Psychoanalytical criticism is a type ofcriticism that uses theories of psychology to analyze literature. It focuses on theauthor’s state of mind or the state of the mind of fictional characters.
Sigmund FreudPsychoanalytical criticism originated in the workof Sigmund Freud. Freud’s theories areconcerned with the nature of the unconsciousmind. According to Freud, the human mindconsists of three parts: the id, the ego andsuperego. The id is source of our instinctual and physical desires. The superego is the part of the psyche that has internalized the norms and mores of society. The ego is keeps mediating between the demands of the id and the superego. It is rational, logical, and conscious.
Repression We often repress what the id encourages us to think and do because the ego and superego tell us not to think and do, therefore forcing these unacceptable wishes into the unconscious. All of us have repressed wishes and fears. Repressed desires emerge in disguised forms: dreams and language (slips). They emerge in symbolic form that require analysis to reveal their meaning. Many elements of psychology that Freud described appear in literary works.
Freudian Literary Criticism Freudian critics try to understand how the operations of repression structure or inform the work? They pay close attention to unconscious motives and feelings, whether these be those of the author, or of the characters depicted in the work. They demonstrate the presence in the literary work of classic psychoanalytic symptoms or conditions.
Carl Gustav Jung and Jungian literary Criticism Jung developed the theory of the collective unconscious, a collection of shared unconscious memories dating back to the origins of human experience and manifested in dreams, myths, and literature. A great work of literature is not a disguised expression of repressed wishes, but a manifestation of the desires one held by the whole human race, and now repressed because of the advent of civilization. Jungian analysis of literature tries to discover the images in a work of literature that a permanent and universal significance.
Harold Bloom and the anxiety of InfluenceThe most important contemporary psychological criticis Harold Bloom. Bloom uses the Freudian concept ofrepression to apply it to literary history in general. Nopoet creates in isolation from his predecessors. In TheAnxiety of Influence, he argues that poetsunconsciously misread the poems of their greatpredecessors. The new poems are essentiallyrewritings of poems by a father-figure predecessor.Poets keep struggling to free themselves from thisinfluence of father-figure poets.