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In: Ethics and the Subject
Author: Jo Croft

Abstract

This essay takes as its starting point the proposition that adolescence is a time during which a different set of spatial relationships emerge, both between the subject and the house, and between the subject’s psyche and body. The discussion of adolescent bedrooms is framed thematically, rather than historically and focuses primarily upon examples found in literary texts produced in the twentieth century, such as Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4, Martin Amis’ The Rachel Papers, and Denton Welch’s In Youth is Pleasure. The author draws upon psychoanalytic theory, particularly the work of Winnicott and Kristeva, in order to consider how and where play figures in the adolescent domestic landscape. Using Susan Stewart’s idea of “the house within a house”, the final section takes the doll’s house as a possible site of excessive interiority and explores the significance of such multiple layers of internal space in relation to adolescence itself.

In: Our House
The Representation of Domestic Space in Modern Culture
Volume Editors: Gerry Smyth and Jo Croft
Space has emerged in recent years as a radical category in a range of related disciplines across the humanities. Of the many possible applications of this new interest, some of the most exciting and challenging have addressed the issue of domestic architecture and its function as a space for both the dramatisation and the negotiation of a cluster of highly salient issues concerning, amongst other things, belonging and exclusion, fear and desire, identity and difference.
Our House is a cross-disciplinary collection of essays taking as its focus both the prospect and the possibility of ‘the house’. This latter term is taken in its broadest possible resonance, encompassing everything from the great houses so beloved of nineteenth-century English novelists to the caravans and mobile homes of the latterday travelling community, and all points in between. The essays are written by a combination of established and emerging scholars, working in a variety of scholarly disciplines, including literary criticism, sociology, cultural studies, history, popular music, and architecture. No specific school or theory predominates, although the work of two key figures – Gaston Bachelard and Martin Heidegger – is engaged throughout.
This collection engages with a number of key issues raised by the increasingly troubled relationship between the cultural (built) and natural environments in the contemporary world.