Edited By Josefa Ros Velasco
10 Inner Voices: Literary Realism and Psychoanalysis (Josie Billington (University of Liverpool))
10 Inner Voices: Literary Realism and Psychoanalysis
University of Liverpool
The synergy of Freudian psychoanalytic thinking and modernist experimentation is well-documented (Abel 1989; Stonebridge 1998; Ffytche 2010; Spitzer 2014). So, too, is the relation of the formation of psychology as a discipline to the orientation of certain 19th-century literary (poetic and fictional) cultural forms or modes (Block 1982; Faas 1988; Taylor 1997; Rylance 2000; Tate 2012) and to the development of particular novelists (Shuttleworth 1996), one of which, George Eliot, is the focus of this chapter (Shuttleworth 1984; Davis 2006). However, the realist novel and the development of psychoanalysis are usually regarded as two historically distinct and consecutive responses to the loss of religious explanations for mental suffering (Lucáks 1971), rather than intrinsically connected (Matus 2010; Ryan 2012).
I argue that the realist novel and psychoanalytic theory and practice, as propounded by Freud and thence developed by Wilfred Bion in particular, might be regarded as analogous projects, connected mainly via the realist novel’s employment of free indirect discourse. I concentrate on George Eliot for these purposes for three chief reasons: first, as the virtual founder of the literary realist tradition, her use of free indirect discourse is technically virtuoso and thus its relation to psychoanalytic practice is at its most visible; second, the relation of George Eliot’s role as writer to that of healer or therapist has been adumbrated by scholars from a range of disciplines, a...
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