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Psychoanalytical Criticism

  Psychoanalytical criticism is the application to literary texts of analytical methods similar to Freud\'s techniques for unlocking his patients\' repressed emotions. It starts from the premise that an author\'s repressed emotions affect the way he or she writes, and that examination of particular stylistic methods will reveal more about those emotions and therefore about the work. Particular stylistic techniques involved are displacement (refocusing emotion from one person or object to another: Thomas Mann\'s story Death in Venice is a notable example of this) and condensation (combining of several ideas into one, as in metaphor or metonymy).

Psychoanalytical criticism has general value, in the consideration of writers as varied as Frank Herbert and Franz Kafka, Murasaki and Gabriel García Márquez. But its principal claim on the attention, at least of literary critics, is that it was one starting point for the theories of Jacques Lacan, in which—as applied to literature—the hidden meanings and agendas of a text are assumed to have a philosophical existence almost independent of (and certainly capable of study apart from) the person who created it. KMcL

Further reading E. Wright, Psychoanalytical Criticism.



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Psychoanalytic Theory Of Art


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