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Incest in fiction

Related: incest - fiction

Film titles: Festen (1998) - I Stand Alone (1998)

Novels: Jude the Obscure (1895) - Thomas Hardy

Festen/The Celebration (1998) - Thomas Vinterberg [Amazon.com]
the film Festen (1998) deals with incest.


Incest is a somewhat popular topic in English erotic fiction; there are entire collections and websites devoted solely to this genre, with an entire genre of pornographic pulp fiction known as "incest novels". This is probably because, as with many other fetishes, the taboo nature of the act adds to the titillation. With the advent of the Internet, there is even more of this type of fiction available.

Besides this, incest is sometimes mentioned or described in mainstream, non-erotic fiction. Connotations can be negative, very rarely positive, or neutral. For example, in Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude there are several cases of sex between more or less close relatives, the last of which occurs between a nephew and his aunt, resulting in the birth of a child who is born with a pig's tail and precedes the destruction of the whole town of Macondo by a tropical cyclone. Other works of literature show consequences not so grave, such as the V.C. Andrews novel Flowers in the Attic and its subsequent sequels, in which brother and sister uphold a loving relationship; Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things, in which fraternal twins share a cathartic sexual experience; and several of Robert A. Heinlein's later stories.

In J. R. R. Tolkien's Silmarillion, there are two examples of accidental incest such as when a couple do not realize they are brother and sister. When the relation is discovered, events inevitably end in tragedy.

Incest is an element of the Sophocles play Oedipus the King, based on the story from Greek mythology, in which the title character unknowingly kills his father and marries his mother. This act came to great prominence in the 20th century with Freud's analysis of the Oedipus complex as lying beneath the psychology of all men. Its female counterpart is called the Electra complex.

Vladimir Nabokov's novel Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle deals very heavily with the incestuous relationships in the intricate family tree of the main character Van Veen. There are explicit moments of sexual relations primarily between Van and his sister Ada, as well as between Ada and her younger sister Lucette. Nabokov does not necessarily deal with any complexities or consequences, social or otherwise, which may be inherent to incestuous relationships--outside of the strictly practical concerns of having to hide the taboo relationships from others. Incest in Ada seems mainly to be a sexual manifestation of the characters' intellectual incestuousness, and operates on a similar plane as do other instances of "sexual transgression" in his novels of this period, such as pedophilia in Lolita and homosexuality in Pale Fire.

Thomas Mann's The Holy Sinner explores the spiritual consequences of unintentional incest.

It is also a main plot device in the movie Caligula, the Korean movie Oldboy, Roman Polanski's Chinatown and Guy Maddin's film Careful. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incest#Fiction [Mar 2006]

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