Abstract

Two critical trends have persisted with surprising resilience in scholarship on Rebecca West’s novel The Return of the Soldier: first, the wholesale dismissal, for psychoanalytic as well as purely literary reasons, of amnesiac Chris Baldry’s climactic “cure,” and second, the underestimation and general neglect of Chris’s sweetheart, Margaret Allington. Drawing on the work of Françoise Davoine and Jean-Max Gaudillière, this essay argues that the soldier’s cure in fact emerges as a highly convincing transferential encounter in light of recent advancements in trauma theory, and that Margaret — an intuitive analyst and therapist — is crucial to Chris’s final transformation, for better or worse. The essay thus makes the case for a reappraisal of an unduly slighted character — that is, for the recognition of Margaret’s powerful agency in the text — while also arguing for the psychoanalytic relevance of The Return’s controversial conclusion.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1464
Print ISSN
0022-281X
Pages
pp. 1-12
Launched on MUSE
2009-02-06
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.