Producing Hate in Private Letters: Horace Walpole, Mary Hays
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In 1810, Mary Berry published the correspondence of Madame du Deffand, including in her footnotes excerpts from notoriously aggressive letters written by Walpole to Deffand; in 1798, Mary Hays published versions of some of her own letters to William Godwin and his responses to them in her novel Memoirs of Emma Courtney. Hays's private letters to Godwin and Walpole's semi-private letters to Mme. du Deffand reveal them engaged in transference, but not exactly transference-love - rather, hate. I argue that letter writing becomes a psychoanalytic practice with the publication of this private activity. Publishing an epistolary relationship restructures it, positioning its authors and readers in narcissistic but also sibling relationships as described by Juliet Mitchell, thereby enabling these authors to deploy hate to encounter reality. They produce hatred in a way productive for historical understanding, both theirs and ours. 2006 Taylor & Francis.
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