HIDDEN PATTERNS by Leonard & Eleanor -Eds. Manheim


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Now that the pioneering age of psychoanalytic criticism recedes into the past, we may expect more sophisticated volumes such as the collection which the editors of the little magazine Literature and Psychology have assembled here. Terms like ""phallic mother"" still crop up in these papers, but they are not used as a net to trap whatever author is being discussed, nor do we get reams of abstruse clinical jargon or gaudy conjecture. The contributors are aware of both the limitations and advantages of their method and do not unduly give the impression that they are exponents of some holy synod of established truth. The 19th century is represented by studies of Hawthorne, Dickens and Dostoevsky, while the moderns are covered in essays concerning Mann, Joyce, Kafka, The Cocktail Party, Faulkner, and Lord of the Flies. Alfred Kazin offers some pompous musings on the misuse of psychiatric teachings, William Wasserstromhas a rich, if cluttered, appraisal of ""incest-patterns"" in some contemporary novels, and there are attempts by others to put into proper perspective more general matters, including the Oedipal theme. The gods of the movement have their entries, too: Freud's classic remarks about The Merchant of Venice, and Jung's idiosyncratic reasons for not liking Ulysses, ending with the quaint summation that it is ""sheer negation. Even so it is creative--a creative destruction."" A good haul, though the paper on Eliot is close to nonsense.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1966
Publisher: Macmillan