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Remen, S. (1988). Alienation from Self in “The Jewel in the Crown”. Am. J. Psychoanal., 48(3):251-260.

(1988). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 48(3):251-260

Alienation from Self in “The Jewel in the Crown”

Stephen Remen, M.D.

“The Jewel in the Crown” is an epic, elegant, visually splendid fourteen-part television series which appeared on Masterpiece Theater in 1984 and 1985. It received rave reviews. Some critics called it the best television production of all time. Certainly the acting, the settings, and the period costumes were wonderful.

The literary source for the television program is Paul Scott's four-part novel The Raj Quartet. The term Raj refers to the period of British rule over India. The five years preceding Indian independence on August 15, 1947, form the time frame and provide the subject matter for the drama.

The topic of this paper is a discussion of the psychological concept of alienation from self as it is manifested in “The Jewel in the Crown.” This is not a simple assignment. There are sufficient examples, of diverse form and content, to provide the basis for a doctoral dissertation.

The complexity is compounded by the nature of Karen Horney's notion of alienation from self. “In all neurotic developments the alienation from self is the nuclear problem” (Horney, 1950, p. 187). Every feeling, thought, and action to the extent that they are neurotic are self-alienating. This means that everything that can be said about neurosis is a statement about alienation from self.

Horney wrote five books about neurosis and neurotic process. These were in addition to all of her papers, lectures, diaries, and the writings that she inspired among her followers. Additionally, there are other theorists, schools, and points of view. The enormity of the chore of attempting to cover the subject of alienation from self is apparent. I will limit this paper to a general introductory statement followed by examples of alienation from self that I encountered in “The Jewel in the Crown.”


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