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Barchilon, J. Kovel, J.S. (1966). Huckleberry Finn—A Psychoanalytic Study. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 14:775-814.

(1966). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 14:775-814

Huckleberry Finn—A Psychoanalytic Study

Jose Barchilon, M.D. and Joel S. Kovel, M.D.

IN THIS analysis of Huckleberry Finn we have attempted to apply a slight modification of the psychoanalytic process to the understanding of a great novel. Our formulations are based solely on what is explicitly stated in the novel, and we refrained from using any material coming from the life of Mark Twain or any of his other writings. Some may feel that this restriction is too limiting, but we believe that it lends the advantage of simplicity to our method and demonstrates psychic determinism in a more compelling manner. That this approach should be congenial to analysts, used as they are to shun any information coming from sources outside of their patients, is obvious. Yet, it is striking to see how few analysts show the same restraint when they try their hand at analyses of literary works. The rationale for restricting ourselves to the one novel under scrutiny is justified elsewhere in detail by one of us. We were not simply guided by a desire to apply the one technique with which we were most familiar; rather, the method imposed itself on us, by trial and error over the years, in what we feel is a meaningful marriage between tool and task (analysis and the novels) (6).

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