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Hanly, M.A. (2009). Sibling Jealousy and Aesthetic Ambiguity in Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Psychoanal Q., 78(2):445-468.

(2009). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 78(2):445-468

Sibling Jealousy and Aesthetic Ambiguity in Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Margaret Ann Fitzpatrick Hanly

Jane Austen's most popular novel, Pride and Prejudice (1813), illuminates and is illuminated by psychoanalytic aesthetics. When Austen dramatizes unconscious oedipal/sibling rivalries, irony acts as a type of aesthetic ambiguity (E. Kris 1952). A psychoanalytic perspective shows that Austen uses a grammar of negatives (negation, denial, minimization) to achieve the dual meanings of irony, engaging the reader's unconscious instinctual satisfactions, while at the same time protecting the reader from unpleasant affects. Austen's plot, which portrays regressions driven by sibling jealousy, reveals that a new tolerance of remorse and depression in her heroine and hero leads to psychic growth.

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