Books by Bernard Paris
Wayne State University Press, 1965
Out of print. Available online:
Experiments in Life studies the impact of empirical philosophy on George Eliot's thought and analyzes the way in which her novels participate in her quest for values in a universe without God. For purposes of clarity and economy, I have more or less separated my discussions of the philosophic background and of the fiction. Chapter 1-5 deal with George Eliot's ideas as they were shaped by her intellectual milieu. Their titles are: "From Christianity to Positivism," "The Nature of Things," "The Moral Order," "The Objective and Subjective Approaches to Reality," and "The Essence of Christianity."
In the pivotal sixth chapter, I argue that George Eliot hoped through her novels, which she spoke of as "experiments in life," to discover enduring truths which would ennoble human existence and replace the outmoded beliefs and institutions of the past. Because of her distrust of "shifting theory" and her reluctance to "adopt any formula which does not get itself clothed . . . in some human figure and individual experience," art was the only means she could confidently employ for the discovery, verification, and expression of these truths.
Chapter 7-11 examine the novels. They consider first the three stages of moral development through which George Eliot's characters go, then the moral implications of the relation between the individual and his social medium, and finally the religious nature of interpersonal relationships. The final chapter attempts to synthesize what my study of both the intellectual milieu and the novels tells us about George Eliot's quest for values in a secular universe.
A Psychological Approach to Fiction: Studies in Thackeray, Stendhal, George Eliot, Dostovesky, and Conrad
Indiana University Press, 1974.
Out of print. Available online:
Scheduled for reissue by Transaction Publishers. May, 2010
This psychological study of five novels -- Vanity Fair, The Red and the Black, The Mill on the Floss, Notes from Underground, and Lord Jim -- is a pioneering effort in the application of the theories of Karen Horney, Abraham Maslow, and other Third Force (or humanistic) psychologists to the analysis of literature.
The psychological approach developed here answers a number of needs in the criticism of fiction. The greatest achievement of many realistic novels is their portrayal of character, but very little criticism appreciates this achievement and talks about it with sophistication. Because Karen Horney's theory concentrates on the character structure and defensive strategies of the adult, rather than upon infantile origins, it deals with precisely the kind of material that fiction often portrays in great mimetic detail; and it enables us to recover the psychological intuitions of the great realistic writers. I argue that there is a reciprocal relation between psychology and literature: psychology helps us to talk about what the novelist knows but can express only in the silent medium of art, while fiction helps us to know what the psychologist is talking about.
Realistic novels are often flawed by incoherence and contradiction. In some, like The Red and the Black and The Mill on the Floss, there is a disparity between representation and interpretation, between the implied author as a creator of mimetic portraits and the implied author as analyst and judge. Movements from one defensive strategy to another are interpreted as processes of growth and education. The implied authors glorify unhealthy attitudes that are close to their own, while at the same time showing their destructiveness. In other novels, such as Vanity Fair, the interpretations are not only inappropriate or inadequate to the dramatized experience, but they are also inwardly inconsistent. Such works are thematically unintelligible. The psychological approach employed here helps us to make sense of thematic inconsistencies, to account for disparities between representation and interpretation, and to evaluate the adequacy for life of the solutions adopted by the characters and implied authors.
Comments on this book:
“This is a first-rate book, with an original and significant approach to realistic fiction . . . . The book is of general interest to aestheticians in its criticism of the theoretical assumption of aesthetic unity, with which Paris finds practical problems.”
–Donald Kuspit, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.
Paris’s “advocacy of the ‘third force’ psychologies of Abraham Maslow and Karen Horney is an attempt to break with the old dispensation and its monopoly of literary fields . . . .It seems probable, then, that Paris’s readings will serve in the future as introductory models of responsible, self-critical analysis in the psychological mode.”
–Mark Spilka, Novel: A Forum on Fiction.
“This book . . . .should be of interest to all psychological critics of whatever persuasion . . . . Paris breaks new ground with his use of what he calls Third Force psychology for the study of fiction . . . . [His] psychological approach does illuminate much about the complex characters of the realistic novels he studies. And such a method, obviously, is applicable to a large number of novels by a variety of authors.”
–Richard W. Noland, Hartford Studies in Literature.
Paris is “a very good psychologist . . . .He shows the range of the usefulness of this approach to the study of fiction without oversimplifying the subject. Then he practices what he preaches, offering cogent psychological explanations for apparent dilemmas and contradictions in these novels.”
–Judah Stampfer, The Nation.
“Mr. Paris’ carefully written study has the double merit of offering stimulating insights into several works of great fiction while also elaborating upon . . . the body of theoretical literature on the novel as a genre . . . . [The] individual chapters of analysis are almost uniformly excellent . . . .Mr. Paris stresses the notion that the novel represents what is, not what should be, and that novelists are perfect observers, not perfect oracles.”
–Richard Weisberg, Modern Fiction Studies.
“Paris’s application of Horneyan psychology to Maggie Tulliver is a marvelously convincing performance, rich in insight, which should inspire others to pursue his discovery.”
–Elaine Showalter, Signs.
“Certainly the application of psychology to literature remains a vexed issue, but Bernard Paris’s book goes a long way toward filling the gap . . ., at the same time avoiding the obvious pitfalls of the psychological approach.”
–Norman Friedman, The Sewanee Review.
Wayne State University Press, 1978
Harvester Press, 1979
Out of print. Available online:
The central thesis of this study is that Jane Austen's mature novels are not the models of organic unity most critics hold them to be, but that they are beset by tensions between form, theme, and mimesis. These tensions have several sources, the most important of which is the fact that Austen's protagonists are at once aesthetic, illustrative, and mimetic characters. They are what E. M. Forster describes as "round characters": they are "creations inside a creation" and, as such, are "often engaged in treason against the main scheme of the book." Since they have "numerous parallels with people like ourselves," they must be understood not only in formal and thematic, but also in motivational terms, in the same way that we understand real human beings.
