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Nygård, M. (1986). The Father-Daughter Relationship in Sigrid Undset's Writings. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 9(2):93-105.

(1986). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 9(2):93-105

The Father-Daughter Relationship in Sigrid Undset's Writings

Mette Nygård, M.D.

If you want to know more about femininity, enquire from your own experience of life, or turn to the poets, or wait until science can give you deeper and more coherent information.

S. Freud: New Introductory Lectures XXXIII, 1933

I didn't realise how charming the psychoanalytical approach must seem to people of a certain level of intelligence until I read Inggjald Nissen's latest book. It suddenly dawned on me that a few of the old maids, and young people too, with whom I worked in an office back in the old days, were actually practicing psychoanalysis, while I in my youthful arrogance and ignorance thought they were horrrible old nags and gossips and terribly naive as well, when they thought they were smart and did not let themselves be fooled every time they were guessing and insinuating things about other people's most intimate business. And by this very act which consisted in putting their surmises into words, they became convinced that they were in fact true.

S. Undset: letter to Ch. Kent, 1931

From their different vantage points, both Freud ad Undset emphasize that psychoanalysis deals with human experience, and with men's desire to find hidden laws and patterns beneath what may be observed on the surface. This is also the task of literature.

Psychoanalysis has dealt with a number of early interpersonal relationships: father-son, mother-son, mother-daughter, siblings, to show how they contribue to the formation of the human personality. The father-daughter relationship seems largely to have escaped attention in this context.

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