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Waddell, M. (1989). Growing up. Free Associations, 1R(17):90-105.

(1989). Free Associations, 1R(17):90-105

Growing up

Margot Waddell

Imagination is a foraging impulse: it will find food for thought in the desert. (MELTZER AND WILLIAMS, 1988, p. 17)

Narratives of Love and Loss: Studies in Modern Children's Fiction by Margaret and Michael Rustin, Verso, 1987, 268 pages, hb £22.95, pb £8.95

In 1872 Freud, then aged sixteen, wrote to his friend Emil Fluss: ‘It gives me pleasure to apprehend the thick texture of connecting threads that accident and fate have woven around us all.’ He was, coincidentally, drawing on the central metaphor of a novel published in the same year — one that during his courtship he was to value, to weep over, and to write about to Martha Bernays: Middlemarch. There, George Eliot writes of ‘that inextricable web of affinities’:

I at least have so much to do in unravelling certain human lots, and seeing how they were woven and interwoven, that all the light I can command must be concentrated on this particular web … (ch XV)

Freud and George Eliot would doubtless have agreed that, as she put it,

In natural science … there is nothing petty to the mind that has a large vision of relations, and to which every single object suggests a vast sum of conditions. It is surely the same with the observation of human life.

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