De representatie van het moederschap in verlichte opvoedkunde en duistere gotiek: Een confrontatie tussen Benjamin Spock en Renate Dorrestein

R. Buikema*, E. Wesseling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article inquires into two Gothic novels by Renate Dorrestein, namely Ontaarde moeders (Perverse mothers) and Een hart van steen (A Heart of Stone), paying special attention to the motif of the house which always plays a prominent role in Gothic fiction, and the representation of motherhood. We argue that Dorrestein criticizes enlightened, scientifically based approaches to the raising of children, especially the so-called "fun morality" of Benjamin Spock and Penelope Leach. Dorrestein foregrounds the dark sides of family life, focusing on the problematic sides of the mother-daughter relationship. We argue that Dorrestein's representation of motherhood is in keeping with Freud's views on the matter, which is not so surprising, considering the fact that the Gothic novel formed an important source of inspiration for Freud. Dorrestein's novels make Spock's domestication of the darker sides of Freud's thought undone.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-174
Number of pages19
JournalSpiegel der Letteren
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000

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