Real, Herman J. and Heinz J. Vienken ‘Psychoanalytic Criticism and Swift: the History of a Failure’, Eighteenth-century Ireland/Iris an dá chultúr, Vol. 1 (1986), pp 127-141.
Real and Vienken assess the contributions made to Swift scholarship by psychoanalytical critics of the twentieth-century. Psychoanalytic interpretations of Swifts so called scatological poems and of Gullivers Travels are challenged. The authors question the validity of the evidence used by psychoanalytical criticism to condemn Swift as having an obsession with filth, anality, and sado-cannibalistic fantasies. They also challenge popular myths concerning Swifts marital status, his mental state, and his alleged predilection for scatology. The use of Freuds Interpretation of Dreams as a model for the psychoanalytical study of Swift, and the more recent controversy concerning the compatibility of applying psychoanalysis to literature are both considered. The article accepts the view of Norman O. Brown that scatology need not be the perverse product of a diseased mind but can legitimately function as a means of satirical shock therapy, but categorises the twentieth-century psychoanalytical study of Swift, in general, as a miserable failure.