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Spitz, E.H. (1989). Primary Art Objects—Psychoanalytic Reflections on Picturebooks for Children. Psychoanal. St. Child, 44:351-368.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 44:351-368

Primary Art Objects—Psychoanalytic Reflections on Picturebooks for Children

Ellen Handler Spitz, Ph.D.

It has long since become common knowledge that the experiences of a person's first five years exercise a determining effect on his life, which nothing later can withstand. Much that deserves knowing might be said about the way in which these early impressions maintain themselves against any influences in more mature periods of life.
FREUD (1939p. 125)

RECENT SCHOLARSHIP IN THE HUMANITIES HAS QUESTIONED THE NARROW range of cultural objects that fall under serious interpretive scrutiny. This paper responds to that critique by examining a relatively neglected category of such objects, namely, the picturebook. In addition, psychoanalysis, in postulating such universal constructs as drive, ego, and early object relations as primary influences on the child's psyche, wrestles only intermittently and marginally with the impact of cultural context. This interdisciplinary study aims to address that gap by demonstrating the impact of artifacts such as the picturebook on the developing child's mind and to urge the need for interpreting them.

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