After an opening discussion of the sources of tension in Jane Austen's fiction, I offer formal, thematic, and psychological analyses of her four greatest novels. I use the theories of Northrop Frye to analyze the comic structures of Austen's novels and those of Karen Horney and other Third Force psychologists to analyze her characters. The use of a psychological approach enables me to do justice to Jane Austen's mimetic achievement and results in a completely new understanding of her heroines.
In the final chapter, I reconstruct the personality that can be inferred from all of Jane Austen's writings. I consider her works chronologically and attempt to explain the psychodynamic process that leads her from novel to novel. There are three competing versions of Jane Austen that have emerged from the criticism. Some critics emphasize the aggressive, satirical component of her art; some stress her gentleness and conservatism; and some focus on the detached, ironic quality of her vision. I believe that each group of critics is overemphasizing something which is there. In analyzing Jane Austen's authorial personality, I try to show how these diverse component of her nature are related to each other in a structure of inner conflicts.
Because I treat Jane Austen and her novels as beset by conflicts, one reviewer did me the honor of calling this "a dangerous book."
Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1986
The essays in this collection focus on nineteenth- and twentieth-century English and American literature and on the theoretical issues raised by the use of Third Force psychology in the study of mimetic characterization, the disparity between rhetoric and mimesis, thematic inconsistency, the personality of the author, and the dynamics of critical response. The crucial difference between Third Force psychology and Freudian and behaviorist theories is the contention that human beings are not simply tension-reducing or conditioned animals, but that they embody a third force, an "evolutionary constructive" force, which urges them to realize their "given potentialities." Humans must fulfill not only physiological survival needs, but also, according to Abraham Maslow, needs for safety, for love and belonging, for esteem, and for self-actualization. Karen Horney's synchronic approach is particularly useful for the study of literature because it explains behavior in terms of its function within the present character structure and does not require the positing of infantile experiences not depicted in the text.
Table of Contents
Bernard J. Paris
- Horney, Maslow, and the Third Force
Bernard J. Paris
- Third Force Psychology and the Study of Literature, Biography, Criticism,
and Culture (contains an analysis of Bellow's Herzog)
Bernard J. Paris
- Psychology and Literary Form: Toward a Unified Approach
- Jane Eyre's Flights from Decision
Karen Ann Butery
- The Lost Self of Esther Summerson: A Horneyan Interpretation of Bleak
Patricia R. Eldredge
- Browning's Guido: The Self-Fictionalizing Imagination in Crisis
Catherine R. Lewis
- Lawrence's "The Princess" and Horney's "Idealized Self"
Barbara M. Smalley
- A Psychological View of Priesthood, Sin, and Redemption in Graham Green's
The Power and the Glory
- "Keep Your Muck": A Horneyan Analysis of Joe Christmas and Light
Marjorie B. Haselswerdt
- I'd Rather Be Ratliff: A Maslovian Study of Faulkner's Snopes
Marjorie B. Haselswerdt
- A Psychological Redefinition of William Styron's Confessions of Nat
James R. Huffman
- Two Consciences: A Reading of Tim O'Brien's Vietnam Trilogy
- Fiction as Revenge: The Novels of Jerzy Kosinski
- Third Force Analysis and the Literary Experience
Robert de Beaugrande
Co-edited with Norman N. Holland and Sidney Homan
University of California Press, 1989
Available online (PDF)*
Plenum Press, 1991
Reissued in paperbound edition with a new Preface by the Author by Transaction Publishers, 2008
The enduring appeal of Shakespeare's major tragedies derives in large part from the fact that they contain brilliantly drawn characters with whom people of widely differing backgrounds have been able to identify. Hamlet, Iago, Othello, Desdemona, Lear, Macbeth, and Lady Macbeth belong to worlds very different from our own; and they often speak, think, and act in alien ways; but beneath all the differences they are so true to the essentials of human psychology that, as Elizabeth Montagu observed in 1769, we feel, "every moment, that they are of the same nature as ourselves." Interpretations of these characters change with changing modes of understanding, and past ways of explaining their behavior, including Shakespeare's, no longer satisfy us. Our modes of understanding are also culture-bound, and therefore transitory; but we must nonetheless try to comprehend these characters in ways that make sense to us. In this study of Shakespeare's four major tragedies and the personality that can be inferred from all of his works, I employ a psychoanalytic approach inspired by the theories of Karen Horney, which I have found to be highly congruent with Shakespeare's portrayal of characters and relationships.
In Part I, I examine the major tragedies as dramas about individuals with conflicts much like our own, who are in a state of psychological crisis as a result of the breakdown of their bargains with fate. The term "bargains with fate" immediately suggests to many people the widespread practice of promising to reform when in trouble (as on the battlefield or the sickbed), or to perform acts of contrition, devotion, or restitution. The bargains with fate with which I am concerned are those in which we believe that we can control fate by living up to its presumed dictates not after it grants our wishes but before. If we think, feel, and behave as we are supposed to, we will receive our just deserts, whatever we may think they are. Fate is often conceived of as God, of course, and its dictates as his will; but our bargain can be with other people, with ourselves, with impersonal forces, with what we take to be the structure of the universe. I argue in Chapter 1 that the terms of the bargain are often not really determined by external forces but by the dictates of our predominant defensive strategy. Bargaining is a magical process in which conforming to the demands of our neurotic solution (which Horney calls "a private religion") will enable us to attain our goals. The protagonists of Shakespeare's tragedies are precipitated into crisis either when fate does not honor their bargains or, as in the case of Macbeth, they violate their bargains themselves.
In Part II, I describe Shakespeare's authorial personality by reading the entire corpus as though it were the expression of a single, developing psyche with its own bargains, crises and conflicts. Many have argued that Shakespeare's personality is difficult or impossible to detect in his works. I am on the side of those who believe, like Bradley, that his plays dramatize a "struggle for harmony," that he is working in them "towards an imaginative solution" of his problems, and that they betray, to some extent, his "dispositions and prejudices." Of course, the psychological traits of the authorial personality may or may not be those of the historical person.
