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Antonia White and Manic-Depressive Illness$
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Patricia Moran

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474418218

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474418218.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

Master plots: Psychoanalysis and Catholicism

Master plots: Psychoanalysis and Catholicism

(p.101) Chapter 3 Master plots: Psychoanalysis and Catholicism
Antonia White and Manic-Depressive Illness

Patricia Moran

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores the two main interpretative frameworks White adopted to conceptualise a sense of self in the face of her recurrent psychic distress and inexplicable behaviour. White’s entrance into psychoanalytic treatment coincided with a moment in psychoanalytic history in which the thinking about female sexuality centred upon the ‘female castration complex’. White’s diary provides unmistakeable evidence that she developed an explanation for her illness that was heavily influenced by the ideas of Karl Abraham, who initiated this line of psychoanalytic theorising and who profoundly shaped British psychoanalysis. The recurrence of symptoms following her supposed ‘cure’ impelled White to reconvert to Catholicism at the end of 1940. White’s letters and diary show how she superimposes Catholic doctrine on that of psychoanalysis. Together these interpretative frameworks worked to affirm the centrality of father-daughter eroticism in White’s identity narrative.

Keywords:   Psychoanalysis, Catholicism, Karl Abraham, Carl Jung, Melanie Klein, Female Castration Complex

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