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Lane, C. (2011). Lewis Carroll and Psychoanalysis: Why Nothing Adds up in Wonderland. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 92(4):1029-1045.

(2011). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 92(4):1029-1045

Lewis Carroll and Psychoanalysis: Why Nothing Adds up in Wonderland

Christopher Lane

(Final version accepted 22 October 2010)

Each generation of psychoanalyst has found different things to value and sometimes to censure in Lewis Carroll's remarkable fiction and flights of fancy. But what does Carroll's almost ‘surrealist’ perspective in the Alice stories tell us about the rituals and symbols that govern life beyond Wonderland and Looking-Glass World? Arguing that Carroll's strong interest in meaning and nonsense in these and later works helps make the world strange to readers, the better to show it off-kilter, this essay focuses on Jacques Lacan's Carroll - the writer—logician who stressed, as Lacan did, the difficulty and price of adapting to the symbolic order. By reconsidering Lacan's 1966 homage to the eccentric Victorian, I argue that Carroll's insight into meaning and interpretation remains of key interest to psychoanalysts intent on hearing all that he had to say about psychic life.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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