Table of Contents
Part I: The Major Tragedies
- Bargains, Defenses, and Cultural Codes
- King Lear
Part II: Shakespeare's Personality
- Shakespeare's Conflicts
- "What Fools These Mortals Be": Self-Effacement in the Sonnets, the Comedies, Troilus and Cressida, and Antony and Cleopatra
- Shakespeare's Leap of Faith: From the Tragedies to the Romances
- The Tempest: Shakespeare's Ideal Solution
Comments on this book:
“Paris unashamedly and insightfully celebrates Shakespeare’s capacity for a mimetic, psychologically rich and complex representation of character .. . . Furthermore, he uses his investigation of the plays to speculate about Shakespeare the author and his psychological development . . . . he addresses his book primarily ‘to students and lovers of Shakespeare,’ to ‘actors . . . and directors who want to stage Shakespeare’s plays as dramas about human beings,’ and to those ‘who are interested in literature as a source of psychological insight,’ even ‘self-understanding and growth.’ Indeed, anyone who counts himself or herself in one of these categories will be enlightened–and delighted–by this book.”
Margret Schaefer, Psychoanalytic Books, Vol. 5 (1994).
“ . . . a stunning illumination of Shakespare and his fictional characers. Bernard Paris grasps the characters’ inner conflicts with the insight and empathy of a humane analyst, and in the process he enlivens and enriches Horney’s conceptual categories by elaborating their subtleties with flesh and blood examples. An especially compelling analysis . . .”
-- Marcia Westkott, Ph.D., University of Colorado
“The author brings to the study of Shakespeare both courage and intelligence. Using the tools of psychoanalysis, the results are both rich and coherent.”
–A.D. Nuttall, Fellow, New College, Oxford University
“ . . . a delight to read, both for concentrating on the psychology of the major characters–an astonishingly underrepresented aspect of modern Shakespeare studies–and for the many brilliant and altogether compelling points Paris has to make.”
–Paul Bertram, Ph.D., Rutgers University
“ . . . a powerful new study of Shakespeare’s four great tragedies and of the man himself. These are original and strong readings in which a picture of Shakespeare’s personality emerges that is clear and convincing.”
–Norman Holland, Ph.D., Marston-Milbauer Professor of English, University of Florida
“. . . a most rewarding intellectual journey. Paris’s innovative Horneyan analyses are among the best modern applications of psychological principles to literary study.”
–Theodore Millon, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School
“Paris shows penetrating insight into Shakespeare’s characters. This book will appeal not only to readers and audiences of Shakespeare, but also to actors preparing Shakespearean roles, since its treatment of motivation has important theatrical implications.”
–Maurice Charney, Ph.D., Rutgers University, Past President, Shakespeare Association of America
Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1991
Although Shakespeare's history and Roman plays are usually discussed in terms of their political themes, their leading characters are imagined human beings who must be understood in motivational terms if we are to recover Shakespeare's psychological intuitions and appreciate his mimetic achievement. When we analyze these characters with the help of modern psychology (Karen Horney's theories are employed here), we often find that, in E. M. Forster's phrase, they are "creations inside a creation" who tend to subvert the structure of the plays in which they exist.
In most of these plays, Shakespeare employs a powerful rhetoric that is designed to shape the moral, intellectual, and emotional responses of the audience; but this rhetoric is frequently undermined by its own inconsistencies and by characters who develop a life of their own and thereby escape its authority. Both Richard II and Antony and Cleopatra begin by criticizing the protagonist for his flaws of character but end by glorifying him and romanticizing his fate. Rhetoric and mimesis are harmonious at the outset; but, when understood psychologically, the behavior of the characters leads us to quarrel with the rhetoric at the end. The rhetorical treatment of Cassius and Brutus is also inconsistent. Cassius is initially presented as a villain but becomes a sympathetic figure, and Brutus is presented as self-deceived until his exalted version of himself is confirmed by Antony's final speech.
In the two parts of Henry IV and in Henry V, the rhetorical treatment of Hal as a self-possessed young man whose virtue is vindicated is subverted by the mimetic portrait of him as a wayward adolescent who must be forced to grow up. The celebration of Henry V as an exemplary monarch is undermined by the concrete depiction of his inner conflicts and of the darker sides of his character.
In Richard III, the subversion of rhetoric by characterization takes a somewhat different form. Although Richard is judged in a way that is consistent with his Machiavellian behavior, his sheer vigor and the inside view of his psyche give him an appeal that undermines our condemnation of his villainy.
Only in Coriolanus is the rhetoric consistent with both itself and the mimesis. This is a tragedy of character from beginning to end. Coriolanus is the only character in this group of plays who does not subvert the structure of the work as a whole.
The conflicts of rhetoric with itself and with mimetic characterization generate disagreement among interpreters, since some respond to one set of signals, some to another, and some to several or all of the play's contradictory messages. The approach employed here enables us to recognize inconsistencies and to make sense of them without resorting to the sort of rationalization that is common in literary criticism. Some are produced by the tendency of all fully developed characters, again in Forster's words, to "kick the book to pieces"; and some can be traced to psychological conflicts in the author that we can infer from his works.
Yale University Press, 1994
In print (paperbound edition)
A NY Times Notable Book for 1994
In this book, I tell the story of Karen Horney's inner life and relate it to the evolution of her ideas. Horney's thought can be divided into three stages. During the 1920s and early 1930s, in a series of brilliant essays, she tried to modify orthodox ideas about feminine psychology while remaining within the framework of Freudian theory. In the late 1930s, however, she published two books (The Neurotic Personality of Our Time and New Ways in Psychoanalysis) that rejected some of the basic premises of Freudian psychoanalysis and replaced its biological orientation with an emphasis on culture and interpersonal relationships. In the 1940s, she developed her mature theory, in which she postulated that individuals cope with the anxiety produced by the frustration of basis psychological needs by disowning their real feelings and developing elaborate strategies of defense (see Our Inner Conflicts and Neurosis and Human Growth). I believe that Horney's mature theory makes a major contribution to psychological thought -- particularly in the study of personality -- which deserves to be more widely known and applied than it is.
