Familiar Artifice: ways of telling in the short story and psychoanalysis

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Theoretical ideas about ‘narrative coherence’ (Schafer, 1980) and ‘autobiographical competence’ (Holmes, 1993) remain prevalent within contemporary therapeutic culture, frequently deployed in the service of the patient producing a narrative ‘I’ that can tell its own story. In this paper, I interrogate this preference for novelistic accounts of the self by proposing the short story form as alternative model for the telling of a self within psychoanalysis. Using the example of Alice Munro’s The Moons of Jupiter, I draw on the roots of the short story in fable together with a re-reading of Freud’s Totem and Taboo to illuminate how the short story may be seen as an exemplary tale that parallels the origin of the self in its identification with the other.

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Period21 Feb 2021
Event titleNational meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association
Event typeConference
LocationWashington, United StatesShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational