Abstract

This article examines Henry James’s What Maisie Knew in the light of Jean Laplanche’s theory of the Enigmatic Signifier. It argues that James uses highly charged, individual words to outline two forms of unconscious libidinal investment: the first corresponds to a model of the unconscious mind conditioned by moralistic repression, while the second corresponds to a responsive, intersubjective model of the unconscious as a conduit for connection between individuals. This analysis leads in turn to a consideration of how James might be situated at the intersection of several competing Victorian theories of the unconscious mind.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6555
Print ISSN
0273-0340
Pages
pp. 163-176
Launched on MUSE
2015-05-20
Open Access
No
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