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Paris, B.J. (2002). Daniel Deronda and Gwendolen Harleth: A Therapeutic Relationship?. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 30(1):99-122.

(2002). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 30(1):99-122

Daniel Deronda and Gwendolen Harleth: A Therapeutic Relationship? Related Papers

Bernard J. Paris

In Daniel Deronda, George Eliot presents Gwendolen as having been rescued by Daniel, and most commentators have agreed, with many comparing the relationship to that of patient and therapist. These commentators have allowed themselves to be unduly influenced by George Eliot's interpretations and judgments and have ignored the concrete depiction of her characters. While we are being told that Gwendolen is undergoing a conversion in which she develops a new consciousness, a new soul, we are being shown a character who is full of rage, self-hatred, and despair. Instead of leading her in the direction of psychological health, Deronda offers her his own defenses and fosters her dependency on him. Despite the upbeat tone of the ending, her prospects after he leaves England seem very bleak.

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