The Interpretation of the Flesh: Freud and Femininity

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The 'riddle of femininity', like Freud's reference to women's sexuality as a 'dark continent', has been treated as a romantic aside or a sexist evasion rather than as a problem to be solved. In this first comprehensive study, Teresa Brennan suggests that by placing these ideas in the context of Freud's work as a whole, we will begin to understand why femininity was such a riddle for Freud. Brennan argues that by turning to Freud's work and his concrete questions about femininity, a psychical state which occurs in men and women alike, the problem is clearly a soluble one, provided that Freud's concern with energy is taken into account. The real riddle of femininity is as much a problem for thinking about physicality as a problem for the subject who suffers from what Freud described as 'femininity's negative effects on curiosity, intelligence and activity.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415074483
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 10/8/1992
  • Pages: 284
  • Age range: 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

Note on translations and texts
1 The riddle of femininity 1
Freud's two theories of femininity 9
Metapsychology and the two 'spatial' topographies 17
Psychical reality: time lost 25
Memory guide 30
2 The riddle's repression 37
Freud's three papers on femininity, female sexuality, and the 'Great Debate' 39
Subsequent developments 65
The second debate 66
Freud's last words 81
3 The division of attention 83
The Studies on hysteria 86
The divergence from Breuer 101
Constructed inertia 107
The defence of repression 119
4 The involution of the drives 135
The analogy theory and the libido 137
The quantitative factor 143
The unclear origins of the drives 147
Involution: femininity and the 1911 theory of the ego 158
Hypothesizing 170
5 The original superego 178
Freud and the Superego 179
Freud and Klein 190
Love and Hate 194
Masochism 196
6 Conclusion: the riddle again 216
Bibliography: Freud 241
Select bibliography 248
Index 259
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