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Freud in Oz

Freud in Oz: At the Intersections of Psychoanalysis and Children’s Literature

Kenneth B. Kidd
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 328
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  • Book Info
    Freud in Oz
    Book Description:

    Children’s literature has spent decades on the psychiatrist’s couch, submitting to psychoanalysis by scores of scholars and popular writers. Freud in Oz suggests that psychoanalysts owe a significant and largely unacknowledged debt to books ostensibly written for children. Kenneth B. Kidd argues that children’s literature and psychoanalysis have influenced and interacted with each other since Freud published his first case studies.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7869-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction: Reopening the Case of Peter Pan
    (pp. vii-xxviii)

    “The serious study of children’s literature,” writes Michael Egan in a 1982 essay onPeter Pan,“may be said to have begun with Freud” (37). Freud was interested in a genre now firmly associated with childhood, the fairy tale, and thanks to his encouragement, “almost every single major psychoanalyst wrote at least one paper applying psychoanalytic theory to folklore” (Dundes 1987, 21). But though the serious study of children’s literature began with Freud, we may also say that psychoanalysis developed in part through its engagement with children’s literature. Psychoanalysis used children’s literature to articulate and dramatize its themes and methods,...

  4. 1. Kids, Fairy Tales, and the Uses of Enchantment
    (pp. 1-34)

    The idea that the fairy tale is an appropriate narrative genre for children predates psychoanalysis, but psychoanalysis nurtured that idea, building upon existing associations of childhood and primitive/folk culture. Psychoanalytic advocacy for the fairy tale began long before Bruno Bettelheim made the case inThe Uses of Enchantment(1976). Bettelheim mobilizes familiar psychoanalytic arguments about the fairy tale, while addressing the issue of children’s literature directly. Bettelheim disparages modern children’s books and insists that the fairy tale is therealchildren’s literature, exactly because it is so psychologically useful. Fairy tales, he thought, encourage children to work through various unconscious...

  5. 2. Child Analysis, Play, and the Golden Age of Pooh
    (pp. 35-64)

    In a provocative essay about theory and psychoanalysis, Michael Payne likens scenes of child sexual curiosity in Freud’s 1908The Sexual Theories of Children(1963d) to chapter 7 of A.A. Milne’s 1926Winnie-the-Pooh,about the alarming arrival of Kanga and Baby Roo in the 100 Aker Wood. “The subsequent, charming conversation among Pooh, Piglet, and Rabbit,” writes Payne,

    is a wonderfully zany exercise in theory construction arising out of such concerns as these: Who are these strange animals with their odd ways who have just intruded into our forest, especially having as they do a pocket in the mother’s body...

  6. 3. Three Case Histories Alice, Peter Pan, and The Wizard of Oz
    (pp. 65-102)

    Jacqueline Rose’sThe Case of Peter Pan(1984) is not only the best-known theoretical statement on children’s literature; it is also the best-known example of what we might call literary-critical case writing: the building of an argument or analysis around a single text, usually literary, and in this instance a text for children. Rose was not the first to practice such case writing. We recall Crews’sThe Pooh Perplex,addressed in chapter 2, which satirizes not only schools of literary analysis but also the freshman pedagogical casebook on a literary text. To very different ends, Crews and Rose capitalize on...

  7. 4. Maurice Sendak and Picturebook Psychology
    (pp. 103-138)

    In 1963, humorist Louise Armstrong and illustrator Whitney Darrow Jr. published a picturebook entitledA Child’s Guide to Freud.Dedicated to “Sigmund F., A Really Mature Person,”A Child’s Guide to Freudis a send-up of Freudian ideas, pitched to adults and specifically to upper-middle-class New Yorkers. Armstrong was a confirmed Manhattanite and Darrow a longtimeNew Yorkercartoonist and children’s book illustrator. “This is Mommy,” the book begins, showing a woman chasing a naughty little boy.

    When she won’t let you play doctor with Susie, call her OVERPROTECTIVE. This is Daddy. He sleeps in the same room as Mommy....

  8. 5. “A Case History of Us All” The Adolescent Novel before and after Salingerssss
    (pp. 139-180)

    Like the adolescent, the adolescent novel has long been understood as a psychological form. This chapter historicizes the psychologization of adolescence and its literature, beginning not with the so-called problem novel for teenagers in the 1960s and 1970s,¹ a familiar starting place, but rather much earlier, with the foundational work of G. Stanley Hall. I identify three major stages in the psychologization of the genre: first, the articulation of adolescence in psychological as well as literary terms, beginning with Hall; second, the literary-psychological-ethnographic framing of a problem interior in and around the notion of “identity” and by way of explorations...

  9. 6. T Is for Trauma The Children’s Literature of Atrocity
    (pp. 181-206)

    Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, children’s texts about trauma, and especially the traumas of the Holocaust, have proliferated. Despite the difficulties of representing the Holocaust, or perhaps because of them, there seems to be consensus now that children’s literature is the most rather than the least appropriate forum for trauma work. Thus in “A New Algorithm in Evil: Children’s Literature in a Post-Holocaust World,” Elizabeth R. Baer emphasizes the urgency of “a children’s literature of atrocity,” recommending “confrontational” texts and proposing “a set of [four] criteria by which to measure the usefulness and effectiveness of children’s texts in...

  10. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 207-210)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 211-240)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 241-274)
  13. Index
    (pp. 275-298)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 299-299)