chapter
Introduction
WithCatherine Crimp
Pages 27

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book looks at images of childhood, but there are no childhood photographs in the coming pages. Starting from thematic and stylistic comparisons between the depictions of birth, childhood and adolescence, the book identifies profound similarities in the way this trio configure the space of their works around child figures, evoking metaphors and creating myths. It considers the ambiguous relationship between fiction and autobiography, and the ways the own childhood memories and conceptions of childhood and adolescence may be involved in the experiences of works by Samuel Beckett, Louise Bourgeois, and Marcel Proust. The book aims to distance itself from the psychoanalytical frameworks that have long dominated studies of childhood and the family, and of their representations in art and literature. It outlines their main techniques for portraying childhood, and the ways in which these techniques function as guiding themes.