Although this book has a large biographical component, it is not a conventional biography. Through bringing together Karen Horney's personal history, her conflicts, and her evolving ideas, I examine how her inner struggles both inspired her writings and are revealed by them. Her personal problems induced her to embark on a search for self-understanding, the record of which is contained first in her diaries and then in her psychoanalytic writings.
When Susan Quinn's biography revealed that Horney had a compulsive need for men that persisted to the end of her life, some readers, dismayed by the inability of the physician to cure herself, saw this revelation as a threat to Horney's stature. I see Horney's difficulties -- which were not only sexual -- as a source of her insight rather than as something that diminishes the value of her work. Her youngest daughter, Renate, has argued that her mother's "childhood problems with her family, her deep depressions and neurotic trends, were her greatest blessings in disguise. How else would she have developed her theories, her deep understanding of human nature." I agree. Horney's insights were derived from her efforts to relieve her own pain, as well as that of her patients. If her suffering had been less intense, her insights would have been less profound. James Hillman urges us to read the biographies of artists because they "show us what they did with their traumas." I try to show what Karen Horney did with hers.
Table of Contents
Part I: The Making of a Psychoanalyst
- "Never-Ending Self-Analysis"
- Family Troubles
- Karen and Clare
- School and "Times of Transition"
- "Awakened to Life": Schorschi and Rolf
- Rolf and Ernst
- Losch and Oskar
Part 2: The Freudian Phase and Feminine Psychology
- "The Given Task for a Woman Psychologist"
- Analysis and Self-analysis, 1910-12
- The Masculinity Complex: "On the Genesis of the Castration Complex in Women" and "The Flight from Womanhood"
- The Growing Role of the Mother
- Relationships between the Sexes
- "The Overvaluation of Love"
- "We Should Stop Bothering about What Is Feminine"
Part 3: The Break with Freud and the Development of a New Paradigm
- The Role of Culture
- The Structure of Neurosis
- Culture and Neurosis
- Structure versus Genesis: Horney's Synchronic Paradigm
- The New Paradigm and the Psychoanalytic Process
- Clare, the New Paradigm, and the Psychoanalytic Process
Part 4: Horney as an Adult
- Relationships with Men
- Schisms and Problems of Leadership
- Karen and Her Daughters
- The Many Sides of Karen Horney
- "Great Gifts, Great Shortcomings"
Part 5: Horney's Mature Theory
- The Real Self and Self-Realization
- The Major Neurotic Solutions
- The Idealized Image and the Pride System
- Horney and Third Force Psychology
Appendix A: Interdisciplinary Applications of Horneyan Theory
Appendix B: "Woman's Fear of Action," by Karen Horney
Comments on this book:
"A valuable and lucid picture of a restless and adventurous mind. . . . In giving us an overarching survey of her work, Mr. Paris reminds us of its richness, range, and sheer intelligence."
--Eva Hoffman, New York Times Book Review
"Paris provides a brilliant and clear description of Horney's theories, their evolution and their place in her personal history. . . . A very readable and interesting story of Horney, the troubled woman, as well as Horney, the creative and actualizing analyst."
--Virginia Hunter, Women, Gender, and Psychoanalysis
"This engrossing study of Horney's life and work draws on newly discovered materials to explore the relation between her personal history and the evolution of her ideas."
--International Erich Fromm Society Newsletter
"Bernard Paris has given us a succinct, balanced and workmanlike account of Horney's life and relates it to the development of her ideas."
--Stephen Wilson, Times Literary Supplement
"The definitive work on Karen Horney, written with admirable clarity and a driving narrative thrust that held my attention from beginning to end."
"Paris's textual analyses are among the best in explanatory writing of complex psychoanalytic theory that I have ever read. He has concisely summarized and interpreted Horney's professional writing in a lucid and interesting manner. the book moves smoothly and provides insight into her personal life and her work. Horney emerges from this book as a contrary, opinionated, highly intelligent and deeply unhappy woman. . . . An excellent introduction to the life and thought of Karen Horney."
--Elizabeth Friedman, Lambda Book Report
"For those unfamiliar with the writings of Horney, Paris's clear and detailed presentation is a very good introduction. He also gives the reader a sympathetic picture of this complex and compelling woman."
--Nina D. Fieldsteel, Contemporary Psychology
"Students of psychoanalysis will be captivated by Paris's unique portrait of Karen Horney. . . . Read this book for its enjoyable hint of scandal, intriguing singular life story, and rich theoretical outline. You will come away with greater knowledge and appreciation for Karen Horney's contribution to psychoanalysis and perhaps a more beneficent view of your own self and personal foibles. . . . This biography is a psychotherapeutic experience."
--Kathryn J. Zerbe, M.D., Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic
"Dr. Bernard J. Paris has created a superb unity, an integrated work which combines the life, development and times of Karen Horney, her theories, the changes she made in them, and their continuing influence."
--Eleanor Yachnes, MD, The Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis
"Writing with both admiration and candor, Paris has linked Horney's life and work as a means to revaluing her ideas. He set himself a complex task, and the result is well worth reading."
--Marcia Westkott, ISIS
New York University Press, 1997
In print (paperbound edition)
Nominated for a Gradiva Award
Preface, Chapters 1 & 2, and References posted on this website. See Chapter 2 and References for applications of Horneyan theory to the study of literature.
This book is a product of the continuing evolution of the psychological approach to literature I have been unfolding since 1964. It illustrates some of the applications of the approach that I have discussed before, but it emphasizes some things that my previous books do not, such as plot and narrative technique; and it applies the approach more systematically and to a wider range of literary issues and texts. It provides distinctive readings, I think, of a dozen major works of Western literature.
I have entitled the book Imagined Human Beings because it is largely about mimetic characters who can be understood in motivational terms. As the subtitle suggests, it is also about various kinds of conflict. There are conflicts, first of all, within and between the characters. In Part 2, I analyze the inner divisions of the central characters and the dynamics of their relationships in works by Sophocles, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Ibsen, and Barth.
