Australian Journal of French Studies

L’Après-Œdipe: The Future of Psychoanalytic Criticism in an Era of Cognitive and Evolutionary Psychology

Australian Journal of French Studies (2018), 55, (3), 237–247.


This article examines the use in literary analysis of competing understandings of human psychology emerging from psychoanalysis, cognitive science and evolutionary theory. The validity of each as a model of human nature and as a tool for interpreting literary representations is considered. From this analysis, a case is made for a pluralist approach in the arts, demonstrating that, despite the mutual antipathy with which psychoanalytic and cognitive critics sometimes regard each other, there is a role for these and other approaches to understanding the representation of the human mind in literature. This is particularly the case, the article argues, where the representation itself forms part of a constructed fictional world that need not entirely mirror the contemporary scientific understanding of our own.

Access Token
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here


Author details

Kemp, Simon