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Title: Fragmented daughters in the novels of Henry James and Vladimir Nabokov and the case studies of Josef Breuer and Sándor Ferenczi
Author: Christie, Laura
ISNI:       0000 0004 2723 3859
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis focuses on the triadic relationships in works by Henry James and Vladimir Nabokov. I have used two psychoanalytic case studies, Bertha Pappenheim and Elma Pálos, to reflect how James and Nabokov use the analytic method for revealing stifled and fragmented voices in their daughter characters. I theorise that while Henry James prefigured the analytical doctor/patient dynamic in the father/daughter relationships in his novels, he also adds the mother figure, turning this into a triad. The controlling mother fragments the daughter’s speech and the situation of the triadic relationship damages the daughter’s ability to articulate her narrative. The novels, Watch and Ward (1871), Washington Square (1880), and The Awkward Age (1899) show James’s developing recognition of the role the mother plays in the triad, as well as his own role as author and narrator of the daughter’s story. The case studies also contain damaging triadic relationships. There has been limited interest in the triads and this, so far, has not been commented upon as a reason for the daughter’s mental disturbance. I use unpublished letters to try to uncover the ‘real’ voice of Elma. I see that literary and psychological criticism has been guilty of mistakes in research and misrepresentation. This has further fragmented the story of these women. I hope to show that both Henry James and Sigmund Freud inspired Vladimir Nabokov, despite his vehement opinions against them. He presents the same scenario of the triadic relationship, in a fictional but analytical setting, to express his own anxiety about ‘losing’ his native language. His feminised struggle is apparent in Lolita (1955), and even more so in the character of Lucette, in Ada (1969). Nabokov sees that, in analysis, the mother is a 3 threat to the daughter’s self-expression. He develops the mother character in his fiction to represent this discovery.
Supervisor: Hartley, Jenny ; Edwards, Simon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Henry James ; Vladimir Nabokov ; Triadic relationships ; Josef Breuer ; Sandor Ferenczi ; psychoanalysis ; case studies