Date of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Eric Tribunella

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Monika Gehlawat

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Alexandra Valint

Committee Member 3 School



Psychoanalysis has a history of using literature to explain and augment its theories. What is more unusual is when a work of fiction finds itself structured around pre-existing psychoanalytical theory. Algernon Blackwood’s Jimbo: A Fantasy (1909) is a children’s novel reminiscent of a combination of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. In the novel, the titular character is a seven-year-old boy with an overactive imagination who is traumatized by his governess before suffering an accident that places him into a coma. The coma results in Jimbo entering a bizarre fantasy world which he journeys through with a version of his governess. The resulting narrative becomes one of childhood trauma and repression, seemingly structured around Freud’s long buried seduction theory, a theory of childhood trauma caused by sexual abuse. The novel serves as a case study, while also illustrating how children’s literature can take an active role in shaping and building upon psychoanalytic theory.

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