Dickens, Family, Authorship: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Kinship and Creativity, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Dickens, Family, Authorship

Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Kinship and Creativity, 1st Edition

By Lynn Cain


202 pages

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Drawing on a wide range of Dickens's writings, including all of his novels and a selection of his letters, journalism, and shorter fiction, Dickens, Family, Authorship provides a provocative account of the evolution of an author from whose psychological honesty and imaginative generosity emerged precocious fictional portents of Freudian and post-Freudian theory. The decade 1843-1853 was pivotal in Dickens's career. A phase of feverish activity on both personal and professional fronts, it included the irrevocable souring of his relations with his parents, the peripatetic residence in continental Europe, and a massive proliferation of writing and editing activities including the aborted autobiography. It was a period of astounding creativity which consolidated Dickens's authorial and financial stature. It was also one tainted by loss: the deaths of his father, sister and daughter, and the alarming desertion of his early facility for composition. Lynn Cain's substantial study of the four novels produced during this turbulent decade - Martin Chuzzlewit, Dombey and Son, David Copperfield and Bleak House - traces the evolution of Dickens's creative imagination to discover in the modulating fictional representation of family relationships a paradigm for his authorial development. Closely argued readings demonstrate a reorientation from a patriarchal to a maternal dynamic which signals a radical shift in Dickens's creative technique. Interweaving critical analysis of the four novels with biography and the linguistic and psychoanalytic writings of modern theorists, especially Kristeva and Lacan, Lynn Cain explores the connection between Dickens's susceptibility to depression during this period and his increasingly self-conscious exploitation of his own mental states in his fiction.

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword; Introduction; Martin Chuzzlewit; Dombey and Son; David Copperfield; Bleak House; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Lynn Cain is a former editor of Stand literary magazine and founding editor of Arts Research Digest.

About the Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series aims to develop and promote new approaches and fresh directions in scholarship and criticism on nineteenth-century literature and culture. The series encourages work which erodes the traditional boundary between Romantic and Victorian studies and welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to the literary, religious, scientific and visual cultures of the period. While British literature and culture are the core subject matter of monographs and collections in the series,  the editors encourage proposals which explore the wider, international contexts of nineteenth-century literature – transatlantic, European and global.  Print culture, including studies in the newspaper and periodical press, book history, life writing and gender studies are particular strengths of this established series as are high quality single author studies.  The series also embraces research in the field of digital humanities. The editors invite proposals from both younger and established scholars in all areas of nineteenth-century literary studies. 

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