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Sons but not Lovers: Fatherhood and Identity in Three Classic American Novels

Abstract : This paper is a theoretical attempt at studying a number of vital characteristics of classic American literature. Leslie Fiedler, in a celebrated essay, drew our attention to the (possibly?) strange behaviour of various nineteenth-century outcasts. Can the same type of approach be used to understand the problems raised by characters who, on the contrary, supposedly ought to be perfectly integrated into their communities? For instance, what do Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown, Melville’s Pierre, and Faulkner’s Quentin Compson have in common? These young men seem to share a group of attitudes—both conscious and unconscious—including a strong predisposition to narcissism and paranoia. Can we say that, in their own way and with their own material, their creators discovered the same structures that psychoanalysts like Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan later theorized? This paper reconstructs the logic behind a number of patterns of behaviour that become actualized when certain situations of crisis occur.
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https://hal.univ-reims.fr/hal-02488515
Contributor : Bu De Reims Champagne-Ardenne <>
Submitted on : Saturday, February 22, 2020 - 8:18:53 PM
Last modification on : Friday, June 19, 2020 - 6:27:41 PM

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Daniel Thomières. Sons but not Lovers: Fatherhood and Identity in Three Classic American Novels. Journal of Language, Literature and Culture, 2013, 60 (1), pp.16-33. ⟨10.1179/2051285613Z.0000000008⟩. ⟨hal-02488515⟩

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