Cover image for Patriarchy and incest from Shakespeare to Joyce
Patriarchy and incest from Shakespeare to Joyce
Ford, Jane M.
Personal Author:
Physical Description:
xiii, 202 pages ; 24 cm
Introduction: Father/Daughter Incest -- Theory, History, and Sociology -- Some Literary Variations on the Incest Theme -- The Triangle in William Shakespeare -- The Triangle in Charles Dickens -- The Triangle in Henry James -- The Triangle in Joseph Conrad -- The Triangle in James Joyce -- Incest and Death.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR408.F36 F67 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



"A highly satisfying book that will be of great interest both to psychoanalytic critics and to students of the English novel. . . . By taking the theme of father-daughter incest as a guiding thread, Jane Ford traces a pattern of indisputable importance in the works of Shakespeare and major English novelists."--Peter L. Rudnytsky, University of Florida

Using Shakespeare's plots as a backdrop, Jane Ford traces the incest theme in novels by Charles Dickens, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, and James Joyce, exploring in particular the father-daughter-suitor triangle.

As Ford demonstrates, three patterns predominate: the father eliminates the suitor and retains the daughter; the father submits to outside authority and relinquishes the daughter; or the father resolves the incest threat by choosing the daughter's suitor. Ford provides evidence that the fictive characters' incest conflicts often mirror the writer's own incest dilemmas, whether subliminal or not, and in readings that break with traditional criticism, she points to textual evidence for the occurrence of actual incest in The Golden Bowl and Ulysses . Ford maintains that each of the five writers wrote final works that seemed to return to a plot of retention of the daughter by the father.

Ford's book offers a valuable amplification of Otto Rank's seminal work, The Incest Theme in Literature and Legend: Fundamentals of a Psychology of Literary Creation , and extends an important issue in 20th-century psychology into the study of major works of literature written in English.

Jane M. Ford is a visiting scholar in the Department of Literature at the University of California, San Diego.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Ford (Univ. of California, San Diego) provides a thematic reading of the incest motif in the work of Shakespeare, Dickens, James, Conrad, and Joyce. She focuses on the father-daughter dimension and sketches her theme across texts from the beginning, middle, and end of each writer's career. The author delineates three principle father types with respect to the father-daughter relationship: the tyrant, the protector, and the "mutual love affair." Ford also discloses two primary solutions to the incestuous tension between father and daughter: marriage of the daughter or premature death. Unfortunately, the author relies almost entirely on the theories of Freud and Otto Rank. Further, she ignores the work of modern writers not available to Freud or Rank, and this unnecessary constriction on the subject is a serious flaw. The book's other shortcomings include Ford's use of questionable biographical material and the speculative nature of her argument. Nonetheless, the text is well written and jargon- free. Recommended for graduate students. D. Seelow; SUNY College at Old Westbury

Table of Contents

For Barbara, Bill, Brian, and Annp. v
Prefacep. ix
Introduction: Fatherl/Daughter Incestp. 1
1 Some Literary Variations on the Incest Themep. 17
2 The Triangle in William Shakespearep. 36
3 The Triangle in Charles Dickensp. 54
4 The Triangle in Henry Jamesp. 80
5 The Triangle in Joseph Conradp. 100
6 The Triangle in James Joycep. 120
7 Incest and Deathp. 146
Notesp. 171
Bibliographyp. 184
Indexp. 199