Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 365–383 | Cite as

Reflections on the psychoanalysis of hope

  • Steven GroarkeEmail author


What does psychoanalysis tell us about hope? This paper addresses the sense of belief one has in the value of the future, with particular reference to the work of Michael Balint and D. W. Winnicott. In particular, the author elaborates on Balint’s ‘new beginning’ and Winnicott’s ‘moment of hope’ as the theoretical bases for a psychoanalysis of hope. The positive evaluation of hope is set out alongside the interpretation of hope from the standpoint of narcissistic omnipotence. Hope is defined positively, in the first part of the paper, as the doing of a certain kind of action, and, in the second part of the paper, the author explores this claim in more depth through a close reading of Anne Enright’s novel, The Green Road. The novel is presented as a fictional representation (or literary enactment) of the inner future, where the protagonist becomes hopeful in the event of waiting.


Balint defiance inner future new beginning waiting vital and devitalised uses of hope Winnicott 



I am grateful to Peter Redman, Simon Thomas and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Sciences, Digby Stuart CollegeUniversity of RoehamptonLondonUK

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