There are at least three ways to approach Alicia Mireles Christoff's rich and rewarding study of the Victorian novel and object relations psychoanalysis. First of all, it is a major contribution to the criticism on George Eliot and Thomas Hardy. The book's sustained and attentive readings of The Mill on the Floss, Middlemarch, The Return of the Native, and Tess of the D'Urbervilles should be debated and discussed alongside classic scholarship like Gillian Beer's Darwin's Plots. Second, Novel Relations asserts an inner affinity between the experience of Victorian fiction and the school of British analytic thought coming out of and after Melanie Klein. While many readers of this journal may have a passing familiarity with the writings of D. W. Winnicott, Christopher Bollas, and Adam Philips, this may be the first time we are encountering Michael Balint, Wilfred Bion,...
BEN PARKER is assistant professor of English at Brown University. His teaching and research focus on the nineteenth-century novel, the theory of the novel, and materialist accounts of novelistic form. For Novel, he last wrote about Sherlock Holmes in the November 2016 issue.
Ben Parker; Incalculably Diffusive. Novel 1 August 2021; 54 (2): 287–291. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00295132-9004549
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