Attachment’s role in literature

Camilla Chams approaches attachment as a synonym for love, liking, affiliation. Attachment has recently been launched as a keyword for the humanities and for literary studies (Felski, 2008, 2015). In psychology, however, attachment is a more complex form of human relationship involving both cognitive and emotional development, and physical survival (Bowlby, 1979).

A portrait of a woman with short hair

Camilla Chams

By exploring attachment’s role in literature, and literature’s role in attachment, this project raises questions about how, and to what extent it makes sense to think of attachment as an aesthetic judgment, as a way of thinking how readers and writers engage with literature, and what literature possibly can teach us about the making and breaking of affectional bonds.

Against this backdrop, my project explores the meaning of the term attachment, how it has been and might be used in relation to literary studies, by investigating the female protagonists in Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment, Rachel Cusk’s Aftermath and Siri Hustvedt’s The Summer Without Men, use of literature, when separated from their attachment figures.

Tags: Attachment Theory, Literature
Published Oct. 23, 2020 11:43 AM - Last modified Mar. 9, 2022 10:24 AM