Reading the Family Dance: Family Systems Therapy and Literary Study

index.3The development in recent years of the intersections between the family and literary study continues to emerge as one of the most productive and illuminating arenas of contemporary critique. In addition to addressing the family dynamic through which a given literary character develops a fully realized sense of self, family systems therapy allows readers to examine the patterns by which characters function in their larger intimate systems, whether those systems be social, institutional, or even global. As the intellectual foundation for the forms of therapy practiced by the majority of contemporary American and European psychotherapists, the study of family systems therapy and its intersections with literary works affords readers with an illuminating glimpse into the terminology and processes involved in this dynamic form of critique. Perhaps most significantly, family systems therapy allows critics to consider the distinctly social interactions that characterize our pathways to interpersonal development and selfhood.

“This well-conceived and well-edited volume offers its reader a broad spectrum of writings that apply various aspects of Family Systems Therapy (FST) to the analysis of literary texts. Furthermore, the anthology serves well as an introduction to this emerging psychological approach to literature.”—Jeffrey Todd Adams, College Literature

“Thirteen scholars from the U.S., Japan, and Italy contribute 14 essays addressing various literary works from the social-psychological perspective of family systems therapy (FST). An initial chapter introducing the links between FST and literary studies is followed by essays on FST and our understandings of the self, the family, and the world. Literary works discussed include A Room with a View, Jane Eyre, The Woman Warrior, Animal Dreams, Clarissa, The Game, The Bluest Eye, The Women of Tijucopapa, Hamlet, and The Day of the Locust.”—Reference and Research Book News

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