Fathers and Mothers in Literature
Who of us, as a child, has not dreamed of having other parents: a gentler mother, a kinder or stronger father, a more illustrious family? According to our secret dreams, were not most of us born sons or daughters of a king, a president, a champion? Freud termed this the Family Romance. We all carry these secret scenarios in ourselves. Usually they are long forgotten but nevertheless remain alive in the stories we tell ourselves and relate to others. Therefore the Family Romance is one of the keys to the understanding of literature. The French literary critic Marthe Robert developed in an original way this simple but fundamental theory of Freud. In 1972 she presented in her now famous publication Origins of the Novel a new method to analyse the novel and to understand its history. Her study offers such a convincing and lively proof of the relevance of Freud's views that it still invites us to expand on its ideas and suggestions, to elaborate, develop and, if necessary, correct them. It is in this perspective that the authors of this volume write about the historical and mythical figures Mary, Medea, Electra, Kaspar Hauser and Sir Gawain. Other articles are devoted to the Family Romance in the works of the following authors: Barthes, Beckett, Camus, Drieu la Rochelle, Faulkner, Flaubert, Goethe, Claire Goll, Gombrowicz, Greene, Kafka, Levy, Modiano, Petronius, Sartre, Vigny.
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