Download Freud in Oz : at the intersections of psychoanalysis and by Kenneth B. Kidd PDF

By Kenneth B. Kidd

Children’s literature has spent a long time at the psychiatrist’s sofa, filing to psychoanalysis via rankings of students and renowned writers alike. Freud in Oz turns the tables, suggesting that psychoanalysts owe an important and mostly unacknowledged debt to books ostensibly written for kids. actually, Kenneth B. Kidd argues, children’s literature and psychoanalysis have prompted and interacted with one another considering that Freud released his first case studies.

In Freud in Oz, Kidd exhibits how psychoanalysis constructed partly via its engagement with children’s literature, which it used to articulate and dramatize its issues and techniques, turning first to folklore and fairy stories, then to fabrics from psychoanalysis of youngsters, and thence to children’s literary texts, specially such vintage fantasies as Peter Pan and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. He strains how children’s literature, and significant reaction to it, aided the popularization of psychoanalytic thought. With expanding recognition of psychoanalysis got here new genres of children’s literature—known this day as photograph books and younger grownup novels—that have been usually formed as mental of their varieties and functions.

Freud in ounces offers a heritage of reigning theories within the examine of children’s literature and psychoanalysis, delivering clean insights on a variety of themes, together with the view that Maurice Sendak and Bruno Bettelheim might be regarded as opponents, that Sendak’s makeover of monstrosity helped bring about the likes of the Muppets, and that “Poohology” is its personal type of literary criticism—serving up Winnie the Pooh because the poster endure for theorists of largely various stripes.

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I am only happy that I would have influenced Bruno Bettelheim” (cited in Pollak 1988, 351). Is the alleged plagiarism less scandalous if we understand Bettelheim as the most successful in a long line of psychoanalytic commentators on fairy tales? With this subject at least, he is more popularizer than original thinker, and his book has in turn spawned a cottage industry of bibliotherapeutic writing on fairy tales. There is Sheldon Cashdan’s The Witch Must Die: The Hidden Meaning of Fairy Tales (1999), for instance, as well as Catherine Orenstein’s Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality, and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale (2002).

Bettelheim mobilizes familiar psychoanalytic arguments about the fairy tale, while addressing the issue of children’s literature directly. Bettelheim disparages modern children’s books and insists that the fairy tale is the real children’s literature, exactly because it is so psychologically useful. Fairy tales, he thought, encourage children to work through various unconscious dilemmas. But Bettelheim could teach us how to read fairy tales psychoanalytically because Sigmund Freud had already learned from fairy tales and incorporated them into psychoanalytic discourse.

Up till now it has chiefly concerned itself with the Fairy-Tale, literature for older children only rarely playing a part in analytical research” (1942, 129). Friedlaender, a psychiatrist, makes the case that books appealing to children in the latency stage do so because they help children meet psychological challenges. Decades before Bettelheim, she identifies a number of features common to favorite latency-period books, features also more explicitly present in fairy tales, she notes. These include orphanhood or dramatic changes in circumstance for 14 kids, fairy tales, and enchantment the main character, which she likens to the family romance, as well as the regular “taming” of bad adults alongside an impossible goodness in child character, symptomatic of “certain functions of the Ego’s defence-mechanisms” (138).

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