Familiar Artifice: Ways of telling in the short story, psychoanalysis and Alice Munro's The Moons of Jupiter

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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.

© 2021 R. Rizq. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-102
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of the American Psychoanalytic Association
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2022


  • Alice Munro
  • fable
  • identification
  • narrative coherence
  • short story
  • Totem and Taboo

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