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Miller, I. (2017). “No tears as her children die”: Terror in literary depiction and psychoanalytic process. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 26(4):242-247.

(2017). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 26(4):242-247

“No tears as her children die”: Terror in literary depiction and psychoanalytic process

Ian Miller

Bridging psychoanalysis and literature, the present paper links literary depiction of traumatic terror with our own learning from psychoanalytic experience. It identifies psychodynamic understanding at two levels: (1) at the descriptive level of traumatic experience; and (2) at the specific level of working-through. Beginning with traumatic descriptions in ancient Western accounts, represented in the Biblical book of Lamentations and by Sophocles, the paper focuses on the dynamic work of affective and cognitive emergence, highlighting a sequence of repetitive traumatic reminiscences drawn from Samuel Beckett's literary productions across a 33-year period from “The end” to “Company.” In so doing, it illustrates both the literary and therapeutic efficacy in emotional conveyance of personal narrative in achieving the necessary cohesion after traumatic experience to more effectively go on.

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