The wager of faith in literature and psychoanalyis: Colm Toibin's 'The Testament of Mary'.

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Colm Tóibín’s novella The Testament of Mary offers a provocative re-imagining of the Virgin Mary’s life twenty years after the crucifixion of her son Jesus. Drawing on Richard Kearney’s (2010) notion of anatheism or a ‘return to God after God’, I use the fictive space opened up Tóibín’s version of the Gospel as a spur to understanding the way in which faith may be conceived of as wager within both fiction and psychoanalysis. After discussing this in relation to themes of hospitality and alterity, I attempt to explore the annunciatory potential of the creative work of art and its significance for understanding alterity within psychoanalysis. I go on to illustrate the existential nature of the psychoanalytic wager of faith with reference to Winnicott’s (1971) paper ‘The Use of an Object’, concluding with a brief discussion of the significance of testimony within psychoanalytic work. © 2019, BPF and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. The attached document (embargoed until 18/11/2020) is an author produced version of a paper published in BRITISH JOURNAL OF PSYCHOTHERAPY uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)610-627
JournalBritish Journal of Psychotherapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2019

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