There are other kinds of conflict that I explore as well. I argue in Part 3 that in realistic literature there is usually a conflict between plot and rhetoric on the one hand and mimesis on the other. When concretely drawn characters are understood in psychological terms, they tend to escape their roles and to subvert the view of them advanced by the rhetoric. I look at two patterns of action in particular, the education and vindication plots. When I examine the protagonists of education plots from a Horneyan perspective, they do not seem to have matured but to have switched from one defensive strategy to another. In vindication plots, noble characters are unappreciated at the outset but eventually receive the admiration they deserve. When we understand them psychologically, these characters appear less admirable than the vindication pattern requires them to be.
There is almost always a conflict between an author's interpretations and judgments, which are part of what I mean by "rhetoric," and the mimetic portrait of a character. Authors tend to glorify characters who embody the defensive strategies they favor while accurately portraying their behavior as damaging to themselves or others. A Horneyan approach helps us not only to see disparities between rhetoric and mimesis but also to understand the forces in the implied author's personality that generate them. There are sometimes inconsistencies within the rhetoric itself, as the author presents conflicting interpretations and judgments. A Horneyan approach can help us to make sense of such inconsistencies by seeing them as products of the inner divisions of the implied author.
The conflicts between rhetoric and mimesis that are a consequence of realistic characterization can be either exacerbated or reduced by the choice of narrative technique. In Part 3, I compare six novels that employ a variety of narrative techniques and try to show that the problems created by both omniscient and first person narration are illuminated by a Horneyan approach and resolved by the use of multiple narrators, such as Emily Brontė employs in Wuthering Heights.
Table of Contents
Part I: Introduction
- Applications of a Horneyan Approach
- Horney's Mature Theory
Part II: Characters and Relationships
- A Doll's House and Hedda Gabler
- The End of the Road
- "The Clerk's Tale"
- The Merchant of Venice
Part III: Character, Plot, Rhetoric, and Narrative Technique
- Great Expectations
- Jane Eyre
- The Mayor of Casterbridge
- Madame Bovary
- The Awakening
- Wuthering Heights
Comments on this book:
"This is literary criticism at its most perceptive. Theory is subservient to a deeply engaged reading of works Professor Paris clearly loves. To read his analysis of Emma Bovary or Hedda Gabler is to gain an enriched insight into characters whom we thought we knew so well."
--Phyllis Grosskurth, author of Byron: The Flawed Angel and many other books. Emeritus Professor of English, University of Toronto.
". . . a majestic tapestry -- a curtain that, when opened, reveals a stage in which literary criticism operates at a level both profound and enjoyable."
--Stanley Krippner, Professor of Psychology at Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, in AHP Perspective.
"He transcends his theory, just as he feels that great writers are intuitive psychologists who transcend their theories. Horneyan theory becomes for Paris merely a scaffold on which he can hang his own psychological insights. His use of it proves his contention that while 'in a brief description, [Horney's] theory seems highly schematic, . . .when properly employed it is quite flexible." His readings of Madame Bovary, Hedda Gabler, and Doll's House are models of acute psychological analysis. And Paris, to his great credit, never succumbs to the temptation of sacrificing the literary work to his theory: his close-reading approach focuses the reader's attention squarely back on the literary text itself."
Margret Schaefer in Psychoanalytic Books: A Quarterly Journal of Reviews.
"Paris' narrative, I am happy to say, displays all the virtues of Horney's own style and theory -- its clarity and vividness of language, and the immediate appeal of a jargon-free presentation of different character styles. He provides a clear and concise outline of her mature theory that would be perfectly accessible to nonanalysts, and one that will remind those psychoanalysts who may have felt Horney's work has been superseded by the advances of self psychology or relational theories of the considerable virtues still to be found there."
Barry Magid in Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis.
"In this excellent book, Bernard Paris looks at literary characters from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Ibsen and Barth, exploring their personalities, their devious motivations, their half-successful solutions to the eternal problems. In doing so, he takes us back to the root and profoundest appeal of literature, our response to these magnificent human beings as though they were real people. His unusually astute psychoanalytic criticism shows how the most interesting literature arises from the tension between the language and what is really -- so to speak -- going on."
--Norman Holland, author of The I and many other books. Marston-Milbauer Professor of English, University of Florida
Edited with Introductions by Bernard J. Paris
Yale University Press, 1999
During her lifetime, Karen Horney was reputed to be not only a great analyst but also a fine teacher and supervisor of analysts. Many of her courses eventually led to her books, but there was one frequent topic of her teaching on which she never wrote at length: the therapeutic process. She included chapters on this topic in New Ways in Psychoanalysis, Self-analysis, Our Inner Conflicts, and Neurosis and Human Growth; but these have often seemed incidental to the main focus of these books.
In addition to these chapters, however, Horney produced a substantial body of essays and lectures about the therapeutic process; and it is these that I have collected here. All the stages of Horney's thought are represented: the Freudian phase, the break with Freud and the development of a new paradigm, and the mature theory.
Those who knew her say that if Horney had lived, her next book would have been on analytic technique -- the topic of her courses at the American Institute for Psychoanalysis in the last years of her life. In the 1950s and 1960s, her students and colleagues published eleven reconstructions of her lectures, based on their notes, in The American Journal of Psychoanalysis. These constitute, in effect, a version of her intended book. Together with her essays on the topic, these accounts of her lectures give us a rich picture of Horney's ideas about the therapeutic process and establish her as an important thinker on the topic. The editor's introductions provide a context for this previously uncollected material, so that the volume provides a complete account of Horney's teachings about psychotherapy.
Horney's lectures are particularly valuable, I think, not only because they give us insight into a previously overlooked aspect of her thought but also because they are highly pertinent to the continuing concerns of clinicians, both practical and theoretical. Once more ahead of her time, Horney saw therapy as a collaborative enterprise and developed an interactive model in which the therapist is open, frank, and supportive and experiences growth along with the patient. She was highly sensitive to the ways in which the therapist's personality can both facilitate and obstruct the healing process, and she had a great deal to say about the therapist's "neurotic remnants" and countertransference phenomena. She was operating within the framework of her theory, to be sure, but very flexibly. She anticipated continuous revision of her ideas by herself and others as a result of clinical experience.
