Book Reviews -- Cradle and All: A Cultural and Psychoanalytic Reading of Nursery Rhymes by Lucy Rollin

By Eiss, Harry | Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA), Spring 1994 | Go to article overview

Book Reviews -- Cradle and All: A Cultural and Psychoanalytic Reading of Nursery Rhymes by Lucy Rollin


Eiss, Harry, Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)


Lucy Rollin. Cradle and All: A Cultural and Psychoanalytic Reading of Nursery Rhymes. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1962.

At a time when politically correct Marxist and Feminist literary criticism is pushing aside more traditional psychoanalytic interpretations of oral literature, it is refreshing to encounter a publication willing to employ it, however tentatively, to analyze nursery rhymes. Since the approach has proved successful in dealing with folk tales (notably in the work of Bruno Bettelheim's Uses of Enchantment) and myths (serving as the basis for the work of such critics as Joseph Campbell and Carol Pearson), it promises many interesting insights into the first literature to which we are exposed.

Centering on the classic collection of rhymes edited by Iona and Peter Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, Lucy Rollin has sorted the rhymes into four categories for study: animal rhymes, courtship and marriage rhymes, lullabies and amusements and didactic rhymes, devoting a chapter to each, where she explores some of the psychological and cultural patterns to be found (eg. …

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