Scholars on Sendak

Published October 15, 2009 by Molly

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Sendak has said that he is obsessed with one and only one question: “How do children survive?”

Richard M. Gottlieb, M.D. tackles the question in his 2008 academic paper, titled Maurice Sendak’s Trilogy: Disappointment, Fury, and Their Transformation through Art.

“An overlooked yet central developmental theme of Maurice Sendak’s major works,” Gottlieb writes, “is that of resilience. Resilience reflects a child’s capacity to transform otherwise crippling traumatic circumstances into his (or her) very means of survival, growth, and positive maturation. An implicit credo of these works is the adage: “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”

Note that Sendak himself spent years in psychoanalysis, so the approach isn’t as obscure as it first appears. Read the article online at this digital archive of classic psychoanalytic texts. Go on, do something good for your brain.

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One comment so far

  1. Emaleigh says:

    Richard Gottlieb just wrote another article about Where the Wild Things Are specifically that is out in the October 2009 journal, The Psychologist. Pretty interesting. You can check it out online as a PDF here:

    http://www.thepsychologist.org.uk/archive/archive_home.cfm/volumeID_22-editionID_180-ArticleID_1569-getfile_getPDF/thepsychologist%5C1009gott.pdf

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