Journal Article

Religious Irony and Freudian Rationalism in Dennis Potter's <i>The Singing Detective</i> (1986)

Neil Vickers

in Literature and Theology

Volume 20, issue 4, pages 411-423
Published in print December 2006 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online October 2006 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frl041
Religious Irony and Freudian Rationalism in Dennis Potter's The Singing Detective (1986)

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Literature
  • Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

This article explores the Christian dimension of Dennis Potter's The Singing Detective (1986) and its relation to psychoanalytic ideas. Most critics read Potter's drama as a psychoanalytic text, with reason. But Potter himself emphasised the religious aspect of the main character's plight which he did not think could be reduced to human dimensions. The article describes the antagonism between the religious and the psychoanalytic in this work, highlighting the ways in which the former serves to undercut the authority of the latter. I then consider whether attempts by contemporary psychoanalysts to understand religious experience in a positive light might supply a basis for a non-dualistic reading of Potter's work. I conclude that while accounts of religious experience that draw upon Winnicott's notion of ‘transitional phenomena’ have a limited applicability to The Singing Detective, an important function of its religious dimension is to offer a religious critique of Freudian rationalism.

Journal Article.  5734 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.