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Dent, V. (2009). The Bright Forms Shining in the Dark: Juliet Mitchell's Theory of Sibling Dynamics as Illuminated in A. S. Byatt's “The Chinese Lobster”. Psychoanal. Dial., 19(2):155-168.

(2009). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 19(2):155-168

The Bright Forms Shining in the Dark: Juliet Mitchell's Theory of Sibling Dynamics as Illuminated in A. S. Byatt's “The Chinese Lobster”

Vivian Dent, Ph.D.

Through a reading of A. S. Byatt's “The Chinese Lobster,” this paper illustrates some implications of Juliet Mitchell's theory of the role of siblings in mental life. Mitchell's recent work elucidates a complex web of fantasies, desires, and conflicts centered on sibling-figures. The paper begins by outlining several of Mitchell's concepts: the sibling crisis; lateral fantasy; laterally based narcissistic identifications; and the role of lateral relatedness in object love, self-esteem, thirdness, and hysteria. Byatt's story provides a springboard for exploring the profound relational significance of these ideas.

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