From the Introduction by author:
Jane Austen’s novels have been praised by the literary critics, loved by the ‘ordinary reader’, and made into many films (Southam, 1967; Wiltshire, 2001). Psychoanalytic readings of the six great novels elaborate Austen’s famous description of her ‘subject’ to her niece Anna. “You are now collecting your People delightfully, getting them exactly into such a spot as is the delight of my life;–3 or 4 Families in a Country Village is the very thing to work on’ (Le Faye, 2011, p. 287). Austen’s plots and language dramatize the love and mutual identifications, the jealousy and competitive strivings of family life as young women and men fall in love and marry. Austen’s narrative method, free indirect discourse, presents the conflicted feelings and impulses of her heroines and heroes, as they separate from their families, relive early sibling and oedipal rivalries, and form attachments outside the family.
“Margaret Ann Fitzpatrick-Hanly has given us a wonderful gift with this book, a study of sibling rivalry unconscious fantasy and change in Jane Austen’s six great novels. With her background as an Austin scholar and as an experienced and highly respected clinical psychoanalyst, she is uniquely qualified to bring together psychoanalytic concepts and literary understandings of these great works of literature. She focuses on the inner lives and unconscious fantasies of Austen’s familiar characters - their intense sibling rivalries, triangular jealousies, family dynamics, their dreams and loves and the effects of early and often not completely mourned losses. Hanly clearly and incisively shows how unconscious fantasy, a familiar psychoanalytic concept, can be inferred from Austen’s great talent for dialogue, conveying a sense of irony and creating captivating narratives. Tracking the unconscious fantasies of the heroines and their loves that underlie the narrative, Hanly demonstrates how shifts in the plot then bring the characters insight into themselves and their underlying motivations and ultimately bring change. Reading this study will stimulate new readers of Austen and those who
already love her novels to return to them. It will add to the pleasures and insights from reading her works. At the same time, this deep look into Austen’s understanding of the human psyche offers psychoanalysts and other clinicians important insights into the typical struggles of late adolescence and early.”
—Nancy Kulish, PhD, Author of A Story of Her Own: The Female Oedipus Complex Reexamined and Renamed
“Truth, as Johnson observed, may best be approached when it arrives draped in the robes of Fiction. With an incisive psychoanalytic perception wed to keen literary sensitivity, Margaret Ann Hanly takes Austen’s acute eye and ironic wit as a lens opening fresh insight into the subtle ways sibling relationships mold unconscious
fantasies and shape lives, especially in adolescence. Hanly’s scholarship is remarkable in both depth and breadth, her contribution a gift to the reader, her lucid writing a pleasure to read. This is a blossom of applied analysis as foreseen by Freud.” —Warren S. Poland,MD, Author of Intimacy and Separateness in Psychoanalysis
About the Author:
Margaret Ann Fitzpatrick Hanly is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Toronto, Canada, Director of the Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis. She is Chair of the IPA Committee on Clinical Observation, Treasurer, Board of Directors of the Psychoanalytic Quarterly and on the Editorial Board of the IJP.