Weekly Task 09: Psychoanalysing the Gothic
Weekly Task 09: Psychoanalysing Gothic literature
The 19th century saw a wave of Gothic ‘tales of terror’ which became a characteristic feature of the novels and stories of the period. Scottish examples include James Hogg’s novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, Robert Louis Stevenson’s short story, ‘Thrawn Janet’ and Margaret Oliphant’s ‘The Library Window’.
One way of reading these tales is psychologically and culturally – the person who encounters the supernatural being (the Devil, or a ghost) is manifesting some kind of repressed trauma, desire, and/or cultural taboo.
Your task this week is to read Margaret Oliphant’s ‘The Library Window’. Imagine that you are a psychoanalyst. The main character in the story has come to you for a consultation. Write some case notes describing the character and her story – and give a preliminary psychoanalytical explanation for her apparently ‘supernatural’ encounter. (200 words)