The Interpretation of the Flesh: Freud and Femininity


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 a problem to be solved. In this first comprehensive study, Teresa Brennan suggests that by placing these theories in the context of Freud's work overall, 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 feminity, 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 feminity 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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