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Spitz, E.H. (1993). Calvin and Hobbes Postmodern and Psychoanalytic Perspectives. Psychoanal. Rev., 80(1):55-82.

(1993). Psychoanalytic Review, 80(1):55-82

Calvin and Hobbes Postmodern and Psychoanalytic Perspectives

Ellen Handler Spitz

Contemporary scholarship in the humanities questions the narrow range of cultural objects that have fallen under serious interpretive scrutiny. My essay participates in that trend by considering an instance of the cartoon strip, a widely circulated and influential medium of popular culture that, highly charged and subtly coded, affects both adults and children. Combining the two great sign systems of image and text to create humor that is both graphic and linguistic, both self-referential and broadly critical in a social sense, the cartoon strip provides a locus for the analysis of sign systems and of subjectivity, a laboratory for the study of doubling, displacement, and disjunction. The case of Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990), the example I have chosen here, gives strong priority to psychological, particularly developmental, themes as well.

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