Psychoanaliterature, or, how the American relational move made Are You My Mother? and The Argonauts

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This article explores the emergence of a new textual tendency in turn-of-the-millennium United States, where psychoanalytic theory, fiction writing, self-writing, and literary scholarship converge. I call the body of works established at this conjunction ‘psychoanaliterature’. My analysis looks at two examples, Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother? (2012) and Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts (2015). I argue that at the centre of these two works, paradigmatic of psychoanaliterature writ large, there lies an interrelational model of subjectivity, which draws on the psychoanalytic school of Object Relations, Freud’s foundational self-analysis project, and on Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s queer relationality, and is charged with a political valence via its push against the North American ideal of self-sufficiency.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTextual Practice
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2023


  • Alison Bechdel
  • Maggie Nelson
  • Psychoanalysis
  • autotheory
  • intersubjectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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