Australian Journal of French Studies

On Bibliotherapy: Literature as Therapy and the Problem of Autonomy, with Régine Detambel’s Les Livres prennent soin de nous

Australian Journal of French Studies (2020), 57, (3), 337–351.

Abstract

This article offers a reading of the “care turn” through Régine Detambel, author and bibliotherapist. In Les Livres prennent soin de nous, she argues not only that literature can serve as therapy for its reader but also that the practice of bibliotherapy might help foster the autonomy both of patients and of literature. Drawing on work in the social sciences on matters of autonomy as it relates to both literature and contemporary therapeutic culture, this reading discusses how the various forms of autonomy that Detambel sets out to uphold, far from harmoniously coinciding, contradict and conflict with one another. Finally, in its conclusion, this essay challenges the notion that the value of literature is best defended through the bibliotherapeutic wedding of literature and therapy.

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Author details

PHILLIPS, MATT