Comments on this book:
"Paris has gathered together Horney's writings and teachings -- 'lucid . . .wisdom and practical advice' about the techniques of analytic theory. . . .These articles (some of them previously unpublished) come as psychoanalysis enters its second century, a time of changing techniques -- of theory becoming more and more enriched by inter-relational emphases and by gender construction and further removed from the original focus on intrapsychic conflict. . . . Graduate students, researchers, faculty, and practitioners of theoretical and clinical psychoanalysis will find this collection of great interest."
"Superbly edited and introduced by a leading figure in Horney scholarship, this volume must be counted as a valuable contribution not only to the Horney literature, but to the wider domains of psychology and analytic psychotherapy."
--Douglas H. Ingram, MD, past-dean of the American Institute for Psychoanalysis; editor, Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis
"This book highlights the timelessness of Horney's work. Allowing for differences in vocabulary, she anticipated the ideas of Winnicott and Kohut and the interpersonal thrust of modern psychoanalysis. Her ideas are clearly articulated and readily grasped by readers at all levels of expertise."
--Althea J. Horner, Ph.D., author of Object Relations and the Developing Ego in Therapy and Working with the Core Relationship Problem in Psychotherapy: A Handbook for Clinicians
"This skillfully edited collection is a treasure for those interested in the development of Karen Horney's theory -- a theory which from the beginning was informed by therapeutic goals. Paris has made a real contribution to scholars and clinicians alike by collecting and writing introductions to these fascinating essays on the therapeutic process."
--Marcia Westkott, Professor of Women's Studies, University of Colorado
"Dr. Bernard Paris has once again applied his enormous intellectual vigor and produced a most valuable addition to the legacy of Dr. Karen Horney. His well-organized, revealing section introductions and his excellent editing bring Dr. Horney to the reader in a new and revealing fashion. His words finally lay out, in organized fashion, the techniques Dr. Hornig used in her compassionate psychoanalytic search for the constructive forces of growth in her patients and herself. It should be read by all clinicians who struggle each day to help people move on through emotional understanding."
--Henry Paul, MD, Executive Director, Karen Horney Clinic
Edited with introductions by Bernard J. Paris
Yale University Press, 2000
In the course of working on Karen Horney: A Psychoanalyst's Search for Self-Understanding, I discovered a number of unpublished writings by Horney, most of them in Harold Kelman's papers at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health. In addition, there were typewritten notes for a series of fourteen lectures on "Pride and Self-Hatred in Neurosis" in the files of the American Institute for Psychoanalysis. I found these writings invaluable for the insight they give into the evolution of Horney's ideas and the history of psychoanalysis, and I made frequent reference to them in Karen Horney. They reveal aspects of Horney's thought that we do not find as fully developed elsewhere -- about female homosexuality, for example, or why she stopped writing about feminine psychology. Some of the manuscripts were first drafts, course notes, or stenographic transcriptions of lectures that have required a good deal of editing. In addition to hitherto unpublished writings (18 items in all), this volume contains essays by Horney that have never before been collected and are difficult to obtain. Some of these were originally written in German and have not been previously translated.
This book is divided into two parts. Part I includes Horney's writings on feminine psychology and the relations between the sexes and constitutes an important supplement to Feminine Psychology, the book that established Horney as the first great psychoanalytic feminist. Part II collects her writings on other aspects of psychoanalytic theory from 1930 to 1952. It deepens our understanding the final two phases of Horney's thought -- her break with Freud and proposal of a new psychoanalytic paradigm in the 1930s, and her mature theory, developed in the 1940s. It includes three classic pieces that Horney wrote toward the end of her life: "The Value of Vindictiveness," "On Feeling Abused," and "The Paucity of Inner Experience."
Comments on this book:
"Having long taught Karen Horney's radical approach to psychoanalysis, I am delighted by this book. It provides a splendidly engaging introductory overview, and comprehensive collection of Horney's otherwise little known, but still highly relevant writings about women, marriage, relations generally between the sexes, and the social factors shaping women's and men's psychology. The result is an important volume for all those interested in these topics, whether or not they are already familiar with this feisty figure and her lively, controversial views."
--Janet Sayers, author of MOTHERS OF PSYCHOANALYSIS, FREUDIAN TALES, BOY CRAZY, and other books touching on the life and work of Karen Horney -- is a psychotherapist and professor of psychoanalytic psychology at the University of Kent, Canterbury, England.
"With this superbly edited collection of Horney's writings -- many published for the first time -- we finally have the intellectual strands that form the rich and fascinating link between Horney's early work on feminine psychology and her later personality theory. Bernard Paris has culled a magnificent collection, which demonstrates the insight, range, and perspicacity of this remarkable woman."
-- Marcia Westkott, Professor of Women's Studies and Sociology, University of Colorado at Boulder.
State University of New York Press, 2003
In print (paper and hardbound)
This is my second book on George Eliot. The first -- Experiments in Life: George Eliot's Quest for Values (1965) -- was a revision of my doctoral dissertation. A product of my training at Johns Hopkins in thematic analysis and the history of ideas, it examined George Eliot's ideas in relation to her intellectual milieu and her novels in relation to her ideas. It paid close attention to the themes of the novels and the ways in which characters embody them. George Eliot saw her novels as a set of "experiments in life" in which she tested her beliefs by clothing them in human figures and individual experience, and I accepted her epistemological claims. I, too, saw her novels as confirming the results of her quest for values in a Godless universe. When I wrote my dissertation, I was a true believer in George Eliot's Religion of Humanity; but by the time it was published as a book, I had lost my enthusiasm for her ideas. I analyze this crucial episode in my personal and intellectual history in the opening chapter; for it bears strongly on one of the topics of the present study: namely, the way in which our responses to literature are influenced by our character structures and emotional needs, and how we become different interpreters as we undergo psychological change. I came to understand my shifting attitudes partly through my fortuitous reading of Karen Horney, who had been recommended to me by a colleague, and partly through my experience in psychotherapy. As a result of these two influences, I began to develop a psychological approach to literature, the implications of which I have explored in a series of books. This book is in a way part of that series, further extending it into the area of reader response; but it is less explicit in its use of psychological theory.
