Literary Criticism

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Psychoanalytical Approach in Literary Criticism
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PSYCHOANALYTICAL APPROACH IN LITERATURE

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 psyche'.[1]
The object of psychoanalytic literary criticism, at its very simplest, can be the psychoanalysis of the author or of a particularly interesting character in a given work. In this directly therapeutic form, the criticism is very similar to psychoanalysis itself, closely following the analytic interpretive process discussed in Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams and other works. Critics may view the fictional characters as a psychological case study, attempting to identify such Freudian concepts as Oedipus complex, penis envy, Freudian slips, Id, ego and superego and so on, and demonstrate how they influenced the thoughts and behaviors of fictional characters.
However, more complex variations of psychoanalytic criticism are possible. The concepts of psychoanalysis can be deployed with reference to the narrative or poetic structure itself, without requiring access to the authorial psyche (an interpretation motivated by French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan's remark that "the unconscious is structured like a language"). Or the founding texts of psychoanalysis may themselves be treated as literature, and re-read for the light cast by their formal qualities on their theoretical content (Freud's texts frequently resemble detective stories, or the archaeological narratives of which he

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