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Berman, E. (1995). Psychoanalytic Patterns in the Work of Graham Greene. : By Roland A. Pierloot. Amsterdam and Atlanta, GA: Rodopi. 1994. Pp. 264.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 76:865-867.

(1995). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 76:865-867

Psychoanalytic Patterns in the Work of Graham Greene. : By Roland A. Pierloot. Amsterdam and Atlanta, GA: Rodopi. 1994. Pp. 264.

Review by:
Emanuel Berman

he tends to see himself as one of his characters, and the outlines of the characters in his novels seem to be studiedly imprecise … Greene at all events remains obscure in his life, his work, his person (Allain, 1983p. 15).

Roland Pierloot, a senior Belgian psychoanalyst, presents here the fruits of his lengthy and loving involvement with the fiction of Graham Greene.

The introduction demonstrates Pierloot's serious and up-to-date attention to developments in the psychoanalytic study of literature. Quoting Felman, Wright, Brooks, Skura, and many other recent and earlier contributors, Pierloot discusses the pendulum swing from the traditional emphasis on ‘applying’ psychoanalytic insights to the study of the unconscious dynamics of authors or of literary figures to the more recent emphases on the text itself, on linguistic structures, and on the correspondence of literary and psychic processes. ‘Still, in our study we return to the old belief that the writings of an author also bear the stamp of his individual mental organization’, he states (p. 5). He rejects the psychiatric pathographic approach, expresses concerns about the risk of mixing divergent levels of data in attempted psychobiographies, and wisely reminds us that autobiographies can also be seen as ‘self inventions’, as novels in which the hero-narrator is a fictional being, an observation that is certainly relevant to Greene's autobiographical works.

Pierloot's stated preference is to focus on ‘the unconscious phantasies of the author, metamorphosed in his imaginary world, expressed in his writings’ (p.

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