One of the results of my having become a very different interpreter is that I am often critical of George Eliot's interpretations and judgments, whereas I had relied on them before as guides to the understanding of her characters and, indeed, to the meaning of life. Another result, of a more positive kind, is that I now appreciate her psychological intuitions, which are embodied in her mimetic portraits of characters and relationships. After my initial disenchantment, I have come back to seeing George Eliot as a very great novelist, but for entirely different reasons than before.
In this book, I concentrate on George Eliot's most impressive psychological novels: Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda. I focus on her detailed portrayal of the major characters in an effort to recover her intuitions and appreciate her mimetic achievement. Comparing the characters she has actually created with the version of them contained in her rhetoric, I find that there is often a great disparity between the two. George Eliot thought that clothing her ideas in human form and individual experience would provide a kind of experimental confirmation; but instead her imagined human beings often subverted the ideas she was trying to verify. However, through the process of character creation, her experiments in life led her to deeper, more enduring truths. Her novels were, in fact, instruments of knowledge; but she did not consciously comprehend the discoveries she had made. Like her characters, they must be disengaged from her rhetoric in order to be perceived.
- No Longer the Same Interpreter (posted here)
- "An Angel Beguiled": Dorothea Brooke
A version of this is available electronically in the 2000 issue of <PSYART>
- The Two Selves of Tertius Lydgate
- "A Dreadful Plain Girl": Mary Garth
- "This Problematic Sylph": Gwendolen Harleth
- The "Crushed Penitent": Gwendolen's Transformation
- Gwendolen and Daniel: A Therapeutic Relationship?
- Daniel the Deliverer
Comments on this book:
“Consistently fascinating and engaging, this book represents a new kind of criticism in which the interpreter is as interested in interrogating himself as he is the writer under study.”
–Jeffrey Berman, Professor of English, State University of New York, Albany
“This important study by a major Eliot scholar is a real contribution not only to Eliot criticism but also to reader-response theory and reception theory . . . . Paris . . . identifies the cruxes and problems in Eliot’s texts that many critics overlook or sweep under the rug, and these issues would be wonderful topics to discuss and debate in the classroom. This book will be a great tool for teachers.”
–Gordon Hirsch, Professor of English, University of Minnesota
Palgrave Macmillan, 2005
This is a study of Charlie Marlow as he appears in “Youth,” “Heart of Darkness,” and Lord Jim. So much has been written about Marlow that it may be hard to imagine that a book devoted to him can employ a really new approach; but the fact is that the usual practice has been to see Marlow as a literary device, a character who serves Conrad’s purposes but is of no special interest in himself. I believe that Marlow is Conrad’s finest character creation and one of the most remarkable psychological portraits in literature. His formal and thematic functions have received a great deal of attention, and I do not ignore them here, but they cannot be properly understood unless we comprehend what is going on inside him. Amazingly, despite all that has been said about Marlow, there has been little discussion of his motivations. My object here is to do justice to Conrad’s genius in mimetic characterization and to reinterpret two of his greatest works from the perspective of a fuller understanding of their central figure.
I approach Marlow as a mimetic portrait, an imagined human being whose thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, including his story telling, are expressions of his personality and experience. Except for my own earlier work, this has simply not been done. I see Marlow in “Youth,” “Heart of Darkness,” and Lord Jim as a continuously-evolving individual, at different stages of his life, whose disturbing experiences and involvements with other characters generate anxieties and inner conflicts from which he seeks relief through his narrations. Each work in which Marlow appears is intelligible in its own right, but all are illuminated by being considered together. My primary focus is on “Heart of Darkness” and Lord Jim, but “Youth” is important for an understanding of Marlow’s youthful romanticism, which is subdued by his Congo experience but is later reawakened by his contact with the irrepressible Jim.
Marlow’s character is revealed in large part through his relationships, particularly those with Kurtz and Jim. Like Marlow himself, these relationships have been much discussed, but primarily in terms of what Conrad is using them to say or to show. I feel that Conrad portrays these relationships with a psychological depth and subtlety that have yet to be fully appreciated. Marlow’s relationship with Jim is one of the most fascinating in fiction, and I give it special attention. Lord Jim starts out as a story about the title character, but it becomes even more the story of Marlow and Jim and the effect of their interaction on the two men. To comprehend this interaction, we must understand Jim as thoroughly as we do Marlow. He is another superb mimetic portrait.
Although I emphasize the inner life of Conrad’s characters in a way that has not been done by other critics, I do not ignore the formal complexity and thematic richness of the works in which they appear. Rather, I believe that my analysis of Marlow’s conflicts helps us better understand the structure of his narrations, his relationships with his auditors, and the thematic ambiguities of the stories he tells. In addition, I show how Conrad’s Lamarckian belief in the inheritance of acquired characteristics influences his treatment of racial issues, of the “inborn strength” that some men lack but others possess, and of Marlow’s attitudes toward Kurtz and Jim. I do not think the phrase “one of us” can be properly understood without an awareness of this belief. In my discussion of Lord Jim, I give considerable attention to the problems that arise from Conrad’s shift from an omniscient narrator to Marlow, and I conclude by trying to determine where Conrad stands in this extremely elusive work.
Chapter 1. Young Marlow
Chapter 2. The Journey to the Inner Station
Chapter 3. Marlow and Kurtz
Chapter 4. Marlow the Narrator
Chapter 5. Conrad’s Jim
Chapter 6. Marlow’s Initial Response to Jim
Chapter 7. Marlow Becomes Jim’s Ally
Chapter 8. Marlow’s Inner Conflicts
Chapter 9. Jim as a Mimetic Character
Chapter 10. Marlow on Jim in Patusan
Chapter 11. Where Does Conrad Stand in Lord Jim?
Comments on this book:
“Bernard Paris’s Conrad’s Charlie Marlow, is, quite simply, the most persuasive psychological discussion of one of the twentieth-century’s greatest and most elusive fictional characters . . . . The book’s insights, balance, and accessible prose are apparent on every page.”
