Sleep Has His House, one of Anna Kavan’s most radically experimental novels, appeared in Britain in 1948, in the wake of the Second World War. An objection levied at the novel on its publication was that it bore no relationship to external ‘reality’. However, this article argues that the novel’s focus on the oneiric realm, contrary to what hostile contemporary reviews claimed, does not take place in isolation of larger society. Portraying modernist, surrealist and psychoanalytical influences, the novel is namely concerned with the representation of a nocturnal realm that emphasizes the osmotic relationship between the external world and an individual’s subjectivity. Focusing on the ways in which violent images of war infiltrate the dream world, this article suggests that Sleep Has His House can in fact be understood as reflecting and responding to the pressures of British war-torn society in the mid twentieth century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-374
JournalWomen: A Cultural Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017

    Research areas

  • Anna Kavan, Psychoanalysis, Ludwig Binswanger, Carl Jung, Surrealism, Modernism, Second World War, Experimental Literature, Avant-Garde Fiction, British Literature

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