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Death and the Mother from Dickens to Freud : Victorian Fiction and the Anxiety of Origins - Carolyn Dever

Death and the Mother from Dickens to Freud

Victorian Fiction and the Anxiety of Origins

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Published: 28th May 1998
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Victorian culture is famous for its idealization of mothers and families, yet the popular novels of this period frequently feature mothers who are dead or otherwise absent. Through an analysis of the work of Dickens, Collins, Eliot, Darwin and Woolf, Carolyn Dever discusses this apparent paradox. She shows how the idealized dead mother is fundamental to the Victorians' idea of origins, and later becomes the central figure of Freudian psychoanalysis. Dever demonstrates that Victorian literature and psychoanalysis have much to teach us about each other.

"This volume will suit those who enjoy post-Freudian analysis of literature..." Choice "Carolyn Dever's book is well-researched and excellent study about the actual medical and idealized literary versions of mothers dying in childbirth in Victorian England." Monika Elbert, Journal of the Association for Research in Mothering "...[an] often brilliantly illuminating, always compelling discussion of the significance of maternal death in Victorian narrative. Dever's close, theoreticallu sophisticated, often delightfully witty readings display both her originality and her synthetic skill. Her analysis of the analysts is a tour de force (she is a superb reader of Klein in perticular), and her discussion of Victorian narrative as an elaborate fort-da game - where the mother's absence is controlled and displaced by its representation - is splendid." Eileen Gilloly, Victorian Studies "Carolyn Dever's Death and the Mother from Dickens to Freud: Victorian Fiction and the Anxiety of Origins is a shrewd and elegant account of the meaning of maternal loss in psychoanalysis...and in Bleak House, The Woman in White, Daniel Deronda, Charles Darwin's Autobiography, and To the Lighthouse. Dever understands Freudian psychoanalytic theory and the Victorian novel to dwell within a common horizon of cultural assumptions, which is why she is able so persuasively to read Freud's case studies as exemplifying mid-Victorian fictional tropes." Linda Dowling, Studies in English Literature "...a shrewd and elegant account of the meaning of maternal loss in psychoanalysis..." SEL

Preface
The lady vanishes
Psychoanalytic cannibalism
Broken mirror, broken words: Bleak House
The narrative of the tombstone: Wilkie Collins and the secret of the mother's plot
Denial, displacement, Deronda, or what it means to desire the mother
Calling Dr. Darwin
Virginia Woolf's 'Victorian novel'
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521622806
ISBN-10: 0521622808
Series: Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature & Culture
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 252
Published: 28th May 1998
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.54