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HEDDA GABLER PSYCHOANALYSIS AND THE SPACE OF THE PLAY by Nigel Hand The established view of Hedda Gabler sees the play as a study of the frustration and despair engendered in the exceptional individual by a conventionalised society In this paper I present a psychoanalytic re-interpretation of the play which in certain respects inverts this received reading Insofar as it does so however my interpretation is intended not to cancel the received view but to play against it The first section of the paper is predominantly Freudian in approach The second section takes up certain Kleinian ideas which are broached in the first and explores them more fully The third section exploits some of Winnicotts key concepts especially as they have been elaborated by Christopher Bollas The paper seeks to enlarge our understanding of the nature of Hedda Gablers alienation and despair through a fresh study of the dynamic structure of the play as a whole I am also suggesting that Ibsen should be seen as a major precursor both of Freud and the object-relations tradition in psychoanalysis SECTION I - THE FIGURE IN THE CARPET INTRODUCTION - IBSEN AND PSYCHOANALYSIS
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