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Things to Do with Your Imaginary Child

Steven Bruhm

Abstract


This essay considers texts in which adults consciously invent children whom they represent to the world as “real,” children who can then investigate the limits that their inventors may test in other people. Drawing on clinical psychological theories of children’s imaginary playmates—and the value that psychologists ascribe to the juvenile practice of inventing imaginary children—I consider what the adult invention of a child might suggest about the “uses” of children more generally. Texts under consideration are Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Armistead Maupin’s The Night Listener, and Lorrie Moore’s Anagrams


Keywords


imaginary friends; imaginary child; ethics

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