The Literary Theory Of Psychology

The Literary Theory of Psychology

The study of our mind and individual thinking is very important and directly connected with the study of works in literature. Although it may seem that they are two different branches of study, 

yet many research paper writing has claimed that it is important for us to understand that in order to understand a work of literature in the true sense, we need to first understand the human thinking patterns so that we can analyze the characters and also come close to the thinking of the writer of the particular piece of work. 

This approach towards literature originated in the nineteenth century as a part of the Romantic replacement of earlier pragmatic and kinetic views by an expressive view of literature. 

Summing up all the arguments we get to understand the importance of psychological criticism in the literary world. Since the work involves the brain, there are chances that students may require assignment help while working on the topic. 

During the Romantic era, we find widely practiced all three types of critical procedures that were based on the assumption that the form and details of a work of literature are correlated with its author’s personality as well as emotional traits. These three critical procedures are:

  1. The reference to the personality of an author in order to interpret a literary work.
  2. The reference to literary works in order to biographically establish the personality of the author. 
  3. The method of reading a literary piece of art in order to have an experience of the consciousness or distinctive subjectivity of the author. 

Since the 1920s, the widespread form of psychological criticism has been termed as Psychoanalytic criticism, the premises of which were established by Sigmund Freud. 

Freud had developed a dynamic form of psychology which he referred to as psychoanalysis, a procedure for the analysis and therapy of neuroses. 

Freud increased its horizons to include in it the many developments as well as practices in the history of civilization, including mythology, religion, wars, as well as literature, and other arts. 

The early twentieth century was gearing up for two of the deadliest wars of all time. The psychology of human beings had been drastically affected and a turn was taken towards the hunt for individual identity. 

Among all this chaos, it became important to convey to the world an exact situation. Literature, as it reflected society, did the same. And thus, this type of criticism became important to study literary works. 

Freud briefly commented on the workings of the artist’s imagination at the end of his lecture on Introduction to Psychoanalysis, which he supplemented by relevant passages in other lectures of the book. This set up the framework for classical psychoanalytic criticism. 

He was of the opinion that all arts, including literature, like dreams and neurotic symptoms, consisted of the fantasied or imagined fulfillment of wishes that were either denied by reality or prohibited by the set social standards of morality. 

The forbidden wishes come into conflict with the censor and are thus repressed by the latter into the unconscious realm of the mind of the artist. But these are permitted to achieve a fantasied satisfaction in distorted forms, 

that actually disguise their real motives and objects from the conscious mind. Freud’s research paper writings claim that the chief mechanisms that impact these disguises of unconscious wishes are:

  1. The fusion of several unconscious elements into single entities and the omission of parts of unconscious material. This is known as condensation.
  2. The substitution of an unconscious object of desire by one that is accepted by conscious mind. This is known as displacement. 
  3. The representation of repressed, mainly sexual objects of desire by the nonsexual ones.

Freud calls these disguises fantasies as manifest content of a dream or work of literature while the name latent content was given to the unconscious wishes that find a semblance of satisfaction in the disguised expression. 

Freud also says that residual traces of the prior stages of psychosexual development are present in the consciousness of every individual. 

These traces are present from earliest infancy onwards and remain as a fixation in the unconscious mind of the adult. When an event is triggered in later life, this repressed wish is revived and motivates a fantasy, in a disguised form that the wish has already been granted in infancy. 

Therefore, the chief enterprise of the Psychoanalytic critic is parallel with that of the Psychoanalytic therapist, and the former decipher the true content of a literary work in order to explain its emotional effects on the readers. 

Freud’s theory was also based on the concept of id, ego and superego that he developed as a part of this theory on the mental structure. He said that the human mind has three structures- id, 

which incorporates the innate desires, superego, that represented a saintly behavior- internalization of social standards of morality, and ego which tries to strike a balance between the two mentioned aspects.

Thereafter, Freud came up with the concept of the Oedipus Complex, which became a subject of various writings. The word represents the repressed but continuing presence in the consciousness of the adult, the male infant’s desire to possess his mother and be against his father. 

The word had been derived from the Greek tragedy by Sophocles, Oedipus the King, whose protagonist had unknowingly killed his father and married his mother. The concept of the Oedipus and Electra complex has later on been widely used by various writers. 

Later, Freud also asserted that many of his views had been anticipated by various insightful authors in Western literature. Therefore, these were a few points on the psychological and Psychoanalytic criticism that is sufficient enough to offer assignment help to students, hunting for the same.