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(1992). Editorial. Free Associations, 3(1):7-9.

(1992). Free Associations, 3(1):7-9


In the last decade, criticism of psychoanalytic approaches to the creative arts has uncovered a strong tendency to reduce paintings, films, novels and music to the status of illustrations of psychoanalytic theory (Derrida, 1975; Felman, 1977; Meltzer, 1988). In psychoanalytic literary criticism, for example, novels, poems and short stories have often been reduced to the status of supportive illustration of psychoanalytic theories, rather than respected in their own complexity, and allowed to generate different and conflictual readings; a prominent and germane example here has been the debate surrounding varied psychoanalytic readings of Edgar Allan Poe, much of which has operated more around supposed principles of oedipal development than those of literary production (Bonaparte, 1933; Lacan, 1966; Johnson, 1980). In reaction to this, critics have tended to move towards the ‘intertex tuality’ of psychoanalysis, and concentrated rather on the ‘mutual exchanges’ between psychoanalysis and artistic creativity, and explored the borderline and disputed zones between them (Brooks, 1988).

In this spirit, this issue of our journal explores such mutual exchanges between psychoanalysis and artistic creativity from various perspectives. First of all, in our interview, Marion Bower talks with Ruth Rendell about the relation between crime fiction and psychoanalysis; Rendell talks about the genre in general, about its relationship to childhood, and about her perception of her own role and that of psychoanalysis in producing her particular form of fiction.

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