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Representations of the Gypsy in the Romantic PeriodAnd a republication of a book first published in 1991:
Oxford University Press
16 October 2014
In early eighteenth-century texts, the gypsy is frequently figured as an amusing rogue; by the Victorian period, it has begun to take on a nostalgic, romanticized form, abandoning sublimity in favour of the bucolic fantasy propagated by George Borrow and the founding members of the Gypsy Lore Society. Representations of the Gypsy in the Romantic Period argues that, in the gap between these two situations, the figure of the gypsy is exploited by Romantic-period writers and artists, often in unexpected ways. Drawing attention to prom
inent writers (including Wordsworth, Austen, Clare, Cowper and Brontë) as well as those less well-known, Sarah Houghton-Walker examines representations of gypsies in literature and art from 1780-1830, alongside the contemporary socio-historical events and cultural processes which put pressure on those representations. She argues that, raising troubling questions by its repeated escape from the categories of enlightenment discourses which might seek to 'know' or 'understand' in empirical ways, the gypsy exists both within and outside of conventional English society. The figure of the gypsy is thus available to writers and artists to facilitate the articulation of dilemmas and anxieties taking various forms, and especially as a lens through which questions of knowledge and identity (which is often mutable, and troubling) might be focussed.
The Chamber of Maiden Thought (Psychology Revivals)
Literary Origins of the Psychoanalytic Model of the Mind
By Meg Harris Williams, Margot Waddell
October 13th 2014
Literature is recognised as having significantly influenced the development of modern psychoanalytic thought. In recent years psychoanalysis has drawn increasingly on the literary and artistic traditions of western culture and moved away from its original medical-scientific context. Originally published in 1991 The Chamber of Maiden Thought (Keats's metaphor for 'the awakening of the thinking principle') is an original and revealing exploration of the seminal role of literature in forming the modern psychoanalytic model of the mind. The crux of the 'post-Kleinian' psychoanalytic view of personality development lies in the internal relations between the self and the mind's 'objects'. Meg Harris Williams and Margot Waddell show that these relations have their origins in the drama of identifications which we can see played out metaphorically and figuratively in literature, which presents the self-creative process in aesthetic terms. They argue that psychoanalysis is a true child of literature rather than merely the interpreter or explainer of literature, illustrating this with some examples from clinical experience, but drawing above all on close scrutiny of the dynamic mental processes presented in the work of Shakespeare, Milton, the Romantic poets, Emily Brontë and George Eliot. The Chamber of Maiden Thought will encourage psychoanalytic workers to respond to the influence of literature in exploring symbolic mental processes. By bringing psychoanalysis into creative conjunction with the arts, it enables practitioners to tap a cultural potential whose insights into the human mind are of immense value.