This chapter discusses how much Victorian fiction and British psychoanalysis together teaches about relationality. It explains loneliness, wishfulness, restlessness, and aliveness as profoundly solitary emotions. Relational readings reveal that people are never more intensely related to other than when these emotions are felt. Although novel reading is a solitary activity, the chapter shows how intensely, if paradoxically, people are related to others while they read: to narrators, authors, characters, and other readers, and also to themselves, in the new forms of self-relation evolved by Victorian novels and consolidated by British object relations psychoanalysis. The chapter also talks about the contemporary psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas who has invented a new term to designate the opposite of trauma: “genera.” The psychic genera, in Bollas's theory, sponsors a very different kind of unconscious work. Rather than an open wound, it is a site of psychic incubation, an inner place to gather resources so that one may turn outward, to “novel experiences” that bring the self into renewing contact with ideational and affective states, often within an enriching interpersonal environment.
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