subjectivity, and transference in psychoanalytic literary criticism
Peer reviewed, Journal article
MetadataShow full item record
From its beginning, psychoanalysis has taken an interest in literature –as a field to study and seek inspiration. How can literature and psychoanalysis enrich and illuminate each other? This text discusses methods and theory in psychoanalytic literary criticism. Contributions from object relations theory, the significance of the researcher’s subjectivity, and issues of transference are emphasized. The difference between the literary and the clinical on the one hand and the challenge of reductionism on the other are imminent concerns, and as such are elaborated. Abundant access to theory and methods, awareness of the researcher’s subjective involvement in the research process, and a determination to ensure articulation of meaning as it springs from the texts are emphasized as ways to counteract reductionism. Examples from psychoanalytic literary criticism and insights of authors on the underpinnings of their creative writing illustrate how literature and psychoanalysis meet in interest for the unconscious as it is embedded in language; how language can capture us in an emotional presence, even when words seem lost or absent.