–Jeffrey Berman, Professor of English, State University of New York, Albany
“Bernard Paris offers a direct challenge to critics, who have commonly viewed Conrad’s Marlow not as an ‘imagined human being,’ but instead as a literary device, or a purveyor of themes, or a purely functional character . . . . A work of literary analysis but also a highly personal work that reads, in part, like a passionate tribute to a time-honored and deeply appreciated literary friend, Conrad’s Charlie Marlow offers readers a penetrating and deeply sympathetic psychological portrait of Conrad’s Charlie Marlow in a refreshingly accessible way.”
–J. Brooks Bouson, Professor of English, Loyola University of Chicago
Dostoevsky's Greatest Characters: A New Approach to "Notes from Underground," Crime and Punishment, and The Brothers Karamazov
Palgrave Macmillan, 2008
Although criticism abounds with tributes to Dostoevky's remarkable insight into human nature, sufficient justice has not yet been done to his genius in psychological portraiture. Attention tends to be focused on his characters' thematic significance rather than on their inner lives and relationships. Addressed to all readers of Dostoevsky, as well as to teachers, student, and specialists, this study approaches the underground man, Raskolnikov, and Ivan and Alyosha Karamazov as imagined human beings whose feelings, behaviors, and ideas are expressions of their personalities and experience. While agreeing with Bakhtin about the autonomy of Dostoevsky's characters, it shows that there is a tension between them and the rhetoric that Bakhtin obscures. By paying close attention to mimetic detail, it seeks to recover Dostoevsky's psychological intuitions and to appreciate the brilliance of his characterization, which is comparable to Shakespeare's.
Part I. “Notes from Underground”
Chapter 1. History and Personality
Chapter 2. Zverkov and Liza
Chapter 3. The Diarist
Part II. Crime and Punishment
Chapter 4. Rhetoric in Crime and Punishment
Chapter 5. History and Inner Conflicts
Chapter 6. Sonya, Svidrigaylov, and Raskolnikov’s Conversion
Part III. The Brother’s Karamazov
Chapter 7. Thematic Analysis
Chapter 8. Ivan: Character Structure and Beliefs
Chapter 9. Ivan: Before the Murder
Chapter 10. Ivan: After the Murder
Chapter 11. Alyosha: History and Personality
Chapter 12. Alyosha: Trials and Resolutions
Comments on this book:
“Dostoevsky’s fictional characters–qua characters–have not received the attention they deserve from Bakhtinian Slavists and other critics. Bernard Paris aims to correct this situation by looking at the underground man, Raskolnikov, and two of the Karamazov brothers through a post-Freudian psychoanalytic lens. The result is a savvy and very readable study which helps us to appreciate both the profound humanity of individual Dostoevskian characters as well as Dostoevsky’s extraordinary talent for mimetic portrayal.”
–Daniel Rancour-Laferriere, Emeritus Professor of Russian, University of California, Davis
“I know of no other book that comes even close to this one in explaining the intricacies of Dostoevsky’s major characters . . . . To me, this is the best book in English on Dostoevsky’s major characters. . . . Paris writes clearly and without jargon. . . . Psychologists, philosophers, and teachers of literature and creative writing will profit greatly from his work.”
–Joe E. Barnhart, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, University of North Texas
Forthcoming, Transaction Publishers, May, 2010
Many critics agree with C. S. Lewis that “Satan is the best drawn of Milton’s characters.” Satan is certainly a wonderful creation, but Adam and Eve are also complex and well-drawn, and God may be the most complicated character of all. Paradise Lost is above all God’s story; it is his discontent, first with Lucifer and then with human beings, that drives the action from the beginning until his anger subsides at the world’s end.
Milton’s characters are usually discussed in terms of their illustrative significance, their role in his efforts to justify God’s ways. This is appropriate, of course, but the characters are portrayed in such concrete detail that much of their behavior can also be explained in psychological terms. His mimetic characterization often subverts his thematic intentions and is an aspect of Milton’s art that has been largely ignored.
Motivational questions arise at each stage of the poem about the ways in which characters relate to each other and why their behavior is so extreme. Why does God anoint the Son King, and why is Satan so disturbed by this act that he foments a rebellion? Why is God so enraged by Satan’s revolt that he is not satisfied with consigning him to Hell but frees him so that he can damn himself further by carrying out his dark designs, despite the cost to humankind? Why do Satan and God have such intense cravings for power and glory? The ambitious Satan wants more than he already has, but what accounts for the voracity of God’s appetite? Satan’s vindictiveness is clearly a response to his feeling injured, but must not God also have been deeply hurt to have such a powerful craving for revenge? If so, why is the Almighty so vulnerable?
Similar questions arise about the behavior of God and Satan toward Adam and Eve, Adam and Eve’s behavior toward each other and God, and God’s relationship with the Son. Why is Satan so full of turmoil after he arrives in Eden? Why is Eve so easily seduced, and why does Adam choose to die with her? And why is God so hard on Adam and Eve and the rest of humankind? How does the Son help God to manage his inner conflicts and ultimately to resolve them?
Most critics treat Milton’s characters as coded messages from the author; but the richness with which they are depicted interferes with the process of decoding; for as the characters come to life, they escape their thematic roles. The clash between Milton’s rhetorical intentions and his mimetic characterization does much to explain the controversies that have surrounded this poem. Instead of looking through the characters to author or theme, this book looks at Milton’s characters as objects of interest in themselves, as creations inside a creation who embody his intuitive insights and are products of his genius in psychological portraiture.
Chapter 1. Heaven and Its Discontents
Chapter 2. Coping with Defeat
Chapter 3. The Creation
Chapter 4. Satan’s Inner Conflicts
Chapter 5. Adam and Eve: Before the Fall
Chapter 6. Adam and Eve: The Fall
Chapter 7. Adam and Eve: After the Fall
Chapter 8. God Protects His Image: Before the Fall
Chapter 9. After the Fall: God’s Response
Thomas Hardy and His Characters
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