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Fishman, G.G. (1983). American Imago. XXXVI, 1979: Shelley's "Alastor" and Whitman's "Out of the Cradle": The Ambivalent Mother. Barbara Schapiro. Pp. 245-259.. Psychoanal Q., 52:146.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Imago. XXXVI, 1979: Shelley's "Alastor" and Whitman's "Out of the Cradle": The Ambivalent Mother. Barbara Schapiro. Pp. 245-259.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 52:146

American Imago. XXXVI, 1979: Shelley's "Alastor" and Whitman's "Out of the Cradle": The Ambivalent Mother. Barbara Schapiro. Pp. 245-259.

George G. Fishman

The author's major contention is that "Alastor" and "Out of the Cradle" deal with the yearning for personal identity in the only crucible of basic identity, the earliest mother-child bond. In her view, both poets revisit the painful vulnerability of trying to find primary self-conferring love and incurring its potentially devastating limitations. Thwarting of this quest comes about via combinations of maternal coldness, suffocation, and loss. The emphasis on death in these poems derives from the sense of fragility this basic desire instills in each poet. The author clearly feels that Whitman makes a successful integration in the poem whereas Shelley does not. The interpretations of Edwin Miller and Gustav Bychowski are criticized for emphasizing the prominence of oedipal themes. Much of the analysis seems quite speculative. Perhaps this is in part because Whitman's imagery in this one poem does not reveal a firm developmental allegiance.

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Article Citation

Fishman, G.G. (1983). American Imago. XXXVI, 1979. Psychoanal. Q., 52:146

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