Freud Essay Medusa

Freud Essay Medusa-79
Part IV, "Myth and Science" starts off with a fine essay by Duncan Kennedy, "Atoms, Individuals, and Myths," that draws parallels between the reductionism of sociobiology's claim that human behavior is a product of our genes, and the atomistic theories of Lucretius; both are examples of hierarchical thinking that can be challenged by feminism.

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"Beyond Oedipus: Feminist Thought, Psychoanalysis, and Mythical Figurations of the Feminine" begins by considering how Cambridge ritual theorist Jane Harrison's reconfiguration of the feminine in classical mythology provided a new intellectual template for modernist novelist Virginia Wolff.

Pollock investigates Freud's analogies of historical periodization with the development of the human psyche, and Harrison's intervention in the construction of such periodization.

The final piece in this triad by Genevieve Liveley ("Science Fictions and Cyber Myths: or Do Cyborgs Dream of Dolly the Sheep?

") employs one of the most popular tools of recent feminist analysis.

As Zajko points out, the transference that occurs between a female reader and male figures like Achilles exemplifies Cixous' formulation of the "Imaginary" which is central to her theory of the unconscious as a conceptual space that precedes gender identification.

The final essay in this section is by influential feminist art historian Griselda Pollock.The idea was facilitated by an impetus to find a colony of Amazons in accordance with Spanish Queen Isabella's wishes; the concept has its genesis, however, in ancient constructions of the Other which situate the feminine and bizarre at the edges of the world.According to Gregory's elegant analysis the tendency of 18th century American thought to disengage from ancient mythology can be seen as a parallel to feminism's challenge to patriarchal ideology.Table of Contents Two dynamic modes of inquiry are helping to make Classical Studies a livelier and more inclusive discipline in this new millennium.Feminist theory proves to be a powerful tool of analysis for Greco-Roman culture, while the Classical Tradition, an umbrella term that includes both the reception of ancient culture and its influence on modern literature and thought, has effaced the boundaries that have fenced off traditional philology from the other humanities.Instead she suggests the figures of Antigone, and to a lesser degree Eurydice (Creon's wife), as possible signifiers for a feminist intellectual community. I have to admit that at times my answer was "yes," although there are some remarkable insights in this challenging essay.She arrives at this suggestion via a complex journey that defies synthesis in a review of this length. Pollock's piece is a natural segue to the second section, entitled "Myth and Politics." The three essays of this section deal in some way with the figure of Antigone, who continues to exert a powerful attraction for feminist scholars: Judith Butler's Antigone's Claim: Kinship between Life and Death (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), for example, has influenced several of the essays in this volume.Rachel Bowlby sets the agenda with "The Cronus Complex: Psychoanalytic Myths of the Future for Boys and Girls." Bowlby confronts Freud's reading of Greek myth as a kind of history which facilitated a phallocentric theory of social development.Although her thesis should by now be self evident, Bowlby makes a competent case: that Freud, himself a product of a patriarchal culture, was influenced by a social construction of gender that is less relevant to modern children.In "Antigone and the Politics of Sisterhood," Simon Goldhill reflects on the centrality of Antigone to influential feminist projects such as those of Irigaray and Butler, but wonders why feminism has all but written her sister, Ismene, out of the text.Goldhill poses a challenge to recent analyses of Sophocles' tragedy by questioning why they privilege the relationship between brother and sister yet ignore Antigone's treatment of her sister.


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