The Deceived Husband: A Kleinian Approach to the Literature of Infidelity

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9780198151906: The Deceived Husband: A Kleinian Approach to the Literature of Infidelity
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The Deceived Husband is an ambitious and original study of the representation in European literature of adultery, focusing in particular on the figure of the husband.

Drawing on psychoanalysis, and primarily the work of Melanie Klein, Dr Sinclair argues that the differing representations of the deceived husband evidence anxieties within patriarchal society about gender and power, and ultimately about death and the unknown. Detailed discussions of a wide range of texts including The Canterbury Tales, The Decameron, Othello, Madame Bovary, Effi Briest, Anna Karenina, La Regenta, and Flaubert's Parrot reveal that fundamental anxieties about masculinity are repeatedly articulated in two main characterizations of the deceived husband: the cuckold and the man of honour. These are representations which can be usefully understood, the book shows, with reference to the two early developmental positions forwarded by Klein: the paranoid schizoid and the depressive positions.

Innovative and challenging, The Deceived Husband is an important examination of a previously neglected aspect of European literature and to psychoanalytic literary criticism in general.

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What may not exactly be unheard-of but is unusual and original in Alison Sinclair's study is her postfeminist focus on fictional portrayals of men who have been betrayed and humiliated. (Journal of Hispanic Research 3 (1194-95))

Synopsis:

This is a study of the representation in European literature of adultery, focusing in particular on the figure of the husband. Drawing on psychoanalysis, and principally the work of Melanie Klein, Sinclair argues that the differing representations of the deceived husband evidence anxieties within patriarchal society about gender and power, and ultimately about death and the unknown. Detailed discussions of a wide range of texts including "The Canterbury Tales", "The Decameron", "Othello", "Madame Bovary", "Effi Briest", "Anna Karenina", "La Regenta" and "Flaubert's Parrot", reveal that fundamental anxieties about masculinity are repeatedly articulated in two main characterizations of the deceived husband: the cuckold and the man of honour. These are representations which can be usefully understood, the book shows, with reference to the two early developmental positions theorized by Klein: the paranoid-schizoid and the depressive positions.

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Sinclair, Alison
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