Psychoanalytic literary criticism refers to literary criticism or literary theory which, in method, concept, or form, is influenced by the tradition of psychoanalysis begun by Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalytic reading has been practiced since the early development of psychoanalysis itself, and has developed into a heterogeneous interpretive tradition. As Patricia Waugh writes, 'Psychoanalytic literary criticism does not constitute a unified field....However, all variants endorse, at least to a certain degree, the idea that literature...is fundamentally entwined with the psychoanalytic. The reader-response school of literary criticism offers psychoanalysts an opportunity to refine further the subjective affective and cognitive experiences of reading, for the purposes of understanding the reader and adding to the understanding of the text and "implied author." Recent contributions to the phenomenology of reading call for further clarification of the psychology of reading and writing. Theory, methodology, and guidelines must be delineated as to how psychoanalysts can use themselves within applied psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytic criticism adopts the methods of "reading" employed by Freud and later theorists to interpret texts. It argues that literary texts, like dreams, express the secret unconscious desires and anxieties of the author, that a literary work is a manifestation of the author's own neuroses. One may psychoanalyze a particular character within a literary work, but it is usually assumed that all such characters are projections of the author's psyche. One interesting facet of this approach is that it validates the importance of literature, as it is built on a literary key for the decoding. Freud himself wrote, "The dream-thoughts which we first come across as we proceed with our analysis often strike us by the unusual form in which they are expressed; they are not clothed in the prosaic language usually...
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